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|Title: Gentile Christian Identity from Cornelius to Constantine: The Nations, the Parting of the Ways, and Roman Imperial Ideology|
By: Terrence L. Donaldson
Number of Pages: 656
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2020
|Dimensions: 9.25 X 6.125 (inches)|
Weight: 2 pounds 2 ounces
Stock No: WW871753
Originally an ascribed identity that cast non-Jewish Christ-believers as an ethnic other, "gentile" soon evolved into a much more complex aspect of early Christian identity. Gentile Christian Identity from Cornelius to Constantine is a full historical account of this trajectory, showing how, in the context of "the parting of the ways," the early church increasingly identified itself as a distinctly gentile and anti-Judaic entity, even as it also crafted itself as an alternative to the cosmopolitan project of the Roman Empire. This process of identity construction shaped Christianitys legacy, paradoxically establishing it as both a counter-empire and a mimicker of Romes imperial ideology.
Drawing on social identity theory and ethnography, Terence Donaldson offers an analysis of gentile Christianity that is thorough and highly relevant to todays discourses surrounding identity, ethnicity, and Christian-Jewish relations. As Donaldson shows, a full understanding of the term "gentile" is key to understanding the modern Western world and the church as we know it.
James Carleton Paget
University of Cambridge
"Scholars of early Christian history have long recognized the transformative impact of gentile Christianity on the subsequent development of Christian identity. Donaldson brings to this topic the depth of research and analysis, the good judgment, and the good writing that characterize all of his work. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the parting of the ways, the situation of Christianity both within and over against Roman imperial ideology, and, above all, ethnicity as a descriptive, analytical, and polemical category in early Christianity and beyond."
University of Ottawa
"If the Jesus movement originated as a small and insignificant Jewish group, how do we explain the rise of Christianity as a religion not only set apart from Judaism, but also as one that displaced paganism and conquered the Roman Empire from within? In this seminal book, meticulously researched, Terence Donaldson shows how Christian identity formation in the early centuries took place in the intersection between the ethnic, the religious, and the political. It is a monumental achievement that is sure to reshape the way we understand the nature and origin of Christianity. Furthermore, it offers critical implications for how we may conceive of the continuing development of Christianity today, beyond the anti-Judaism and triumphalism that became interwoven with the message as the movement expanded in the empire. Highly recommended!"
University of Oslo
"The New Testament and early Christian writers speak of gentiles. But what would the people so labeled have made of the term? How did gentile Christians understand their identity? And what part did the word gentiles or nations (ethnē) play in the construction of this identity with respect to Jews and Judaism on the one hand and the Roman Empire on the other? In his discussion of the emergence and development of a distinctively gentile Christianity, Donaldson traverses and sheds much light on a range of debated issues, including the parting of the ways, ethnicity and identity, and the Roman imperial context for early Christian life and development. This important and highly significant book is vital reading for all those interested in Christian origins and in the development of early Christian life and identity."
University of Otago, New Zealand
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