This introductory study is written from a new religious and theological studies perspective. Building on latest research in history and archaeology it also deals with reception studies, including popular literature, fiction, film, art and new religions.
The book illustrates how perceptions of the early church still dominate the wider cultural discourse and how much that discourse is in need of a historically informed notion of 'the early church'.
The book falls into seven chapters. Chapter I discusses concepts like 'early church' and 'early Christianity' and wider aspects of reception. Chapter II deals with concepts of history, memory and cultural origins in early Christian thought and its study. Chapter III outlines varieties of religious traditions in the context of the early church, especially Hellenistic Judaism. Chapter IV discusses Jewish and Gentile identities in the early church. Chapter V deals with the emergence of an early Christian literature. Chapter VI outlines the development of early Christian religious practices, and Chapter VII looks at leadership and political structures in and around the early church and their implications.
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