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In Kyrios Christos, Wilhelm Bousset argues that the Hellenistic Church's declaration of "Jesus as Lord" is a transformation of the pre-Christian Judaic community's understanding of Jesus as the Son of Man. This unique distinction between the primitive Palestinian community and Hellenistic Christianity reveals how the earliest Christian beliefs were informed by existing religious influences. A well-known classic, Kyrios Christos defined the research agenda for nearly a century concerning the belief in Jesus as Lord and Christ from the New Testament through Irenaeus and his contemporaries. Bousset's landmark, with a new introduction by Larry Hurtado, is now made available for a new generation of students and scholars seeking to delve further into the ancient world of the early Christians.
In this national bestseller, John Dominic Crossan, the world's leading expert on the historical Jesus, reveals how Christianity emerged in the period following Jesus' death. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, Crossan shines new light on the theological and cultural contexts from which the Christian church arose. He argues powerfully that Christianity would have happened with or without Paul and contends that Jesus' "resurrection" meant something vastly different for his early followers than it does for many traditional Christians today--what mattered was Christina origins finally illuminates the mysterious period that set Western religious history in its decisive course.
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."
First published in 1988, Peter Brown's "The Body and Society" was a groundbreaking study of the marriage and sexual practices of early Christians in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. Brown focuses on the practice of permanent sexual renunciation-continence, celibacy, and lifelong virginity-in Christian circles from the first to the fifth centuries A.D. and traces early Christians' preoccupations with sexuality and the body in the work of the period's great writers.
"The Body and Society" questions how theological views on sexuality and the human body both mirrored and shaped relationships between men and women, Roman aristocracy and slaves, and the married and the celibate. Brown discusses Tertullian, Valentinus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Constantine, the Desert Fathers, Jerome, Ambrose, and Augustine, among others, and considers asceticism and society in the Eastern Empire, martyrdom and prophecy, gnostic spiritual guidance, promiscuity among the men and women of the church, monks and marriage in Egypt, the ascetic life of women in fourth-century Jerusalem, and the body and society in the early Middle Ages. In his new introduction, Brown reflects on his work's reception in the scholarly community.
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.
The Book of Enoch is an invaluable resource for all who are interested in the origins of Christianity. It was known and used by the earliest churches and sheds light on many concepts found in the New Testament, such as demonology, future judgment, the Messiah and the Messianic Kingdom, the title 'Son of Man' and the resurrection. This new edition of R. H. Charles's classic translation includes a substantial new introduction by Paula Gooder.
This fascinating and lively book provides the first comprehensive discussion of the production, circulation, and use of books in early Christianity. It explores the extent of literacy in early Christian communities; the relation in the early church between oral tradition and written materials; the physical form of early Christian books; how books were produced, transcribed, published, duplicated, and disseminated; how Christian libraries were formed; who read the books, in what circumstances, and to what purposes. Harry Y. Gamble interweaves practical and technological dimensions of the production and use of early Christian books with the social and institutional history of the period. Drawing on evidence from papyrology, codicology, textual criticism, and early church history, as well as on knowledge about the bibliographical practices that characterized Jewish and Greco-Roman culture, he offers a new perspective on the role of books in the first five centuries of the early church.
In this fully revised and updated second edition of his accessible
account of systematic Christology, Gerald O'Collins continues to
challenge the contemporary publishing trend for sensationalist
books on Jesus that are supported neither by the New Testament
witness nor by mainline Christian beliefs.
The 'Dark' Ages have often been crudely depicted as an era of mass illiteracy and ignorance, and of terrifying heathen hordes swarming across the European continent, leaving devastation in their wake. Yes, this was the time of the so-called Barbarian invasions, of the Vikings, of the break-up of some urban life and population decline in Western Europe. But this was also the time of Pope Gregory the Great, of Charlemagne and Alfred the Great; of feudalism, the development of monastic life and the nurturing of Christianity across Western Europe. In the East, the Roman Empire continued to thrive in Byzantium, while from the 7th century the Muslim Arab conquest of North Africa and Iberia proved to be a stimulating challenge to the Christian West. From the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century to the 11th century, The 'Dark' Ages tells the story of this fascinating but much misunderstood period in medieval history. Featuring the fragmentation of the Western Roman Empire and re-emergence of unity under Charlemagne; the emergence of the Catholic Church as a dominant political force; the raids, trading life and settlements of the Vikings, the book expertly reappraises the early Middle Ages. Illustrated with 180 colour and black-&-white photographs, artworks and maps, The 'Dark' Ages is an exciting, engaging and highly informative exploration of this often overlooked period in early medieval history.
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.
Exploring the origins of Christianity, this book looks at why it was that people first in Judea and then in the Roman and Greek Mediterranean world became susceptible to the new religion. Robert Knapp looks for answers in a wide-ranging exploration of religion and everyday life from 200 BC to the end of the first century.
Survival, honour and wellbeing were the chief preoccupations of Jews and polytheists alike. In both cases, the author shows, people turned first to supernatural powers. According to need, season and place polytheists consulted and placated vast constellations of gods, while the Jews worshipped and contended with one almighty and jealous deity.
