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From the beginning of the nineteenth century through 1960, Protestant missionaries were the most important intermediaries between South Africa’s ruling white minority and its black majority. The Equality of Believers reconfigures the narrative of race in South Africa by exploring the pivotal role played by these missionaries and their teachings in shaping that nation’s history.
The missionaries articulated a universalist and egalitarian ideology derived from New Testament teachings that rebuked the racial hierarchies endemic to South African society. Yet white settlers, the churches closely tied to them, and even many missionaries evaded or subverted these ideas. In the early years of settlement, the white minority justified its supremacy by equating Christianity with white racial identity. Later, they adopted segregated churches for blacks and whites, followed by segregationist laws blocking blacks’ access to prosperity and citizenship – and, eventually, by the ambitious plan of social engineering that was apartheid.
Providing historical context reaching back to 1652, Elphick concentrates on the era of industrialisation, segregation, and the beginnings of apartheid in the first half of the twentieth century. The most ambitious work yet from this renowned historian, Elphick’s book reveals the deep religious roots of racial ideas and initiatives that profoundly shaped the history of South Africa.
Sometime around 56 AD, the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome. His letter was arguably his theological masterpiece, and has continued to shape Christian faith ever since. He entrusted this letter to Phoebe, the deacon of the church at Cenchreae; in writing to the church that almost surely met in her home, Paul refers to her both as a deacon and as a helper or patron of many. But who was this remarkable woman? In this, her first novel, Biblical scholar and popular author and speaker Paula Gooder tells Phoebe's story - who she was, the life she lived and her first-century faith - and in doing so opens up Paul's theology, giving a sense of the cultural and historical pressures that shaped Paul's thinking, and the faith of the early church. Written in the gripping style of Gerd Theissen's The Shadow of the Galilean, and similarly rigorously researched, this is a novel for everyone and anyone who wants to engage more deeply and imaginatively with Paul's theology - from one of the UK's foremost New Testament scholars.
As the inaugural volume in the Baylor-Mohr Siebeck Studies in Early Christianity series, Jens Schroter's celebrated From Jesus to the New Testament is now available for the first time in English. Schroter provides a rich narrative to Christian history by looking back upon the theological forces that created the New Testament canon. Through his textual, historical, and hermeneutical examination of early Christianity, Schroter reveals how various writings that form the New Testament's building blocks are all held together. Jesus not only bound the New Testament, but launched a theological project that resulted in the canon. Schroter's study will undoubtedly spark new discussion about the formation of the canon."
How did Christianity become the dominant religion in the West?
In the early first century, a small group of peasants from the backwaters of the Roman Empire proclaimed that an executed enemy of the state was God’s messiah. Less than four hundred years later it had become the official religion of Rome with some thirty million followers.
It could so easily have been a forgotten sect of Judaism.
Through meticulous research, Bart Ehrman, an expert on Christian history, texts and traditions, explores the way we think about one of the most important cultural transformations the world has ever seen, one that has shaped the art, music, literature, philosophy, ethics and economics of modern Western civilisation.
Christian monasticism emerged in the Egyptian deserts in the fourth century AD. This introduction explores its origins and subsequent development and what it aimed to achieve, including the obstacles that it encountered; for the most part making use of the monks' own words as they are preserved (in Greek) primarily in the so-called Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Mainly focussing on monastic settlements in the Nitrian Desert (especially at Scete), it asks how the monks prayed, ate, drank and slept, as well as how they discharged their obligations both to earn their own living by handiwork and to exercise hospitality. It also discusses the monks' degree of literacy, as well as women in the desert and Pachomius and his monasteries in Upper Egypt. Written in straightforward language, the book is accessible to all students and scholars, and anyone with a general interest in this important and fascinating phenomenon.
Using pagan fiction produced in Greek and Latin during the early Christian era, G. W. Bowersock investigates the complex relationship between "historical" and "fictional" truths. This relationship preoccupied writers of the second century, a time when apparent fictions about both past and present were proliferating at an astonishing rate and history was being invented all over again. With force and eloquence, Bowersock illuminates social attitudes of this period and persuasively argues that its fiction was influenced by the emerging Christian Gospel narratives. Enthralling in its breadth and enhanced by two erudite appendices, this is a book that will be warmly welcomed by historians and interpreters of literature. This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press's mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1994.
