This contribution to the Westminster Aids to the Study of Scripture Series by one of the foremost American Biblical scholars, covers the years from 175 B.C. to the establishment of the New Testament canon, or approximately 150 A.D. The purpose is a serious study of the essential conditions and forces out of which the church rose. The author concedes that we lack data for a connected story of this emergence. The Old Testament and Jewish heritage were the dominant factor, prevailing over Greek and other influences. He believes that justice cannot be done to Biblical History if the central tenet of faith--that God is the chief actor--is rejected or ignored, and accepts the risks of subjectivity implied in the alternative. While the writer's erudition is evident throughout the book, the style is simple and clear, if not always exciting. Intended for ministers and theological students, the volume may be useful to other readers whose Biblical background and whose interests prepare them for such a detailed work.