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The work of the Christian scholar Lactantius provides an ideal lens through which to study how Rome became a Christian empire. Elizabeth DePalma Digeser shows how Lactantius' Divine Institutes -- seditious in its time -- responded to the emperor Diocletian's persecution and then became an important influence on Constantine the Great, Rome's first Christian emperor.
The Making of a Christian Empire is the first full-length book to interpret the Divine Institutes as a historical source. Exploring Lactantius' use of theology, philosophy, and rhetorical techniques, Digeser perceives the Divine Institutes as a sophisticated proposal for a monotheistic state that intimately connected the religious policies of Diocletian and Constantine, both of whom used religion to fortify and unite the Roman Empire. For Digeser, Lactantius' writings justify Constantine's own attitude of tolerance toward pagans and casts light upon other puzzling features of Constantine's religious policy. Her book contributes importantly to rail understanding of the political and religious tensions of the early fourth century.
The emperor Constantine changed the world by making the Roman Empire Christian. Eusebius wrote his life and preserved his letters so that his policy would continue. This English translation is the first based on modern critical editions. Its Introduction and Commentary open up the many important issues the Life of Constantine raises.
In our age of ecological crisis, what insights-if any-can we expect to find by looking to our past? Perhaps, suggests Virginia Burrus, early Christianity might yield usable insights. Turning aside from the familiar specter of Christianity's human-centered theology of dominion, Burrus directs our attention to aspects of ancient Christian thought and practice that remain strange and alien. Drawn to excess and transgression, in search of transformation, early Christians creatively reimagined the universe and the human, cultivating relationships with a wide range of other beings-animal, vegetable, and mineral; angelic and demonic; divine and earthly; large and small. In Ancient Christian Ecopoetics, Burrus facilitates a provocative encounter between early Christian theology and contemporary ecological thought. In the first section, she explores how the mysterious figure of khora, drawn from Plato's Timaeus, haunts Christian and Jewish accounts of a creation envisioned as varyingly monstrous, unstable, and unknowable. In the second section, she explores how hagiographical literature queers notions of nature and places the very category of the human into question, in part by foregrounding the saint's animality, in part by writing the saint into the landscape. The third section considers material objects, as small as portable relics and icons, as large as church and monastery complexes. Ancient Christians considered all of these animate beings, simultaneously powerful and vulnerable, protective and in need of protection, lovable and loving. Viewed through the shifting lenses of an ancient ecopoetics, Burrus demonstrates how humans both loomed large and shrank to invisibility, absorbed in the rapture of a strange and animate ecology.
Some early Christians used water, not wine, in the cup of their Eucharist, and avoided eating meat. This kind of avoidance, more common than previously imagined, reflected a more radical stance towards the wider society than that taken by the Christian mainstream. The discussion here throws new light on early Christianity and the ways eating and drinking have often reflected deeply-held beliefs and values.
Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) was one of the originators of medievil scholastic philosophy. This collection of his best-known philosophical works contains, among other things, the Proslogium, in which Anselm first put forward the famous ontological argument for the existence of God. Also included are Gaunilo of Maurmoutier's criticism of Anselm's argument and Anselm's reply to Gaunilo.
The first comprehensive introduction to the Orthodox Church in the United States from 1794 to the present, this text offers a succinct overview of the Church's distinctive history and its particular perspectives on the Christian faith. FitzGerald examines the relationship between the Orthodox Church and other Christian churches in the U.S., as well as the contributions the Orthodox Church has made to the ecumenical movement. This student edition, ideal for classes in American Religion, Denominational History, and American social and cultural history, includes a bibliographic essay intended as a guide for further investigation into aspects of Orthodox Christianity.
Aune's comprehensive study of early Christian prophecy includes a review of its antecedents (Greco-Roman oracles, ancient Israelite prophecy, prophecy in early Judaism), a discussion of Jesus as prophet, and analyses of Christian prophetic speeches from Paul to the middle of the second century A.D.
Christianity possesses two basic rites that complement one another, baptism and the Eucharist, the one giving access to the other. In The Origins of Christianity etienne Nodet and Justin Taylor investigate the character of the early Christian community by looking into the origins of these two rites and the links between them. A fundamental work on the initiation sacraments, The Origins of Christianity focuses on the Essenes for whom baptism marked the successful conclusion of a process of initiation and whose essential act as a community was an eschatological meal, principally of bread and wine. This marginal, tradition-bound culture came in contact with Gentiles. The result was a profound change that transformed a sect into a Church. The Origins of Christianity begins by examining two scenes in Acts 'Peter's visit to Cornelius and the night at Troas 'bringing baptism and the breaking of bread into sharper focus as customs dating back to earliest times. The authors then look at the history and geography of Jewish Galilee and focus on shared traditions with the Essenes. They also show the Last Supper as having elements of both the Passover (Jewish) and Easter (Christian) feasts. They look at those corresponding rituals and their meaning and also at the developments in the ways in which the Covenant is expressed (from circumcision to baptism). From institutions, The Origins of Christianity moves back to the historical question of the opening of the Essene group to those it had never envisaged as members, looking at the deeds and gestures of the first Christians at Ephesus and Corinth: Was the opening of Christianity ton on-Jewish people a result of a crisis within Judaism? Or did it correspond to the changes in the way in which Jesus was represented, as Teacher, as Christ, and as Lord. Does this affect our understanding of the historical Jesus?
