World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Foundations of Christianity

Article Id: WHEBN0007056868
Reproduction Date:

Title: Foundations of Christianity  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Foundations of Christianity

Foundations of Christianity
Author Karl Kautsky
Original title Der Ursprung des Christentums
Translator Henry F. Mins
Country Germany
Language English
Subject Religion
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 288

Foundations of Christianity (German: Der Ursprung des Christentums) is a 1908 book by Marxist theoretician Karl Kautsky. In it, he attempts to explain the origins of Christianity, and claims that it can best be explained by historical materialism rather than divinity.

Publishing history

The first edition in English, published in 1925 by George Allen and Unwin, followed the eleventh German version. The German text was re-translated into English by Henry F. Mins, and published by Russell and Russell in 1953. In 1972, a translation by Jacob W. Hartmann was published by Monthly Review Press. The edition current in print was published by Resistance in 2007 and contains a preface by Michael Lowy.


In his foreword, Kautsky expressed his hope that the book would be 'a powerful weapon in the struggles of the present, in order to hasten the attainment of a better future'. He began his analysis by looking for evidence that 'the person of Jesus' existed at all, using pagan and Christian sources. The next dozen chapters are then taken up with a materialist description of the ancient Roman society from which early Christianity sprang. Kautsky then went on to describe the history of the Jewish people, up to the point where Christianity began.

Having set the scene, Kautsky described the beginnings of Christianity. The next five sections are called 'The Primitive Christian Community', 'The Christian Idea of the Messiah', 'Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians', 'The History of Christ’s Passion' and 'The Development of the Christian Community'.

Kautsky contended that Christianity was born out of a group of Jewish proletarians in a decaying Roman empire, who sought to defeat the Romans through a violent insurrection.

External links

  • link to transcript
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.