Author: Gillian Clark
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Early Christianity in the context of Roman society raises important questions for historians, sociologists of religion and theologians alike. This work explores the differing perspectives arising from a changing social and academic culture. Key issues concerning early Christianity are addressed, such as how early Christian accounts of pagans, Jews and heretics can be challenged and the degree to which Christian groups offered support to their members and to those in need. The work examines how non-Christians reacted to the spectacle of martyrdom and to Christian reverence for relics. Questions are also raised about why some Christians encouraged others to abandon wealth, status and gender-roles for extreme ascetic lifestyles and about whether Christian preachers trained in classical culture offered moral education to all or only to the social elite. The interdisciplinary and thematic approach offers the student of early Christianity a comprehensive treatment of its role and influence in Roman society.
Author: Richard Lee Kalmin,Seth Schwartz
Publisher: Peeters Publishers
This book investigates the complexity, diversity, uniqueness and enduring significance of Jewish life in the Christian Roman Empire, from 312 to 634 C.E. During this period there occurred an unprecedented Jewish cultural explosion, encompassing the compilation and/or composition of such texts as the Palestinian Talmud, the main aggadic midrashim, an extensive magical/mystical literature, the revived apocalypse, a vast corpus of piyyutim and the beginnings of a practically oriented halakhic literature. Furthermore, this was the era of the florition of Jewish art, for it was only in the fourth century that a specifically Jewish iconographic language came into common use in synagogues and catacombs, the archaeological remains of almost all of which date from this period. This volume moves toward a synthesizing and contextualizing view of the Jewish cultural production of late antiquity, examining the interaction of Jews, Christians and pagans and with the emergence of new religious forms generated by such interaction.
The Conversion of Roman Cappadocia
Author: Raymond Van Dam
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
In a richly textured investigation of the transformation of Cappadocia during the fourth century, Becoming Christian: The Conversion of Roman Cappadocia examines the local impact of Christianity on traditional Greek and Roman society. The Cappadocians Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Eunomius of Cyzicus were influential participants in intense arguments over doctrinal orthodoxy and heresy. In his discussion of these prominent churchmen Raymond Van Dam explores the new options that theological controversies now made available for enhancing personal prestige and acquiring wider reputations throughout the Greek East. Ancient Christianity was more than theology, liturgical practices, moral strictures, or ascetic lifestyles. The coming of Christianity offered families and communities in Cappadocia and Pontus a history built on biblical and ecclesiastical traditions, a history that justified distinctive lifestyles, legitimated the prominence of bishops and clerics, and replaced older myths. Christianity presented a common language of biblical stories and legends about martyrs that allowed educated bishops to communicate with ordinary believers. It provided convincing autobiographies through which people could make sense of the vicissitudes of their lives. The transformation of Roman Cappadocia was a paradigm of the disruptive consequences that accompanied conversion to Christianity in the ancient world. Through vivid accounts of Cappadocians as preachers, theologians, and historians, Becoming Christian highlights the social and cultural repercussions of the formation of new orthodoxies in theology, history, language, and personal identity.
From Galilee to Gregory the Great
Author: Henry Chadwick
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Category: Church history
The Church in Ancient Society provides a full and enjoyable narrative history of the first six centuries of the Christian Church. Ancient Greek and Roman society had many gods and an addiction to astrology and divination. This introduction to the period traces the process by which Christianity changed this and so provided a foundation for the modern world: the teaching of Jesus created a lasting community, which grew to command the allegiance of the Roman emperor. Christianity is discussed in relation to how it appeared to both Jews and pagans, and how its Christian doctrine and practice were shaped in relation to Graeco-Roman culture and the Jewish matrix. Among the major figures discussed are Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Constantine, Julian the Apostate, Basil, Ambrose, and Augustine. Following a chronological approach, Henry Chadwick's clear exposition of important texts and theological debates in their historical context is unrivalled in detail. In particular, theological and ecclesial texts are examined in relation to the behaviour and beliefs of people who attended churches and synagogues. Christians did not find agreement and unity easy and the author displays a distinctive concern for the factors - theological, personal, and political - which caused division in the church and prevented reconciliation. The emperors, however, began to foster unity for political reasons and to choose monotheism. Finally, the Church captured the society.
Pagans, Jews, and Christians
Author: Mark J. Edwards,Martin Goodman,Simon Price,Chris Rowland
Publisher: Clarendon Press
This book is the first to tackle the origins and purpose of literary religious apologetic in the first centuries of the Christian era by discussing, on their own terms, texts composed by pagan and Jewish authors as well as Christians. Previous studies of apologetic have focused primarily on the Christian apologists of the second century. These, and other Christian authors, are represented also in this volume but, in addition, experts in the religious history of the pagan world, in Judaism, and in late antique philosophy examine very different literary traditions to see to what extent techniques and motifs were shared across the religious divide. Each contributor has investigated the probable audience, the literary milieu, and the specific social, political, and cultural circumstances which elicited each apologetic text. In many cases these questions lead on to the further issue of the relation between the readers addressed by the author and the actual readers, and the extent to which a defined literary genre of apologetic developed. These studies, ranging in time from the New Testament to the early fourth century, and including novel contributions by specialists in ancient history, Jewish history, ancient philosophy, the New Testament, and patristics, will put the study of ancient religious apologetic on to a new footing.