John, the sixth-century orthodox bishop of Scythopolis in Palestine, was the first of many authors to comment upon the highly influentional Pseudo-Dionysian writings (such as The Mystical Theology). Here translated and interpreted, John's Prologue and Scholia (marginalia) have only recently been separable from later comments. They present his complex theological and philosophical observations on the Dionysian texts. The book begins with the general outlines of the appearance and reception of the Dionysian corpus in the sixth century, followed by an overview of the career and works of John of Scythopolis. Written around AD 540, John's own comments in the Prologue provide the outline for introducing the concerns dominating his Scholia: biblical, classical, and patristic sources; liturgical terminology and context; orthodox and heretical doctrines of the Trinity, Christology, creation, and eschatology; Dionysian authenticity; Neoplatonism and John's unacknowledged quotations from Plotinus. Most of the Scholia and all of the Prologue are translated and annotated in order to present the first of many layers of Dionysian interpretation.
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.
What is the Church? Perhaps more importantly, what is it meant to be? How did ti's earliest members understand this body of which they had become a part? How did they envisage what it ought to be and might become? This collection of fifteen early essays by an international group of New Testament experts is made in honour of John Sweet. They bring together in one volume a dynamic range of perspectives on how the early Christians viewed the Church: its origin, purpose and relation to the Jewish Scriptures and to Jesus Christ; its place in the world and in God's plan; its community life and worship, both in theory and in practice. The concluding chapter draws together the various recurrent strands of early Christianity's relationship with Judaism. Concise and accesible, with reading lists for each chapter, the book covers every New Testament author and ranges in time from the Greek Old Testatment to the Apostolic Fathers. Markus Bockmuehl is University Lecturer in Divinity and Fellow and Tutor of Fiztwilliam Collge, Cambridge. Michael B. Thompson is Director of Studies and Lecturer in New Testament at Ridley Hall, Cambridge.
A Grammar for New Testament Greek will serve as a concise, authoritative introduction to the study of the language in which the New Testament was written. Written with a variety of learning contexts in mind, this volume will be an essential tool to those whose study of Greek will take place in the classroom, and to those who wish to refresh their knowledge of the language by private study.
This book has many invaluable features. The arrangement of the chapters was designed to introduce students to the distinction between the present and the aorist tenses, as well as acquaint them with special forms such as the "-mi" verbs, early on in the grammar. The vocabulary has been oriented more closely to the frequency with which words appear in the New Testament, highlighting certain common New Testament terms. A thorough reference section at the end of the book makes the book helpful to those who wish to look up grammatical forms as they read and translate the Greek New Testament. There is a complete discussion of the different elements of Greek grammar, and how they convey meaning. The exercises draw closely on the Greek text of the New Testament in their choice, not only of vocabulary, but of word order and phrasing as well. The purpose is to acquaint students, as early as possible, with the kind of vocabulary and sentence structure that they will encounter in the Greek New Testament.
In "The Theology of the First Christians," Walter Schmithals offers a comprehensive history of the development of religious thought from the preaching of Jesus to the formation of the New Testament canon. This well-researched volume will be of great interest to New Testament scholars and students.
Eusebius of Caesarea (d. 339) is our major historical witness to the triumph of Christianity in the early fourth century. His commentary on the Book of Isaiah has only been available to modern scholars since 1975. The present book, the first comprehensive study, examines how Eusebius interpreted Isaiah in the context of Constantine's conversion.
A panoramic view of one of the largest, most controversial, spiritually profound and deeply suffering of all Christian churches. The author begins with the legalization of Christianity by Constantine the Great, and the subsequent chapters lead the reader to the calamities of the 20th century under communism. The book ends with a brief survey of the post-Communist era.
Here is a brief and highly readable history of early Christianity. Etienne Trocme spares us references to the jungle of secondary literature and with a lifetime's experience of New Testament studies cuts short long discussions of might-have-beeps. With a sure eye to lines of development, he paints a fascinating picture of the world of the first Christians. Simply basing himself on the New Testament, he nevertheless shows how much experimentation and conflict there was to begin with. He emphasizes the initial close relations between Christians and Jews and the shock to Christianity when Jerusalem fell at the end of the Jewish war and the Jewish revival firmly went its own way. He demonstrates how controversial a figure Paul was and how he suffered apparent failure before many of his views triumphed at the end of the first century. Even those who feel that more than enough has been written about the early church will warm to this book, and those to whom the story is unfamiliar will find it difficult to put down. Etienne Trocme is Emeritus Professor of New Testament in the University of Strasbourg.