Greek and Latin Narratives about the Ancient Martyrs provides a collection, with facing-page translations, of Greek and Latin Christian martyr narratives dating from the first four centuries CE. While Herbert Musurillo's authoritative collection The Acts of the Martyrs (1972) aimed to gather the most 'authentic' and 'reliable' accounts of early Christian martyrdom, Eric Rebillard argues that modern scholarship instead calls for texts which attest to the contexts in which the memories of the martyrs were constructed. As such, this extensive volume provides a textual basis for the study of martyr narratives without making assumptions about their date of composition or their authenticity. It focuses on the ancient martyrs executed before 260, and examines which of their texts was known to Eusebius or to Augustine. Introductions describe the hagiographical dossier of each martyr with crucial information about the manuscript tradition of the different texts and provide a terminus ante quem for their composition based only on external evidence.
First published in 2002, this book offers an authoritative and accessible introduction to the New Testament and early Christian literature for all students of the Bible and the origins of Christianity. Delbert Burkett focuses on the New Testament, but also looks at a wealth of non-biblical writing to examine the history, religion and literature of Christianity in the years from 30 CE to 150 CE. The book is organized systematically with questions for in-class discussion and written assignments, step-by-step reading guides on individual works, special box features, charts, maps and numerous illustrations designed to facilitate student use. An appendix containing translations of primary texts allows instant access to the writings outside the canon. For this new edition, Burkett has reorganized and rewritten many chapters, and has also incorporated revisions throughout the text, bringing it up to date with current scholarship. This volume is designed for use as the primary textbook for one and two-semester courses on the New Testament and Early Christianity.
Paul McKechnie explores how Christianity grew and expanded in Roman Asia over the first three centuries of the religion. Focusing on key individuals, such as Aberkios (Avircius Marcellus) of Hierapolis, he assesses the pivotal role played by Early Christian preachers who, in imitation of Paul of Tarsus, attracted converts through charismatic preaching. By the early fourth century, they had brought many cities and rural communities to a tipping point at which they were ready to move under a 'Christian canopy' and push polytheistic Greco-Roman religion to the margins. This volume brings new clarity of our understanding of how the Christian church grew and thrived in Asia Minor, simultaneously changing Roman society and being changed by it. Combining patristic evidence with the archaeological and epigraphic record, McKechnie's study creates a strong factual and chronological framework to the study of Christianization, while bringing Church History and Roman history more closely together.
Following the interest in recent years in Celtic spirituality, Paul Cavill's book looks at the impact of Christianity on the pagan Germanic peoples who invaded Britain from the 5th century onwards. Drawing on historical and archeological evidence, he paints a vivid picture of Anglo-Saxon culture and belief, contrasting this with the Celtic world view, and explaining how the powerful warrior code of the Anglo-Saxon peoples became merged with new Christian values. Quotes from Anglo-Saxon literature include the epic "Beowulf", and "The Dream of the Rood" along with Caedmon's "Hymn to Creation", a translation of Psalm 136 and numerous miracle stories.
Christianity is commonly held to have introduced an entirely new and better morality into the ancient world, a new morality that was decidedly universal, in contrast to the ethics of the philosophical schools which were only concerned with the intellectual few. Runar M. Thorsteinsson presents a challenge to this view by comparing Christian morality in first-century Rome with contemporary Stoic ethics in the city. Thorsteinsson introduces and discusses the moral teaching of Roman Stoicism; of Seneca, Musonius Rufus, and Epictetus. He then presents the moral teaching of Roman Christianity as it is represented in Paul's Letter to the Romans, the First Letter of Peter, and the First Letter of Clement. Having established the bases for his comparison, he examines the similarities and differences between Roman Stoicism and Roman Christianity in terms of morality. Five broad themes are used for the comparison, questions of Christian and Stoic views about: a particular morality or way of life as proper worship of the deity; certain individuals (like Jesus and Socrates) as paradigms for the proper way of life; the importance of mutual love and care; non-retaliation and 'love of enemies'; and the social dimension of ethics. This approach reveals a fundamental similarity between the moral teachings of Roman Christianity and Roman Stoicism. The most basic difference is found in the ethical scope of the two: While the latter teaches unqualified universal humanity, the former seems to condition the ethical scope in terms of religious adherence.
The first part of Nicaea and its Legacy offers a narrative of the fourth-century trinitarian controversy. It does not assume that the controversy begins with Arius, but with tensions among existing theological strategies. Lewis Ayres argues that, just as we cannot speak of one `Arian' theology, so we cannot speak of one `Nicene' theology either, in 325 or in 381. The second part of the book offers an account of the theological practices and assumptions within which pro-Nicene theologians assumed their short formulae and creeds were to be understood. Ayres also argues that there is no fundamental division between eastern and western trinitarian theologies at the end of the fourth century. The last section of the book challenges modern post-Hegelian trinitarian theology to engage with Nicaea more deeply.
