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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.
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.
An engaging and rich exploration of Saint Patrick and his extraordinary influence on the world. Forced into slavery at the age of fifteen, Patrick overcame all hardship to fulfil his calling: to bring the people of Ireland into the light of God's word. He carried out his mission of conversion and care at a crucial time of change, as Christianity spread across Romanised Europe and harnessed existing social structures and belief systems in Pagan Ireland. Patrick met high kings and mythical heroes, Celtic gods and goddesses, lowly farmers and loyal servants, and he left lasting marks upon the Irish landscape and way of life. He was humble, courageous and resourceful, and was the first of Ireland's saints to write down his experiences. Thus began the cult of Saint Patrick, galvanised over 1500 years of devotion and scholarship, and culminating recently in the cheerful 'greening' of the world's most famous landmarks. Drawing from recorded histories, 'tall tales' from all four provinces and beautiful illustrations, this is a light-hearted look at the global phenomenon of Saint Patrick, his life and his legacy, the facts and the fiction of his incredible journey from slave to international saint.
This book breaks new ground in New Testament reception history by bringing together early Pauline interpretation and the study of early Christian institutions. Benjamin Edsall traces the close association between Paul and the catechumenate through important texts and readers from the late second century to the fourth century to show how the early Church arrived at a wide-spread image of Paul as the apostle of Christian initiation. While exploring what this image of Paul means for understanding early Christian interpretation, Edsall also examines the significance of this aspect of Pauline reception in relation to interpretive possibilities of Paul's letters. Building on the analysis of early interpretations and rhetorical images of the Apostle, Edsall brings these together with contemporary scholarly discourse. The juxtaposition highlights longstanding continuity and conflict in exegetical discussions and dominant Pauline images. Edsall concludes with broader hermeneutical reflections on the value of historical reception for New Testament Studies.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
From earliest times, angels have been seen as instruments of salvation and retribution, agents of revelation, and harbingers of hope. In effect, angels are situated at the intersections of diverse belief structures and philosophical systems. In this book, Meredith J. Gill examines the role of angels in medieval and Renaissance conceptions of heaven. She considers the character of Renaissance angelology as distinct from the medieval theological traditions that informed it and from which it emerged. Tracing the iconography of angels in text and in visual form, she also uncovers the philosophical underpinnings of medieval and Renaissance definitions of angels and their nature. From Dante through Pico della Mirandola, from the images of angels depicted by Fra Angelico to those painted by Raphael and his followers, angels, Gill argues, are the touchstones and markers of the era's intellectual self-understanding, and its classical revival, theological doctrines, and artistic imagination.
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.
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.
There are some episodes in the Apocryphal Acts that are reminiscent of contemporary pagan stories of travel and adventure. One of these is the Thecla episode (ATh), from the Acts of Paul. As a story of Christian life, it aims to answer to relevant spiritual questions, such as the nature of Christian belief and the meaning itself of being Christian. In doing so, the Thecla episode follows a path sprinkled with topoi from ancient pagan fiction, with its challenging attitude towards the concept of the possibility of conquering the passions through reason and, in Thecla's case, the ultimate power of faith. In Thecla's Devotion, J.D. McLarty explores the Thecla episode through its intimate connection with paradigms of pagan romance, and walking amidst echoes of narrative sounds and patterns that link plots and fictional effects. In this fascinating book, the role of emotion arises alongside a powerful female leading figure as main features of both kindS of text - ATh and pagan romance - and is deeply investigated with a thorough and gentle touch.
In 1490/92 Marsilio Ficino, the Florentine scholar-philosopher-magus who was largely responsible for the Renaissance revival of Plato, made new translations of, with running commentaries on, two treatises he believed were the work of Dionysius the Areopagite, the disciple of St. Paul mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. His aim was to show how these two treatises (in fact the achievement of a sixth-century Christian follower of the Neoplatonist Proclus) had inspired pagan thinkers in the later Platonic tradition like Plotinus and Iamblichus. These major products of fifteenth-century Christian Platonism are here presented in new critical editions accompanied by English translations, the first into any modern language.
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.
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.