Die seit 1925 erscheinenden Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte bilden eine der traditionsreichsten historischen Buchreihen im deutschsprachigen Raum. Sie enthalten Forschungen zur Kirchen- und Dogmengeschichte des Christentums aller Epochen, veroeffentlichen aber auch Arbeiten aus verwandten Disziplinen wie beispielsweise der Archaologie, Kunstgeschichte oder Literaturwissenschaft. Kennzeichnend fur die Reihe ist der durchgangige Anspruch, historisch-methodische Prazision mit systematischen Kontextualisierungen des jeweiligen Gegenstandes zu verbinden. In jungerer Zeit erscheinen verstarkt Arbeiten zu Themen einer Kultur- und Ideengeschichte des Christentums in einem methodisch offenen christentumsgeschichtlichen Horizont.
Lucretius, Epicurus, Epictetus, Stocism, Sextus Empiricus, Lucian and Philo of Alexandria were among the greatest philosophers of the Hellenistic Age. In carefully chosen selections of their writings, eminent scholar Jason Saunders offers readers a provocative sampling of the major surviving works, showing the enormous influence of Greek philosophy on the formative years of Christianity as well as the early Christian's distrust and eventual intergration of these important ideas.
Amidon offers the first English translation of Books 10 and 11 of Rufinus' Church History. Books 1-9 comprise a Latin translation of Eusebius' history. Books 10 and 11 are Rufinus' own continuation, covering the period 325-395. As the first Latin church history, this work exerted great influence over the subsequent scholarship of the Western Church.
Four respected scholars of the Hebrew Bible and early Judaism provide a clear portrait of the family in ancient Israel. Important theological and ethical implications are made for the family today.
The Family, Culture, and Religion series offers informed and responsible analyses of the state of the American family from a religious perspective and provides practical assistance for the family's revitalization.
This important new book covers the time between Paul's conversion in Damascus and his arrival in Antioch, set against a detailed background of the early Christian world, the church in Damascus to which Paul was introduced on his conversion, the methods of the first Christian mission, the situation in Arabia during Paul's first mission, the mission territory in Tarsus and Cilicia to which he then moved, and the nature of the church in Antioch. Martin Hengel once more challenges the overly skeptical assessments of the New Testament record and provides powerful support for his position on Paul.
The world of the Roman Empire offered extensive cultural expectations about how families should live. Some passages from the New Testament reflect these values of social stability, but at the same time, other passages make strong statements that seem to be against the family. What was the family like for the first Christians? How did they combine their family values and their new faith? When there were conflicts between family and faith, how did early Christians make choices between them?
Informed by archaeological work and illustrated by figures and photographs, Families in the New Testament World is a remarkable window into the past, one that both informs and illuminates our current condition.
This book, dedicated to the memory of David Stacey, Morna Hooker's late husband, is an expanded version of the Shaffer Lectures delivered atYale Divinity School in February 1995. It is more than just a commemoration, however, since it also carries on David Stacey's work on Prophetic Drama in the Old Testament, published by Epworth Press in 1990, and contains as an appendix his ideas for a second volume, outlined in a lecture on 'The Last Supper as Prophetic Drama'. Professor Hooker begins by reviewing the prophetic actions in the OId Testament and compares them with the way in which prophetic figures behaved in Jesus' day, in particular John the Baptist and the so-called sign prophets. Then she turns to Jesus himself and considers those actions which can be described as prophetic signs or dramas. She discusses the sign of Jonah, the refusal to perform signs, the miracles and other prophetic actions like the renaming of Simon, Jesus' eating with tax-collectors and sinners and the prophetic signs associated with Jerusalem, reaching a climax in the Last Supper. A final chapter examines the different ways in which the four evangelists interpreted Jesus' prophetic actions. Here is a fascinating study which contributes much to our understanding of the Gospel tradition and shows that biblical theology is still alive and flourishing. Morna Hooker was Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Robinson College.
In this provocative book, an eminent scholar examines the complex sociocultural factors that shaped Judaism and early Christianity, analyzing cardinal Judaic and Christian texts and the cultural communities in which they were written.
The modern scholarly verdict about the Confessions has been nothing short of sensational. This work documents the story of 20th-century criticism and praise for Augustine's classic, an ancient text that has grown in stature like few other Western classics. Disciplines such as psychology, literature, and religion, plus many others, all claim it as their own. The first chapter of this study puts modern Confessions scholarship into historical context. The other chapters are devoted to autobiographical studies, literary influences, philosophical interpretations, psychology, spirituality, and theological themes. Of interest to scholars and students in many disciplines. At the end of the 19th century a new critical spirit of inquiry and scholarship helped to change how we think about religious texts. The new criticism uncovered problems with Augustine's Confessions; he may have dramatized events concerning his conversion to Christianity, for example. Yet, this work has proved to be relevant in the 20th century like few other ancient texts. That such variegated attention has been devoted to it is testimony to Augustine's enduring legacy. His stature in Western civilization is of the first order, comparable to Homer and Virgil, Plato and Aristotle, Moses and Paul.
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