The important but oft-overlooked role that North Africa played in the development of early Christian thought is the topic of the latest book by Dr. David Eastman, Sherrill Chair of Bible at McCallie. The book, Early North African Christianity: Turning Points in the Development of the Church, was released this month by Baker Academic and is receiving praise from biblical scholars.
It is Dr. Eastman’s fourth book and is designed as both a classroom text and an introduction for laypersons and scholars on the topic of early Christian development.
“Early North African Christianity demonstrates that Christians from North Africa contributed insignificant ways to Christian understanding as a whole concerning a number of issues, including what it means to be “truly” Christian, how Christians should live out (and if need be, die for) their faith, and how they should interact with the broader culture,” Baker Academic said in announcing the publication of the book. “David Eastman zeroes in on five turning points in (Christian) history . . . showing how North African believers significantly shaped Christian theology, identity, and practice in ways that directly impact the church today.”
Dr. Eastman is a graduate of the Ohio State University, the University of St. Andrews, and holds a Ph.D. from Yale University. He has been the Sherrill Chair of Bible at McCallie since 2018. He is a faculty research fellow at the University of Regensburg in Germany and a fellow with the Center for Early African Christianity. Before joining McCallie he was an associate professor at Ohio Wesleyan University.
Among the early reviewers of the book was Dr. Robin Jensen, Patrick O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, who wrote, “This work offers a compelling and insightful introduction of the faith, context, and practices of early African Christianity that will enrich readers’ grasp of its decisive influence on the legacy of the Western church.”