The Crucible of Christian Morality explores the notion of Christian ethics and discusses its roots, its significance in developing moral standards throughout the world and its stability in the modern world. J. Ian H. McDonald begins with a study of the ethos of early Christian communities. He pays particular attention to the relation of cosmic vision to moral attitude and authority, noting also the types of moral discourse used. He then traces the roots of these developments to the Old Testament and to the ministry of Jesus. The second half of the book concentrates on selected moral themes, concerned with persons, with communities in societies and with virtue or moral excellence, situating them in the context of ancient cultural developments. The Crucible of Christian Morality deploys new critical perspectives, in particular, the sociology of knowledge and discourse analysis, and challenges conventional approaches by focusing on the ethos of communities rather than isolated documents, to shed new light on the nature of Christian morality in its earliest and most formative years.