Archaeology and the Letters of Paul illuminates the social, political, economic, and religious lives of those to whom the apostle Paul wrote. Roman Ephesos provides evidence of slave traders and the regulation of slaves; it is a likely setting for household of Philemon, to whom a letter about the slave Onesimus is addressed. In Galatia, an inscription seeks to restrain the demands of travelling Roman officials, illuminating how the apostolic travels of Paul, Cephas, and others disrupted communities. At Philippi, a list of donations from the cult of Silvanus demonstrates the benefactions of a community that, like those in Christ, sought to share abundance in the midst of economic limitations. In Corinth, a landscape of grief extends from monuments to the bones of the dead, and provides a context in which to understand Corinthian practices of baptism on behalf of the dead and the provocative idea that one could live"as if not" mourning or rejoicing. Rome and the Letter to the Romans are the grounds for an investigation of ideas of time and race not only in the first century, when we find an Egyptian obelisk inserted as a timepiece into the mausoleum complex of Augustus, but also of a new Rome under Mussolini that claimed the continuity of Roman racial identity from antiquity to his time and sought to excise Jews. Thessalonike and the early Christian literature associated with the city demonstrates what is done out of love for Paul-invention of letters, legends, and cult in his name. The book articulates a method for bringing together biblical texts with archaeological remains. This method reconstructs the lives of the many adelphoi-brothers and sisters-whom Paul and his co-writers address. Its project is informed by feminist historiography and gains inspiration from thinkers such as Claudia Rankine, Judith Butler, Giorgio Agamben, Wendy Brown, and Katie Lofton.
This monograph is a critical study of the medieval manuscript held in Exeter Cathedral Library, popularly known as `The Exeter Book'. Recent scholarship, including the standard edition of the text, published by UEP in 2000 (2 ed'n 2006), has re-named the manuscript `The Exeter Anthology of Old English Poetry'. The book gives us intelligent, sensitive literary criticism, profound readings of all of the poems of the Anthology. God's Exiles and English Verse is the first integrative, historically grounded book to be written about the Exeter Book of Old English poetry. By approaching the Exeter codex as a whole, the book seeks to establish a sound footing for the understanding of any and all of its parts, seen as devout yet cosmopolitan expressions of late Anglo-Saxon literary culture. The poems of the Exeter Book have not before been approached primarily from a codicological perspective. They have not before been read as an integrated expression of a monastic poetic: that is to say, as a refashioning of the medium of Old English verse so as to serve as an emotionally powerful, intellectually challenging vehicle for Christian doctrine and moral instruction. Part One, consisting of three chapters, introduces certain of the book's main themes, addresses matters of date, authorship, audience, and the like, and evaluates hypotheses that have been put forth concerning the origins of the Exeter Anthology in the south of England during the period of the Benedictine Reform. Part Two, the main body of the book, begins with a long chapter, divided into seven sections, that introduces the contents of the Exeter Anthology poem by poem in a more systematic fashion than before, with attention to the overall organization of the Anthology and certain factors in it that have a unifying function. The five shorter chapters that follow are devoted to topics of special interest, including the volume's possible use as a guide to vernacular poetic techniques, its underlying worldview, its reliance on certain thematically significant keywords, and its intertextual versus intratextual relations. The riddles, especially those of a sexual content, receive attention in a chapter of their own. In addition, there is a translation of the popular poem The Wanderer into modern English prose, a folio-by-folio listing of the contents of the Exeter Anthology, and a listing of a number of the poems of the Anthology with notes on their genre, according to Latin generic terms familiar to educated Anglo-Saxons. This book is the first of its kind - an integrative, book-length critical study of the Exeter Anthology.
Inspired by the social theories of Max Weber, David d'Avray asks in what senses medieval religion was rational and, in doing so, proposes a new approach to the study of the medieval past. Applying ideas developed in his companion volume on Rationalities in History, he explores how values, instrumental calculation, legal formality and substantive rationality interact and the ways in which medieval beliefs were strengthened by their mutual connections, by experience, and by mental images. He sheds new light on key themes and figures in medieval religion ranging from conversion, miracles and the ideas of Bernard of Clairvaux to Trinitarianism, papal government and Francis of Assisi's charismatic authority. This book shows how values and instrumental calculation affect each other in practice and demonstrates the ways in which the application of social theory can be used to generate fresh empirical research as well as new interpretative insights.
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