Christianity in Roman Africa: The Development of Its Practices and Beliefs - eBook
Christianity in Roman Africa: The Development of Its Practices and Beliefs - eBook  -     By: J. Patout Burns, Robin M. Jensen
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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2014 / ePub
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Christianity in Roman Africa: The Development of Its Practices and Beliefs - eBook

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2014 / ePub

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Stock No: WW82275EB


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Product Description

In-depth, illustrated exploration of how early North African Christians lived out their faith

Using a combination of literary and archeological evidence, this in-depth, illustrated book documents the development of Christian practices and doctrine in Roman Africa - contemporary Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco - from the second century through the Arab conquest in the seventh century.

Robin Jensen and Patout Burns, in collaboration with Graeme W. Clarke, Susan T. Stevens, William Tabbernee, and Maureen A. Tilley, skillfully reconstruct the rituals and practices of Christians in the ancient buildings and spaces where those practices were performed. Numerous site drawings and color photographs of the archeological remains illuminate the discussions.

This work provides valuable new insights into the church fathers Tertullian, Cyprian, and Augustine. Most significantly, it offers a rich, unprecedented look at early Christian life in Roman Africa, including the development of key rituals and practices such as baptism and eucharist, the election and ordination of leaders, marriage, and burial. In exploring these, Christianity in Roman Africa shows how the early African Christians consistently fought to preserve the holiness of the church amid change and challenge.

Product Information

Format: DRM Protected ePub
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2014
ISBN: 9781467440370
ISBN-13: 9781467440370

Endorsements

Bringing together the extant literary and archeological evidence to illuminate the distinctive teachings and practices of the North African churches, Burns and Jensen's Christianity in Roman Africa is especially valuable for its treatment of archeological and material-culture remains.
-Elizabeth A. Clark,
Duke University

Breaks new ground as an integrated approach to the lived reality of Christian faith in the ancient world. . . . Burns, Jensen, and their collaborators offer rich, nuanced, and sometimes surprising insights into the spiritual and material concerns of an ancient Christianity that itself soon disappeared but that has continued to wield influence ever since.
-Andrew McGowan,
University of Melbourne

This is an astonishing compendium integrating history, theology, and material culture. It is really unprecedented. The theology illuminates the art, and the art in turn illuminates the theology - and both make the history come alive, almost right before the reader's eyes. A truly amazing achievement!
-John C. Cavadini,
University of Notre Dame

One of the many pleasures of this rich and rewarding volume is that it gives the reader a textured portrait of what life was like in Christian communities in the early centuries. Do you want to know how the eucharist was celebrated? Or what rituals were associated with baptism? Or how Christians were buried? Or what a church looked like from the inside? You will find answers here, all documented with literary texts and archeological data and illustrated with stunning pictures.
-Robert Louis Wilken,
University of Virginia

A fascinating and very readable contribution to the understanding of Christian North African culture as found in texts (both pastoral and polemical), liturgical artifacts, architecture, iconography, and epigraphy. . . . Provides sweeping yet keenly perceptive and balanced overviews of the historical context in the time from Tertullian to Augustine and beyond.
-Allan Fitzgerald,
Villanova University

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  1. Annette
    Texas
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Christianity in Roman Africa
    March 13, 2015
    Annette
    Texas
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Source: Free copy from Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. in exchange for a review.

    Rating: 5 stars for excellent.

    Summary:

    Christianity in Roman Africa covers the modern day countries of Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia.

    Husband and wife writing team, J. Patout Burns, and Robin M. Jensen, began the quest for the book in 1994. After a trip to Tunisia in 1996, the book began to come together.

    They utilized both archaeology and literature for confirmation. It will be explained in the introduction that utilizing these features are common, but worship itself will be analyzed. "The objective of this study is to correlate these two forms of evidence in the investigation of the forms of worship and other practices of Christianity."

    Christianity in Roman Africa had its own specific theology. Conflicts in the various groups and teachers sparked problems. Principally the Donatist controversy.

    In 180, twelve martyrs were brought before the proconsul in Carthage. From this date, we understand Christianity had at least began 50 years before. Carthage was a busy metropolitan sea town. People from other countries traveled through Carthage. The spread of Christianity was higher in cities and spread slowly in the countryside.

    The beginning chapters are an overview of Christianity in Roman Africa, including the geography of the land, the political history, and invaders. Persecution during the period of 180-260 is explored. Chapter four looks at the churches. How and where they met for worship. Pulpits, decorations, baptisms, and burials are examined. Chapters five through twelve is considered the essential part of the book.

    Each of these chapters reviews chronologically the development of the practice and the accompanying theology usually proceeding from Tertullian through Augustine. Each chapter ends with general observations in two categories: the first summarizes the significant points of contact between archaeological and literary evidence; the second reviews the interaction of practice and theology in the particular subject of the chapter. Page LIII.

    The last chapter defines holiness in the church.

    My Thoughts:

    Christianity in Roman Africa appeared one cold December afternoon leaning against my front door. I don't remember emails exchanged, nor agreeing to review the book. I must admit, the weight of the book, both physically and intellectually intimidated me. I was sick in December and January. I began reading the 723 page book in February.

    When I began reading Christianity in Roman Africa I knew two things:

    There was a Church presence in north Africa.

    Augustine and Tertullian were early Church fathers.

    My mind has been enriched with a wealth of information. The following bullet points will show what stood out to me.

    Persecution was not continuous but occasional.

    The Church had more than persecution to worry about. Religious practices and beliefs were not in unity among all Christians. Arguments and pride over one way or another led to one group believing it was "the true Church."

    African Christianity was located not only in north Africa, but also in southern Spain, and Rome.

    Tertullian's interesting belief in baptism. Further, the long ritual of baptism itself. This includes oaths, a ceremony of turning away from idolatry, and commitment to Jesus Christ. When a person made a decision of belief in Jesus Christ, baptism was not a quick ritual. It was a process that took time, thought, and maturity.

    Defining Church leadership and governing.

    The practice of praying for the dead. This is a point I needed clarification. When and why did Christians pray for the dead? The book explains that it was believed people praying for the dead could help them in some way in their sufferings.

    Each of the significant leaders in the African Church are expounded on throughout the book. These men are Tertullian, Cyprian, and Augustine.

    The Christian Church in North Africa declines sharply after the Muslim conquest in 698. I would like to know more about this point in history.

    Christianity in Roman Africa at first sight is written for a person of "higher learning." A scholar. A teacher. A pastor. I believe it is a book written for anyone wanting to understand the origins and beliefs of the early church in Roman Africa.

    The book is organized well, balanced, and has clarity. I might have gotten lost in the lengthy historical facts; instead, I understand this area of the world and the history of Christianity more clearly.
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