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The Early Church: Christianity in Late Antiquity (Paperback)
  • The Early Church: Christianity in Late Antiquity (Paperback)

The Early Church: Christianity in Late Antiquity (Paperback)

Paperback 256 Pages / Published: 17/12/2009
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This study of the early church is written from a new religious and theological studies perspective. It builds on recent research in ancient history, archaeology, classical and oriental and cognate studies and also takes account of recent developments in reception studies, in particular in the area of popular literature, fiction, film, art and new religions. One of its aims is to demonstrate how certain perceptions of the early church still dominate the western cultural discourse and how important it is for a fruitful development of that discourse to inform it with a well grounded, well (historically) informed, notion of 'the early church'. The book falls into seven chapters. Chapter I discusses the concepts of 'the early church', 'early Christianity', its wording and history, including wider aspects of reception. Chapter II deals with concepts of history, memory and cultural origins in early Christian thought. Chapter III outlines varieties of religious traditions in the wider context of 'the early church', including 'heresies' or other religions like Gnosticism, Montanism and Manichaeism. Chapter IV introduces religious practices of early Christians and their perception in history, especially in western art. A fifth chapter deals with the emerging separation of religion and society in Late Antiquity. In a sixth chapter we outline the formation of orthodoxy, including the developments of creeds and the phenomenon of councils, and in a seventh chapter we will look at the phenomenon of 'De-Hellenization' and the formation of 'national' 'christianities' on the fringes of the old Mediterranean world.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9780567165619
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 408 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 20 mm

"Readers are helped to look in a new way at people, ideas, and events that will be familiar from previous accounts of the history of the Early Church." The Church Times, 21st May 2010.
Church Times, January 2010
'Questa lucida introduzione.' Rassegna Bibliografica Internazionale
'Few areas of scholarship have seen such vigorous debate in recent years as the emergence of Christianity. Josef Lossl's book is a very welcome addition to the growing literature on the subject. It provides an extremely lucid introduction to the major areas of interest to students of the early history of the Christian Church between the first century and the fifth, including the relationship of Christianity with Judaism, the interactions of Church and Empire in the Roman world, and, above all, what it meant to be a Christian - and a member of the Church - in these early centuries. Throughout the book, moreover, Lossl encourages his readers to challenge preconceived notions about these important topics and to return to the ancient evidence with critical eyes. It is a book that will be read with profit not only by students new to the subject (for whom it will now be the first point of departure), but also by professional scholars, theologians, and, indeed, anyone with an interest in how a movement that began in Roman Palestine developed into one of the most powerful institutions that the western world has ever known, and how communities of believers were willing to endure bitter trials and tribulations in defence of their faith.' - Mark Humphries, Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology, Swansea University, Wales, UK. --Sanford Lakoff
'Josef Lossl has produced a unique history of the early church, one that shows deep sensitivity to the problem of the writing of history as such, especially the problem of writing a history of 'the church'. Lossl never lets us forget that we always view the 'early church' or 'ancient Christianity' through the lens of successive generations of historiography or, as he would put it, of 'memory'. Up-to-date in its scholarship and deeply immersed in the ancient sources, Lossl's study reveals the many faces of the early Christian movement: its literature, theology, and devotion to material objects. Especially welcome is his extensive discussion of the liturgical practices of early Christians, manifest in rites of baptism and eucharist. Likewise, his treatment of dogmatic developments places them in the proper political contexts without reducing them to political ploys. All in all, this book is a splendid and much-needed introduction to early Christian history. - David G. Hunter, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA.--Sanford Lakoff
'On the whole, this book is to be commended as a worthy and orginal addition to the genre of introductions to early church history. Lossl's use of ecomonic in-text citation, coupled with a copious bibliography, is a particular asset, and will doubtless serve the curious student especially well.' - Alexis Torrance, Christ Church, University of Oxford--Sanford Lakoff "Theological Book Review "
'Lossl discusses the development of Judaism and Christianity from unclear boundaries ion the early centuries to distinct identities in later centuries. Employing socio-anthropological thinking, he describes the religious practices of early Christians such as baptism and the Eucharist, also including discussions of church buildings, relics, Sabbath observance, and books.' Matthew R Crawford, Univesity of Durham--Sanford Lakoff "Theological Book Review "

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