The Earliest Christian Meeting Places Almost Exclusively Houses?

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-12-19
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury T&T Clark
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Edward Adams challenges the strong consensus in New Testament and Early Christian studies: that the early Christians met 'almost exclusively' in houses an assumption which undergirds much work in the social study of early Christianity, including the social formation of the early churches; the socio-economic status of the early Christians; the development of leadership and worship; the social organization of early Christian mission; women in the early churches. Adams re-examines the New Testament and other literary data, as well as archaeological evidence, showing that explicit evidence for assembling in houses is not is not as overwhelming as is usually thought. The study also asks: What other kinds of material space, beyond private houses, might have served as early Christian meeting places, and what evidence is there for Christian utilization of such places? Adams shows that during the first two centuries, the alleged period of the house church, it is plausible to imagine the early Christians gathering in a range of settings, both domestic and non-domestic, rather than almost entirely in private houses.

Author Biography

Edward Adams is Lecturer in New Testament Studies at King's College London, UK. He is also the author of 'Constructing the World: A Study in Paul's Cosmological Language' (2000, T&T Clark) and has co-authored 'Christianity at Corinth: The Quest for the Pauline Church'.

Table of Contents

Introduction/Part One: Evidence for the House as Ecclesial Meeting Place/New Testament Epistles/New Testament Gospels and Acts/Literary Evidence from 100 to 313CE/Archaeological Evidence/Comparative Evidence/Part Two: Possibilities and Evidence for Ecclesial Space beyond Private Houses/Commercial Premises/Leisure and Hospitality Spaces/Outdoor Spaces/Conclusion

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