Professor Knapp considers why any Jew or polytheist would voluntarily dispense with a well-tried way of dealing with the supernatural and trade it in for a new model. What was it about the new religion that led people to change beliefs they had held for millennia and which in turn, within four centuries of the birth of its messiah, led it to transform the western world? His conclusions are as convincing as they are sometimes surprising.
While scholars have long regarded the second century as one of the most decisive stages in the history of Christianity, there are no introductory surveys devoted solely to this critical period. This book fills this gap by providing an accessible and informative look at the complex and foundational issues faced by an infant church still trying to determine its identity. These issues included battles over heresy and orthodoxy, the development of the canon, the transmission of the Christian scriptures, and more. The church's response to these issues not only determined its survival, but it determined the kind of Church it would be for generations to come.
Christianity has often understood the death of Jesus on the cross as the sole means for forgiveness of sin. Despite this tradition, David Downs traces the early and sustained presence of yet another means by which Christians imagined atonement for sin: merciful care for the poor. In Alms: Charity, Reward, and Atonement in Early Christianity , Downs begins by considering the economic context of almsgiving in the Greco-Roman world, a context in which the overwhelming reality of poverty cultivated the formation of relationships of reciprocity and solidarity. Downs then provides detailed examinations of almsgiving and the rewards associated with it in the Old Testament, Second Temple Judaism, and the New Testament. He then attends to early Christian texts and authors in which a theology of atoning almsgiving is developeda 2 Clement , the Didache , the Epistle of Barnabas , Polycarp, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Cyprian. In this historical and theological reconstruction, Downs outlines the emergence of a model for the atonement of sin in Christian literature of the first three centuries of the Common Era, namely, atoning almsgiving, or the notion that providing material assistance to the needy cleanses or covers sin. Downs shows that early Christian advocacy of almsgiving's atoning power is located in an ancient economic context in which fiscal and social relationships were deeply interconnected. Within this context, the concept of atoning almsgiving developed in large part as a result of nascent Christian engagement with scriptural traditions that present care for the poor as having the potential to secure future reward, including heavenly merit and even the cleansing of sin, for those who practice mercy. Downs thus reveals how sin and its solution were socially and ecclesiologically embodied, a vision that frequently contrasted with disregard for the social body, and the bodies of the poor, in Docetic and Gnostic Christianity. Alms , in the end, illuminates the challenge of reading Scripture with the early church, for numerous patristic witnesses held together the conviction that salvation and atonement for sin come through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and the affirmation that the practice of mercifully caring for the needy cleanses or covers sin. Perhaps the ancient Christian integration of charity, reward, and atonement has the potential to reshape contemporary Christian traditions in which those spheres are separated.
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.
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.
Apostolic Tradition, as this text is best known, was identified in the early twentieth century as the work of Hippolytus, a Christian leader from third-century Rome. The text provides liturgical information of great antiquity, and as such has been massively influential on liturgical study and reform, especially in Western Churches. The second edition of this crucial liturgical document continues Fr Stewart's influential work of re-evaluating the evolution of church hierarchy in the early Church. In addition, this new edition is the first to incorporate a recently discovered Ethiopic manuscript, which in many cases has helped to clarify ambiguities in the text.
Who were the Church Fathers? What did they achieve? And why are their lives and writings considered so important? D'Ambrosio dusts off the dry theology and brings you the exciting stories about great thinkers such as Ambrose, Augustine, Basil, Athanasius, Chrysostom, and Jerome. This page-turner will inspire and challenge you with surprising insights into the brilliant, embattled, and sometimes eccentric men who defined the biblical canon, hammered out the Creed, and gave us our understanding of sacraments and salvation. Written by a popular theologian and world-renowned commentator on religious affairs Insightful accounts of pioneer thinkers such as Irenaeus, Origen, Athanasius and Augustine A lively, engaging presentation for the non-specialist
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.
Contrary to the scholarly consensus, Augustine and the Dialogue argues that Augustine's dialogues, with their inconclusive debates and dramatic shifts in focus, betray a sophisticated pedagogical method which combines strategies for 'un-learning' and self-reflection with a willingness to proceed via provisional answers. By shifting the focus from doctrinal content to questions of method, Kenyon seeks to reframe scholarly discussions of Augustine's earliest surviving body of works. This approach shows the young Augustine not refuting so much as appropriating Academic skeptical practices. It also shows that the dialogues' few scriptural references, e.g. Wisdom 11:20's 'measure, number, weight', come at key structural points. This helps articulate the dialogues' larger project of cultivating virtue and their approach to philosophy as a form of purification. Augustine is shown to be at home with pluralistic approaches, and Kenyon holds up his methodology as an attractive model for thinking through problems of the liberal academy today.
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.
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.
Augustine in Context assesses the various contexts - historical, literary, cultural, spiritual - in which Augustine lived and worked. The essays, written by an international team of scholars especially for this volume, provide the background against which Augustine's treatises should be read and interpreted. They are organized according to a rationale which moves from an introduction to the person (the so-called 'personal context') to the contexts of Augustine's works and ideas, starting from the intellectual setting and extending to the socio-political realm. Collectively the essays highlight the embeddedness of Augustine in the world of late antiquity and the interdependence of his discourse with contemporary forms of social life. They shed new light on one of the most important figures of the western canon and facilitate a more enlightened reading of his writings.
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