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Originally confined to a small circle of believers centered in Jerusalem, Christianity's stunning transformation into the world's most popular faith is one of history's greatest, most miraculous stories. In Jesus Is Risen, #1 bestselling author David Limbaugh provides a riveting account of the birth of Christianity. Using the Book of Acts and six New Testament epistles as his guide, Limbaugh takes readers on an exhilarating journey through the sorrow and suffering, as well as the joys and triumphs, of the apostles and other key figures as Christianity bursts through the borders of Judea following the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Limbaugh particularly focuses on the crucial role that the Apostle Paul played in these historic events. Facing incredible adversities, from arrests to shipwrecks to violent mobs and murder plots, Paul overcomes countless obstacles as he travels far and wise to spread the Gospel. Limbaugh's passion for the Bible is unmistakable and infectious as he recounts these stories. Replete with deep insights into the actions, arguments, and challenges of the world's first Christian communities, Jesus Is Risen is a faith-affirming book for Christians at all stages of their faith walk.
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.
In The Darkening Age, Catherine Nixey tells the little-known - and deeply shocking - story of how a militant religion deliberately tried to extinguish the teachings of the Classical world, ushering in unquestioning adherence to the 'one true faith'.
The Roman Empire had been generous in embracing and absorbing new creeds. But with the coming of Christianity, everything changed. This new faith, despite preaching peace, was violent, ruthless and intolerant. And once it became the religion of empire, its zealous adherents set about the destruction of the old gods. Their altars were upturned, their temples demolished and their statues hacked to pieces. Books, including great works of philosophy and science, were consigned to the pyre. It was an annihilation.
In Volume One of Ernest Fortin: Collected Essays, the renowned theologian and political philosopher examines various facets of the unique encounter between biblical religion and Greek philosophy during the early Christian centuries and the Middle Ages. Fortin's aim is to uncover the crucial issues to which this encounter gave rise, such as the sometimes troubling but immensely fruitful tension between divine revelation and philosophic reason. The book includes sections on St. Augustine and the refounding of Christianity; the encounter between Jerusalem and Athens; the medieval roots of Christian education; and Dante and the politics of Christendom.
The Darkening Age is the largely unknown story of how a militant religion deliberately attacked and suppressed the teachings of the Classical world, ushering in centuries of unquestioning adherence to 'one true faith'. Despite the long-held notion that the early Christians were meek and mild, going to their martyr's deaths singing hymns of love and praise, the truth, as Catherine Nixey reveals, is very different. Far from being meek and mild, they were violent, ruthless and fundamentally intolerant. Unlike the polytheistic world, in which the addition of one new religion made no fundamental difference to the old ones, this new ideology stated not only that it was the way, the truth and the light but that, by extension, every single other way was wrong and had to be destroyed. From the 1st century to the 6th, those who didn't fall into step with its beliefs were pursued in every possible way: social, legal, financial and physical. Their altars were upturned and their temples demolished, their statues hacked to pieces and their priests killed. It was an annihilation. Authoritative, vividly written and utterly compelling, this is a remarkable debut from a brilliant young historian.
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 work of fiction, 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 book 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.
In St. Augustine in 90 Minutes, Paul Strathern offers a concise, expert account of St. Augustine's life and ideas, and explains their influence on man's struggle to understand his existence in the world. The book also includes selections from St. Augustine's work; a brief list of suggested reading for those who wish to push further; and chronologies that place St. Augustine within his own age and in the broader scheme of philosophy.
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."
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.
