The First Christian Centuries
PrefaceIntroduction: Christians from a Distant PerspectiveTheology and HistoryWho Was, or Was Not, Christian?Ways of Understanding Differences between ChristiansA Story of Both Centre and Periphery1. First-Century Christianity: The Source DebateA Portfolio of SourcesThe New TestamentFragmented DiscussionThe Intracanonists' Dispute ResolvedThe Extracanonists' Case...
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PrefaceIntroduction: Christians from a Distant PerspectiveTheology and HistoryWho Was, or Was Not, Christian?Ways of Understanding Differences between ChristiansA Story of Both Centre and Periphery1. First-Century Christianity: The Source DebateA Portfolio of SourcesThe New TestamentFragmented DiscussionThe Intracanonists' Dispute ResolvedThe Extracanonists' Case DelineatedThe Extracanonists' Case DisprovedNew Testament Insights on the Christian Movement2. First-Generation ChristianityJesus' Church: A SectChristians, the Synagogues and the TempleJerusalem Christianity in the First DecadeSimon Magus and His SectThe Jerusalem Church, 41--62Paul and the Antioch ChurchThe Pauline Churches, 46--623. Initial Growth, Incipient PersecutionPersecution and IllegalityA Threshold4. The Second Christian GenerationSecond-Generation Church Order: the DidacheSecond-Generation Discipline: Clement of RomeSecond-Generation Prophecy: HermasSecond-Generation Growth: Alexandria and EgyptThe Second Generation in Jerusalem and the Jewish ChurchesSeparation between Christianity and Judaism5. Second- and Third-Century Christianity: Another Source DebateMemories and ApologiaApolgetic and MissionApocryphal StoriesGnostic WritingEusebius6. Persecution and Anti-Christian PolemicPliny and TrajanHadrian: Deterring InformersPeregrinus: When Politics Dictated TolerancePolycarp: The Crowd Demands a VictimIntellectual AttacksWhere Persuasion Fails: Anti-Christian ViolenceThe Decian Persecution7. An Enclave: Caesar's PalaceGovernment OfficialsThe Second GenerationAn Unusual ArrestChristians: A Persistent Presence in the PalaceThird-Century PurgesThe Shape of Things to Come8. Gnosticism and Christian Diversity"False Teachers" in the New TestamentKey Concepts in GnosticismDivergent and Convergent ForcesIgnatius of AntiochWho Was a Gnostic?Cosmopolitan TheologizingSectarianism in the Development of ChristianityThe Great Church and Doctrinal DevelopmentA Case Where "No Sock Fell Off": Origen9. Women and ChristianityFeminist Readings of the Early ChurchStark's The Rise of Christianity: A Bullish View?Feminists Adapt the New ConsensusLeadership Given by WomenThe Pull of Gravity10. The Great Persecution and ConstantineThe Calm before the StormThe Churches and Roman SocietyThe Crisis of Empire and Anti-Christian PropagandaThe Great PersecutionConstantine's Rise to PowerConstantine's ConversionChristianity Becomes the Official ReligionPrimary-Source Finding ListBibliographyIndex
The first three centuries of the early church were a period of struggle, transition and growth. Recent attempts by historians and social scientists to understand this era have produced various and conflicting accounts. Indeed, some have sought to overturn the former consensus regarding which texts provide reliable evidence and how they should be interpreted. In The First Christian Centuries, Paul McKechnie, a classical scholar, examines some key issues in the current debate.
Which ancient sources are reliable?
What was the social makeup of the early Christian movement?
What can we determine about the growth rate and persecution of first-century Christians?
What do we know about the second generation of Christians?
How should we assess the reliability of our various sources from the second and third centuries?
What were the nature and extent of persecutions in the second and third centuries?
What were the long-term consequences of Paul's making converts within the household of Caesar?
Can we gain historical perspective on the diversity that traveled under the name Christian in the early centuries?
How were women regarded and what roles did they play?
And how was it that a Roman emperor, Constantine, was converted--and what were the implications for the Christian movement?
The value of McKechnie's study lies not in providing a comprehensive narrative of the origins and growth of the early church. Rather, it lies in critically examining key historical issues in sustained conversation with contemporary scholarship and the ancient sources. McKechnie will be valued by both students and scholars of early Christianity as an intelligent and informed companion who offers repeated and valuable insights into this critical era of Christian beginnings.
Paul McKechnie teaches in the department of classics and ancPaul McKechnie teaches in the department of classics and ancient history at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. ient history at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. C
- <strong>introduction: Christians From A Distant Perspective</strong>
- Theology And History
- Who Was, Or Was Not, Christian?
- Ways Of Understanding Differences Between Christians
- A Story Of Both Centre And Periphery
- <strong>1. First-century Christianity: The Source Debate</strong>
- A Portfolio Of Sources
- The New Testament
- Fragmented Discussion
- The Intracanonists' Dispute Resolved
- The Extracanonists' Case Delineated
- The Extracanonists' Case Disproved
- New Testament Insights On The Christian Movement
- <strong>2. First-generation Christianity</strong>
- Jesus' Church: A Sect
- Christians, The Synagogues And The Temple
- Jerusalem Christianity In The First Decade
- Simon Magus And His Sect
- The Jerusalem Church, 41--62
- Paul And The Antioch Church
- The Pauline Churches, 46--62
- <strong>3. Initial Growth, Incipient Persecution</strong>
- Persecution And Illegality
- A Threshold
- <strong>4. The Second Christian Generation</strong>
- Second-generation Church Order: The <em>didache</em>
- Second-generation Discipline: Clement Of Rome
- Second-generation Prophecy: Hermas
- Second-generation Growth: Alexandria And Egypt
- The Second Generation In Jerusalem And The Jewish Churches
- Separation Between Christianity And Judaism
- <strong>5. Second- And Third-century Christianity: Another Source Debate</strong>
- Memories And Apologia
- Apolgetic And Mission
- Apocryphal Stories
- Gnostic Writing
- <strong>6. Persecution And Anti-christian Polemic</strong>
- Pliny And Trajan
- Hadrian: Deterring Informers
- Peregrinus: When Politics Dictated Tolerance
- Polycarp: The Crowd Demands A Victim
- Intellectual Attacks
- Where Persuasion Fails: Anti-christian Violence
- The Decian Persecution
- <strong>7. An Enclave: Caesar's Palace</strong>
- Government Officials
- The Second Generation
- An Unusual Arrest
- Christians: A Persistent Presence In The Palace
- Third-century Purges
- The Shape Of Things To Come
- <strong>8. Gnosticism And Christian Diversity</strong>
- "false Teachers" In The New Testament
- Key Concepts In Gnosticism
- Divergent And Convergent Forces
- Ignatius Of Antioch
- Who Was A Gnostic?
- Cosmopolitan Theologizing
- Sectarianism In The Development Of Christianity
- The Great Church And Doctrinal Development
- A Case Where "no Sock Fell Off": Origen
- <strong>9. Women And Christianity</strong>
- Feminist Readings Of The Early Church
- Stark's <em>the Rise Of Christianity:</em> A Bullish View?
- Feminists Adapt The New Consensus
- Leadership Given By Women
- The Pull Of Gravity
- <strong>10. The Great Persecution And Constantine</strong>
- The Calm Before The Storm
- The Churches And Roman Society
- The Crisis Of Empire And Anti-christian Propaganda
- The Great Persecution
- Constantine's Rise To Power
- Constantine's Conversion
- Christianity Becomes The Official Religion
- Primary-source Finding List