Pistis and Fides in the Early Roman Empire and Early Churches
Author: Teresa Morgan
Publisher: OUP Oxford
This study investigates why 'faith' (pistis/fides) was so important to early Christians that the concept and praxis dominated the writings of the New Testament. It argues that such a study must be interdisciplinary, locating emerging Christianities in the social practices and mentalités of contemporary Judaism and the early Roman empire. This can, therefore, equally be read as a study of the operation of pistis/fides in the world of the early Roman principate, taking one but relatively well-attested cult as a case study in how micro-societies within that world could treat it distinctively. Drawing on recent work in sociology and economics, the book traces the varying shapes taken by pistis/fides in Greek and Roman human and divine-human relationships: whom or what is represented as easy or difficult to trust or believe in; where pistis/fides is 'deferred' and 'reified' in practices such as oaths and proofs; how pistis/fides is related to fear, doubt and scepticism; and which foundations of pistis/fides are treated as more or less secure. The book then traces the evolution of representations of human and divine-human pistis in the Septuagint, before turning to pistis/pisteuein in New Testament writings and their role in the development of early Christologies (incorporating a new interpretation of pistis Christou) and ecclesiologies. It argues for the integration of the study of pistis/pisteuein with that of New Testament ethics. It explores the interiority of Graeco-Roman and early Christian pistis/fides. Finally, it discusses eschatological pistis and the shape of the divine-human community in the eschatological kingdom.
Author: Karl P. Donfried,Peter Richardson
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
Judaism and Christianity in the first century is a broad, but also immensely important, subject. This collection of eleven papers is the mature product of the five-year work of the Seminar on New Testament Texts in Their Cultural Environment sponsored by the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas. Wide-ranging in subject matter and deep in scholarship, this volume includes archaeological and epigraphic contributions, social and historical contributions, and developmental studies. Written by leading scholars in the field, these essays elucidate more precisely the social, historical, and religious character of Judaism and Christianity in first-century Rome.
Conflict, Competition, and Coexistence in the Fourth Century
Author: Michele Renee Salzman,Marianne Sághy,Rita Lizzi Testa
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
This book sheds new light on the religious and consequently social changes taking place in late antique Rome. The essays in this volume argue that the once-dominant notion of pagan-Christian religious conflict cannot fully explain the texts and artifacts, as well as the social, religious, and political realities of late antique Rome. Together, the essays demonstrate that the fourth-century city was a more fluid, vibrant, and complex place than was previously thought. Competition between diverse groups in Roman society - be it pagans with Christians, Christians with Christians, or pagans with pagans - did create tensions and hostility, but it also allowed for coexistence and reduced the likelihood of overt violent, physical conflict. Competition and coexistence, along with conflict, emerge as still central paradigms for those who seek to understand the transformations of Rome from the age of Constantine through the early fifth century.
Exploring the Background of Early Christianity
Author: James S. Jeffers
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
James S. Jeffers provides an informative tour of the various facets of the Roman world--class and status, family and community, work and leisure, religion and organization, city and country, law and government, death and taxes, and the events of Roman history.
Author: James William Ermatinger
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group
Christians in ancient Rome were a persecuted minority, living in community and sometimes in fear. Despite this, their daily lives were largely similar to that of the Romans they lived among. This volume explores the private and public daily lives of Christians in ancient Rome, from the death of Jesus to Emperor Constantine's legalization of Christianity in 354 C.E.
Author: John F. Romano
The liturgy, the public worship of the Catholic Church, was a crucial factor in forging the society of early medieval Rome. As the Roman Empire dissolved, a new world emerged as Christian bishops stepped into the power vacuum left by the dismantling of the Empire. Among these potentates, none was more important than the bishop of Rome, the pope. The documents, archaeology, and architecture that issued forth from papal Rome in the seventh and eighth centuries preserve a precious glimpse into novel societal patterns. The underexploited liturgical sources in particular enrich and complicate our historical understanding of this period. They show how liturgy was the ’social glue’ that held together the Christian society of early medieval Rome - and excluded those who did not belong to it. This study places the liturgy center stage, filling a gap in research on early medieval Rome and demonstrating the utility of investigating how the liturgy functioned in medieval Europe. It includes a detailed analysis of the papal Mass, the central act of liturgy and the most obvious example of the close interaction of liturgy, social relations and power. The first extant Mass liturgy, the First Roman Ordo, is also given a new presentation in Latin here with an English translation and commentary. Other grand liturgical events such as penitential processions are also examined, as well as more mundane acts of worship. Far from a pious business with limited influence, the liturgy established an exchange between humans and the divine that oriented Roman society to God and fostered the dominance of the clergy.
Author: Paul L. Maier
Publisher: Kregel Publications
The splendor and pagan excesses of Roman society are confronted by the life-changing faith of Christianity in this historically accurate fiction work. Guaranteed fiction!
Author: Doron Mendels
Publisher: A&C Black
The ten studies in this book explore the phenomenon of public memory in societies of the Graeco-Roman period. Mendels begins with a concise discussion of the historical canon that emerged in Late Antiquity and brought with it the (distorted) memory of ancient history in Western culture. The following nine chapters each focus on a different source of collective memory in order to demonstrate the patchy and incomplete associations ancient societies had with their past, including discussions of Plato's Politeia, a "site of memory" of the early church, and the dichotomy existing between the reality of the land of Israel in the Second Temple period and memories of it. Throughout the book, Mendels shows that since the societies of Antiquity had associations with only bits and pieces of their past, these associations could be slippery and problematic, constantly changing, multiplying and submerging. Memories, true and false, oral and inscribed, provide good evidence for this fluidity.
Author: D. Jeffrey Bingham
First Published in 2009. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Author: Williston Walker
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Examines the early Christian community, Gnosticism, the Catholic Church, the influence of the Roman Empire, the Crusades, the Reformation, and modern Christianity
Author: Peter Brown
A preeminent classical scholar on the emergence of one of our most familiar social divisions.