Exploring Gregory of Nyssa: Philosophical, Theological, and Historical Studies brings together an interdisciplinary team of historians, classicists, philosophers, and theologians to offer a holistic exploration of the thought of Gregory of Nyssa. The volume considers Gregory's role in the main philosophical and religious controversies of his era, such as his ecclesiastical involvement in the Neo-Nicene apologetical movement. It looks at his complex relationships-for example with his brother Basil of Caesarea and with Gregory of Nazianzus. Contributors highlight Gregory's debt to Origen, but also the divergence between the two thinkers, and their relationships to Platonism. They also examine Gregory of Nyssa's wider philosophy and metaphysics; deep questions in philosophy of language such as the nature of predication and singular terms that inform our understanding of Gregory's thought; and the role of metaphysical concepts such as the nature of powers and identity. The study paints a picture of Gregory as a ground-breaking philosopher-theologian. It analyses the nature of the soul, and connection to theological issues such as resurrection; questions that are still of interest in the philosophy of religion today, such as divine impassibility and the nature of the Trinity; and returning to more immediately humane concerns, Gregory also has profound thoughts on topics such as vulnerability and self-direction. The volume will be of primary interest to researchers, lecturers, and postgraduate students in philosophy, classics, history, and theology, and can be recommended as secondary reading for undergraduates, especially those studying classics and theology.
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.
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.
The first full-length study to trace how early Christians came to perceive Jesus as a sinless human being. Jeffrey S. Siker presents a taxonomy of sin in early Judaism and examines moments in Jesus' life associated with sinfulness: his birth to the unwed Mary, his baptism by John the Baptist, his public ministry - transgressing boundaries of family, friends, and faith - and his cursed death by crucifixion. Although followers viewed his immediate death in tragic terms, with no expectation of his resurrection, they soon began to believe that God had raised him from the dead. Their resurrection faith produced a new understanding of Jesus' prophetic ministry, in which his death had been a perfect sacrificial death for sin, his ministry perfectly obedient, his baptism a demonstration of perfect righteousness, and his birth a perfect virgin birth. This study explores the implications of a retrospective faith that elevated Jesus to perfect divinity, redefining sin.
`There are certain rules for interpreting the scriptures which, as I am well aware, can usefully be passed on to those with an appetite for such study...' On Christian Teaching is one of Augustine's most important works on the classical tradition. Written to enable Christian students to be their own interpreters of the Bible, it provides an outline of Christian theology, a detailed discussion of ethical problems, and a fascinating early contribution to sign theory. Augustine also makes a systematic attempt to determine what elements of classical education are permissible for a Christian, and in the last book suggests ways in which Ciceronian rhetorical principles may help in communicating the faith. This long-needed, completely new and up-to-date translation gives a close but stylish representation of Augustine's thought and expression. References to the classical background are carefully explained and Roger Green's introduction describes the aims and circumstances of the work, and outlines its influence on major figures in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
The rise of early Christianity has been examined from a myriad of perspectives, but until recently ritual has been a neglected topic. Ritual and Christian Beginnings: A Socio-Cognitive Analysis argues that ritual theory is indispensable for the study of Christian beginnings. It also makes a strong case for the application of theories and insights from the Cognitive Science of Religion, a field that has established itself as a vigorous movement in Religious Studies over the past two decades. Risto Uro develops a 'socio-cognitive' approach to the study of early Christian rituals, seeking to integrate a social-level analysis with findings from the cognitive and evolutionary sciences. Ritual and Christian Beginnings provides an overview of how ritual has been approached in previous scholarship, including reasons for its neglect, and introduces the reader to the emerging fields of Ritual Studies and the Cognitive Science of Religion. In particular, it explores the ways in which cognitive theories of ritual can shed new light on issues discussed by early Christian scholars, and opens up new questions and avenues for further research. The socio-cognitive approach to ritual is applied to a number of test cases, including John the Baptist, the ritual healing practiced by Jesus and the early Christians, the social life of Pauline Christianity, and the development of early Christian baptismal practices. The analysis creates building blocks for a new account of Christian beginnings, highlighting the role of ritual innovation, cooperative signalling, and the importance of bodily actions for the generation and transmission of religious knowledge.
