Early Christianity A Brief History

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-02-25
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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This concise and engaging introduction to the history of early Christianity examines the development of Christianity from its origins up through the year 620. Accessible to beginning students with no background in the subject, Early Christianity: A Brief History is also captivating reading for more advanced students. The book is organized chronologically into four parts: The Contexts of Early Christianity, Christianity in the Second and Third Centuries, The Creation of a Christian Empire, and Life in the Christian Empire. Each part begins with a timeline in order to guide students in the chronology of events. Opening with a look at the historical Jesus--which considers what we know and how we know it--the book continues on with coverage of the Jewish and Roman worlds in which Christianity arose. It then charts the extraordinary progress of Christianity, ranging from its status as a fringe sect in Judaism, to that of a dominant religion, up through the reign of Pope Gregory I. Chapters on society and culture and an epilogue on Muhammad and the rise of Islam are also included. Focusing on important themes and developments throughout, author Joseph H. Lynch does not overwhelm students with an encyclopedic amount of detail. In addition, he acknowledges the often neglected diversity of early Christian views without losing sight of the major lines along which the religion developed. Lynch integrates excerpts and quotations from a wide variety of ancient sources--including the New Testament, the Gospel of Thomas, the Didache, and the writings of Dio Chrysostom, Fronto, and Tactitus--in order to engage students and show them how historians learn about the ancient world. Each chapter ends with carefully selected suggestions for further reading that are drawn from both ancient and modern sources. The book also features custom-drawn maps and photos to help students understand the visual and geographical developments of ancient Christianity.

Table of Contents

Each chapter ends with Further Reading (both Ancient Sources and Modern Works).PrefaceAbbreviations and Signs1. JesusNon-Christian Sources about JesusChristian Sources about JesusWord-of-Mouth Good NewsWritten Good NewsThe Synoptic ProblemMark and Matthew on ChristologyMark and Matthey on the DisciplesJesusPart I: The Contexts of Early ChristianityTimeline for First-Century Christianity2. The Jewish Context of the Jesus MovementThe Jews and HellenizationThe TempleSynagoguesOrdinary Judaism in PalestineSects and PartiesDiaspora ("Dispersion')Proselytes and God-FearersRoman Rule and the JewsThe Jewish War of 66-73The Jewish War of 132-1353. The Greek and Roman Context of Early ChristianityOfficial CultsVoluntary CultsRebirth at EleusisThe Cult of MithrasThe Cult of IsisThe Cult of the Great MotherAstrology, Oracles, MagiciansPhilosophies4. The Jesus Movement in the First CenturyJewish ChristianityJewish Christians and Gentile ConvertsJewish Christians and the Jewish RebellionsLater Jewish ChristianitiesGentile ChristianitiesPaul and Gentile ChristiansPaul the MissionaryPaul the TheologianPart II: Christianity in the Second and Third CenturiesTimeline for the Second and Third CenturiesA Note on Naming Christian Groups5. Christian Diversity in the Second and Third CenturiesSecond-Century DiversityGnostic ChrisitanitiesMarcionite Christianity6. The Emergence of a Proto-Orthodox Christian Consensus: Bishop, Creed and Canon of ScriptureOne Bishop, Elders and Deacons/DeaconessesCreeds and Rules of FaithThe Canon of ScriptureA Case Study: The New Prophecy7. Roman Society and the ChristiansRoman Law and the ChristiansThe "Crowd" and the ChristiansThe First Phase of Persecution (about 29 to about 250)Nero and the ChristiansPliny and the ChristiansPersecution at Lyons and VienneThe Second Phase of Persecution (250-260)The Emperor Decius (249-251)The Emperor Valerian (253-260)8. Christian IntellectualsJustin Martyr (about 100-about 165)Origen (About 185-251)Origen and the ScripturesOrigen the Theologian9. Proto-Orthodox Christian Communities in the Third CenturyThe Baptized FaithfulThe Catechumens ("Those under instructions")Penitents, Apostates, ExcommunicatesChristian Buildings Before ConstantineChristian Art Before ConstantineWorship Before ConstantineBaptismEucharistOrdinationChristian CustomsPartT III: The Creation of a Christian EmpireTimeline of Later Christianity10. Diocletian, the Great Persecution and the Conversion of ConstantineThe Emperor Diocletian (ruled 284-305)Constantine (ruled 306-337)11. The Christian Empire and the Imperial ChurchJulian the "Apostate" (361-363)The Dynasty of Theodosius I (379-455)Pagans in the Christian EmpireChristian Heretics in the Christian EmpireJews in the Christian Empire12. The Government of the ChurchThe Local BishopThe Bishops in CouncilThe Apostolic BishopricsThe Bishop of RomeThe EmperorThe Eastern Empire: ContinuityThe Western Empire: Discontinuity13. The Trinitarian ControversySchismsThe Origins of the Trinitarian ControversyThe Holy SpiritThe Survival of Arianism14. Jesus, the God/ManNestorianismMonophysitismThe Council of Chalcedon (451)Part IV: Life in the Christian EmpireTimeline for Later Christianity15. Worship and Piety in the Christian EmpireLiturgyChurch BuildingsChristian Time: The Liturgical CalendarThe Holy DeadPilgrimage16. The Ascetic MovementAnthony (about 251-356)Pachomius (290-345)Basil of Caesarea (about 329-379)Monasticism in the WestBenedict of Nursia (about 480-about 545)Criticism of AsceticsThe Impact of Asceticism Within ChristianityA Case Study: Clergy, Laity and Sexual ActivityMarriage of the Clergy Before the Fourth CenturyMarriage of the Clergy After the Fourth Century17. Fourth- and Fifth-Century Christian ThinkersAmbrose (339-397)Jerome (about 347-419)Gregory of Nyssa (between 311 and 340-about 395)Augustine of Hippo (354-430)ManichaeansDonatistsPelagius (about 350-about 425)Pagans18. Conversion and ChristianizationConversion before the Fourth CenturyConversi

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