Dynamics and Identity in Early Christianity: Associations, Judeans, and Cultural Minorities (Hardback)Philip A. Harland (author)
Hardback 176 Pages / Published: 19/01/2010
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This study sheds new light on identity formation and maintenance in the world of the early Christians by drawing on neglected archaeological and epigraphic evidence concerning associations and immigrant groups and by incorporating insights from the social sciences. The study's unique contribution relates, in part, to its interdisciplinary character, standing at the intersection of Christian Origins, Jewish Studies, Classical Studies, and the Social Sciences. It also breaks new ground in its thoroughly comparative framework, giving the Greek and Roman evidence its due, not as mere background but as an integral factor in understanding dynamics of identity among early Christians. This makes the work particularly well suited as a text for courses that aim to understand early Christian groups and literature, including the New Testament, in relation to their Greek, Roman, and Judean contexts. Inscriptions pertaining to associations provide a new angle of vision on the ways in which members in Christian congregations and Jewish synagogues experienced belonging and expressed their identities within the Greco-Roman world. The many other groups of immigrants throughout the cities of the empire provide a particularly appropriate framework for understanding both synagogues of Judeans and groups of Jesus - followers as minority cultural groups in these same contexts. Moreover, there were both shared means of expressing identity (including fictive familial metaphors) and peculiarities in the case of both Jews and Christians as minority cultural groups, who (like other 'foreigners') were sometimes characterized as dangerous, alien 'anti-associations'. This title pays close attention to dynamics of identity and belonging within associations.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 176
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 23 mm
"Drawing on insights from the social sciences, Harland, associate professor of humanities and ancient history at York University in Toronto, and author of Associations, Synagogues, and Congregations: Claiming a Place in Ancient Mediterranean Society (2003), suggests that we can better understand certain dynamics of identity among groups of Judeans (Jews) and Christians by looking at archaeological evidence for other contemporary associations and other cultural minority groups. After a 21-page introduction, he discusses associations and group identity among Judeans and Christians; local cultural life and Christian identity 'Christbearers' and 'fellow-initiates'; 'brothers' in associations and congregations; 'mothers' and 'fathers' in associations and synagogues; other diasporas immigrants, ethnic identities, and acculturation; interaction and integration Judean families and guilds at Hierapolis; group rivalries and multiple identities associations at Sardis and Smyrna; and perceptions of cultural minorities anti-associations and their banquets. Harland concludes that among the distinctive characteristics of Christians and Judeans that stood out to many insiders and outsiders was their attention to one, Judean God to the exclusion of other deities; and that this distinction was a potential source of tensions with many other groups and individuals within their contexts, and could lead to social harassment and persecution on particular occasions."
-New Testament Abstracts, Vol. 54
-New Testament Abstracts, Vol. 54
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