Geza Vermes, translator and editor of The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls and worldwide expert on the life and times of Jesus, tells the enthralling story of early Christianity and the origins of a religion. The creation of the Christian Church is one of the most important stories in the development of the world's history, yet one of the least understood. With a forensic, brilliant re-examination of all the key surviving texts of early Christianity, Geza Vermes illuminates the origins of a faith and traces the evolution of the figure of Jesus from the man he was - a prophet in the tradition of other Jewish holy men of the Old Testament - to what he came to represent: a mysterious, otherworldly being at the heart of the official state religion of the Roman Empire. Christian Beginnings pulls apart myths and misunderstandings to focus on the true figure of Jesus, and the birth of one of the world's major religions. Reviews: 'A beautiful and magisterial book' Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Guardian 'An exciting and challenging port of call, sweeping aside much of the fuzzy thinking and special pleading that bedevils the study of sacred scripture ... courteously expressed and witty' Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Times 'A challenging and engaging book that sets out to retrace the route by which a Jewish preacher in 1st-century Israel came to be declared as consubstantial and co-equal with the omnipotent, omniscient only God' Stuart Kelly, Scotsman 'A major contribution to our understanding of the historical Jesus' Financial Times 'A very accessible and entertaining read' Scotland on Sunday Books of the Year 'A magnum opus of early Christian history and one of the year's most significant titles' Bookseller
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.
In his own day the dominant personality of the Western Church,
Augustine of Hippo today stands as perhaps the greatest thinker of
Christian antiquity, and his Confessions is one of the great works
of Western literature. In this intensely personal narrative,
Augustine relates his rare ascent from a humble Algerian farm to
the edge of the corridors of power at the imperial court in Milan,
his struggle against the domination of his sexual nature, his
renunciation of secular ambition and marriage, and the recovery of
the faith his mother Monica had taught him during his childhood.
In this historical and theological study, John G. Gager undermines the myth of the Apostle Paul's rejection of Judaism, conversion to Christianity, and founding of Christian anti-Judaism. He finds that the rise of Christianity occurred well after Paul's death and attributes the distortion of the Apostle's views to early and later Christians. Though Christian clerical elites ascribed a rejection-replacement theology to Paul's legend, Gager shows that the Apostle was considered a loyal Jew by many of his Jesus-believing contemporaries and that later Jewish and Muslim thinkers held the same view. He holds that one of the earliest misinterpretations of Paul was to name him the founder of Christianity, and in recent times numerous Jewish and Christian readers of Paul have moved beyond this understanding. Gager also finds that Judaism did not fade away after Paul's death but continued to appeal to both Christians and pagans for centuries. Jewish synagogues remained important religious and social institutions throughout the Mediterranean world. Making use of all possible literary and archaeological sources, including Muslim texts, Gager helps recover the long pre-history of a Jewish Paul, obscured by recent, negative portrayals of the Apostle, and recognizes the enduring bond between Jews and Christians that has influenced all aspects of Christianity.
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
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 is an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence. It is free to read at Oxford Scholarship Online and offered as a free PDF download from OUP and selected open access locations. Latin is the language in which the New Testament was copied, read, and studied for over a millennium. The remains of the initial 'Old Latin' version preserve important testimony for early forms of text and the way in which the Bible was understood by the first translators. Successive revisions resulted in a standard version subsequently known as the Vulgate which, along with the creation of influential commentaries by scholars such as Jerome and Augustine, shaped theology and exegesis for many centuries. Latin gospel books and other New Testament manuscripts illustrate the continuous tradition of Christian book culture, from the late antique codices of Roman North Africa and Italy to the glorious creations of Northumbrian scriptoria, the pandects of the Carolingian era, eleventh-century Giant Bibles, and the Paris Bibles associated with the rise of the university. In The Latin New Testament, H. A. G. Houghton provides a comprehensive introduction to the history and development of the Latin New Testament. Drawing on major editions and recent advances in scholarship, he offers a new synthesis which brings together evidence from Christian authors and biblical manuscripts from earliest times to the late Middle Ages. All manuscripts identified as containing Old Latin evidence for the New Testament are described in a catalogue, along with those featured in the two principal modern editions of the Vulgate. A user's guide is provided for these editions and the other key scholarly tools for studying the Latin New Testament.
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