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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Author: D. Jeffrey Bingham
First Published in 2009. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Author: Robert Louis Wilken
Publisher: Yale University Press
This book offers an engrossing portrayal of the early years of the Christian movement from the perspective of the Romans.
Towards a Christian Empire
Author: Peter Brown
Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Press
Peter Brown, perhaps the greatest living authority on Mediterranean civilization in late antiquity, traces the growing power of Christian bishops as they wrested influence from philosophers, who had traditionally advised the rulers of Graeco-Roman society. In the new "Christian empire," the ancient bonds of citizen to citizen and of each city to its benefactors were replaced by a common Christianity and common loyalty to a distant, Christian autocrat. This transformation of the Roman empire from an ancient to a medieval society, he argues, is among the most far-reaching consequences of the rise of Christianity.
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.
The Social World of Early Christianity
Author: Everett Ferguson
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
First published in 1999. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Christianity in a World Context to 1500
Author: Karen Louise Jolly
Publisher: M.E. Sharpe
This text is designed to serve as a primary source reader. It addresses medieval Christendom in the context of world history. It combines the traditional approach (the medieval Christian tradition found in the church hierarchy and theological development) with the newer approach to cultural diversity - diversity within European Christianity (women mystics, heretics, and popular religion), and diversity without, in a world context (non-European Christianity and relations with Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism).
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: 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 Platos 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.
Judaism and Christianity in the Roman World
Author: Alan F. Segal
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Renowned scholar Alan Segal offers startlingly new insights into the origins of rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. These twin descendants of Hebrew heritage shared the same social, cultural, and ideological context, as well as the same minority status, in the first century of the common era.Through skillful application of social science theories to ancient Western thought, including Judaism, Hellenism, early Christianity, and a host of other sectarian beliefs, Segal reinterprets some of the most important events of Jewish and Christian life in the Roman world. For example, he finds: --That the concept of myth, as it related to covenant, was a central force of Jewish life. The Torah was the embodiment of covenant both for Jews living in exile and for the Jewish community in Israel. --That the Torah legitimated all native institutions at the time of Jesus, even though the Temple, Sanhedrin, and Synagogue, as well as the concepts of messiah and resurrection, were profoundly affected by Hellenism. Both rabbinic Judaism and Christianity necessarily relied on the Torah to authenticate their claim on Jewish life.--That the unique cohesion of early Christianity, assuring its phenomenal success in the Hellenistic world, was assisted by the Jewish practices of apocalypticism, conversion, and rejection of civic ritual. --That the concept of acculturation clarifies the Maccabean revolt, the rise of Christianity, and the emergence of rabbinic Judaism.--That contemporary models of revolution point to the place of Jesus as a radical.--That early rabbinism grew out of the attempts of middle-class Pharisees to reach a higher sacred status in Judea while at the same time maintaining their cohesion through ritual purity. --That the dispute between Judaism and Christianity reflects a class conflict over the meaning of covenant. The rising turmoil between Jews and Christians affected the development of both rabbinic Judaism and Christianity, as each tried to preserve the partly destroyed culture of Judea by becoming a religion. Both attempted to take the best of Judean and Hellenistic society without giving up the essential aspects of Israelite life. Both spiritualized old national symbols of the covenant and practices that consolidated power after the disastrous wars with Rome. The separation between Judaism and Christianity, sealed in magic, monotheism, law, and universalism, fractured what remained of the shared symbolic life of Judea, leaving Judaism and Christianity to fulfill the biblical demands of their god in entirely different ways.
The Power of the Hysterical Woman
Author: Margaret Y. MacDonald
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
A study of how women figured in public reaction to the church from New Testament times to the second century CE. MacDonald shows the conviction of pagan writers that female initiative was central to Christianity's development, and the belief that women inclined toward excesses in religion. Concern in the New Testament and early Christian texts about the respectability of women is seen in a new light when one appreciates that outsiders focused on early church women and their activities as a reflection of the group as a whole.
The Rise of Christianity and the Endurance of Tradition
Author: Geoffrey Nathan
The Family in Late Antiquity offers a challenging, well-argued and coherent study of the family in the late Roman world and the influence of the emerging Christian religion on its structure and value. Before the Roman Empire's political disintegration in the west, enormous political, religious and cultural changes took place in the period of late antiquity. This book is the first comprehensive study of the family in the later Roman Empire, from approximately 300 AD to 550 AD. Geoffrey Nathan analyses the classical Roman family as well as early Christian notions of this most basic unit of social organisation. Using these models as a contextual backdrop, he then explores marriage, children, domestic servitude, and other familial institutions in late antiquity. He brings together a diverse collection of sources, transcending traditional studies that have centred on the legal record.