The Cambridge Edition of Early Christian Writings provides definitive anthology of early Christian texts, from c.100 to 650 CE. Its six volumes reflect the cultural, intellectual and linguistic diversity of early Christianity and are organized thematically on the topics of God, practice, Christ, community, reading and creation. The series expands the pool of source material to include not only Greek and Latin writings, but also Syriac and Coptic texts. Additionally, the series rejects a theologically normative view by juxtaposing texts that were important in antiquity but later deemed 'heretical', with orthodox texts. The translations are accompanied by introductions, notes, suggestions for further reading and scriptural indices. The second volume is focused on the topic of practice, including texts on education, advice, forming communities and instructing congregations. It will be an invaluable resource for students, academic researchers in early Christian studies, history of Christianity, theology, religious studies and late antique Roman history.
What did dreams mean to Egyptian Christians of the first to the sixth centuries? Alexandrian philosophers, starting with Philo, Clement and Origen, developed a new approach to dreams that was to have profound effects on the spirituality of the medieval West and Byzantium. Their approach, founded on the principles of Platonism, was based on the convictions that God could send prophetic dreams and that these could be interpreted by people of sufficient virtue. In the fourth century, the Alexandrian approach was expanded by Athanasius and Evagrius to include a more holistic psychological understanding of what dreams meant for spiritual progress. The ideas that God could be known in dreams and that dreams were linked to virtue flourished in the context of Egyptian desert monasticism. This volume traces that development and its influence on early Egyptian experiences of the divine in dreams.
Katharina von Bora, wife of Martin Luther, was by any measure the First Lady of the Reformation. A strong woman with a mind of her own, she would remain unknown to us were it not for her larger than life husband. Unlike other noted Reformation women, her primary vocation was not related to ministry. She was a farmer and a brewer with a boarding house the size of a Holiday Inn - and all that with a large family and nursing responsibilities. In many ways, Katie was a modern woman - a Lean In woman or a modern-day version of a Proverbs 31 woman. Katharina's voice echoes among modern women, wives and mothers who have carved out a career of their own. Decisive and assertive, she transformed Martin Luther into at least a practicing egalitarian. Katharina was a full partner who was a no-nonsense, confident and determined woman, a starke Frau who did not cower when confronted by a powerful man. Ruth Tucker invites readers to visit Katie Luther in her sixteenth-century village life - with its celebrations and heartaches, housing, diet, fashion, childbirth, child-rearing and gender restrictions - and to welcome her today into our own living rooms and workplaces.
Heresy is a central concept in the formation of Orthodox Christianity. Where does this notion come from? This book traces the construction of the idea of `heresy' in the rhetoric of ideological disagreements in Second Temple Jewish and early Christian texts and in the development of the polemical rhetoric against `heretics,' called heresiology. Here, author Robert Royalty argues, one finds the origin of what comes to be labelled `heresy' in the second century. In other words, there was such as thing as `heresy' in ancient Jewish and Christian discourse before it was called `heresy.' And by the end of the first century, the notion of heresy was integral to the political positioning of the early orthodox Christian party within the Roman Empire and the range of other Christian communities. This book is an original contribution to the field of Early Christian studies. Recent treatments of the origins of heresy and Christian identity have focused on the second century rather than on the earlier texts including the New Testament. The book further makes a methodological contribution by blurring the line between New Testament Studies and Early Christian studies, employing ideological and post-colonial critical methods.
The division of Christendom into the Greek East and the Latin West has its origins far back in history but its consequences still affect Europe, and thus Western Civilization. Sherrard's study seeks to indicate both the fundamental character and some of the consequences of this division. He points especially to the underlying metaphysical bases of Greek Christian thought, and contrasts them with those of the Latin West.
Early Christian Dress is the first full-length monograph on the subject of dress in early Christianity. It pays attention to the ways in which dress expressed and shaped Christian identity, the role dress played in Christians rivalries with pagan neighbours, and especially to the ways in which notions of gender were culled and revised in the process. Although many scholars have argued that gender in late antiquity was a performed and embodied category, few have paid attention to the ways in which dress and physical appearances were implicated in the understanding of femininity and masculinity. This study addresses that gap, revealing the amount of sartorial work necessary to secure stable gender categories in the worlds of early Imperial pagans and late ancient Christians.
This study analyzes several vigorous discussions and debates that arose over Christian women 's dress. It examines how Christians interpreted their dress especially the dress of female ascetics as evidence of Christianity 's advanced morality and piety, a morality and piety that was coded "masculine." Yet even Christian leaders who championed ascetic women 's ability to achieve a degree of virility in terms of their virtue and spiritual status were troubled when ascetics dress threatened to materially dissolve gender categories, difference, and hierarchies. In the end, the study enables us to gain a broader view of how gender was constructed, perceived, and contested in early Christianity.
The writings of the Apostolic Fathers give a rich and diverse picture of Christian life and thought in the period immediately after New Testament times. Some of them were accorded almost Scriptural authority in the early Church. This new Loeb edition of these essential texts reflects current idiom and the latest scholarship.
Here are the Letters of Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, among the most famous documents of early Christianity; these letters, addressing core theological questions, were written to a half dozen different congregations while Ignatius was en route to Rome as a prisoner, condemned to die in the wild-beast arena. Also in this collection is a letter to the Philippian church by Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna and friend of Ignatius, as well as an account of Polycarp's martyrdom. There are several kinds of texts in the Apostolic Fathers collection, representing different religious outlooks. The manual called the "Didache" sets forth precepts for religious instruction, worship, and ministry. The Epistle of Barnabas searches the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible, for testimony in support of Christianity and against Judaism. Probably the most widely read in the early Christian centuries was "The Shepherd" of Hermas, a book of revelations that develops a doctrine of repentance.
Augustine was arguably the greatest early Christian philosopher. His teachings had a profound effect on Medieval scholarship, Renaissance humanism, and the religious controversies of both the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. Here, Henry Chadwick places Augustine in his philosophical and religious context and traces the history of his influence on Western thought, both within and beyond the Christian tradition. A handy account to one of the greatest religious thinkers, this Very Short Introduction is both a useful guide for the one who seeks to know Augustine and a fine companion for the one who wishes to know him better.
"'May they be cursed in town and cursed in the fields. May their barns be cursed and may their bones be cursed. May the fruit of their loins be cursed as well as the fruit of their lands.' French monks of the Middle Ages hurled curses like these at their enemies, seeking supernatural assistance when no secular judge could help them. In a long-awaited book written with elegance and erudition, Lester Little undertakes the first full-length study of these maledictions. . . . The book's focus is the way that religious communities--especially the monks who followed Benedict's Rule and hence were known by his name--used liturgical cursing to safeguard their integrity and their possessions, against both laymen and other ecclesiastics." --Journal of Social History
No Roman emperor had a greater impact on the modern world than did Constantine. The reason is not simply that he converted to Christianity, but that he did so in a way that brought his subjects along after him. Indeed, this major new biography argues that Constantine's conversion is but one feature of a unique administrative style that enabled him to take control of an empire beset by internal rebellions and external threats by Persians and Goths. The vast record of Constantine's administration reveals a government careful in its exercise of power but capable of ruthless, even savage, actions. Constantine executed (or drove to suicide) his father-in-law, two brothers-in-law, his eldest son, and his once beloved wife. An unparalleled general throughout his life, planning a major assault on the Sassanian Empire in Persia even on his deathbed. Alongside the visionary who believed that his success came from the direct intervention of his God resided an aggressive warrior, a sometimes cruel partner, and an immensely shrewd ruler. These characteristics combined together in a long and remarkable career, which restored the Roman Empire to its former glory. Beginning with his first biographer Eusebius, Constantine's image has been subject to distortion. More recent revisions include John Carroll's view of him as the intellectual ancestor of the Holocaust (Constantine's Sword) and Dan Brown's presentation of him as the man who oversaw the reshaping of Christian history (The Da Vinci Code). In Constantine the Emperor, David Potter confronts each of these skewed and partial accounts to provide the most comprehensive, authoritative, and readable account of Constantine's extraordinary life.
This history of the Eastern Church covers the period from A.D. 451 to the 1920s. It describes the Sees of Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, bringing to life the faith, government and politics which surrounded the church, its leaders, and its followers.
Who were the Gnostics? And how did the Gnostic movement influence the development of Christianity in antiquity? Is it true that the Church rejected Gnosticism? This book offers an illuminating discussion of recent scholarly debates over the concept of "Gnosticism" and the nature of early Christian diversity. Acknowledging that the category "Gnosticism" is flawed and must be reformed, David Brakke argues for a more careful approach to gathering evidence for the ancient Christian movement known as the Gnostic school of thought. He shows how Gnostic myth and ritual addressed basic human concerns about alienation and meaning, offered a message of salvation in Jesus, and provided a way for people to regain knowledge of God, the ultimate source of their being. Rather than depicting the Gnostics as heretics or as the losers in the fight to define Christianity, Brakke argues that the Gnostics participated in an ongoing reinvention of Christianity, in which other Christians not only rejected their ideas but also adapted and transformed them. This book will challenge scholars to think in news ways, but it also provides an accessible introduction to the Gnostics and their fellow early Christians.
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