Early Christian Literature: Christ and Culture in the Second and Third Centuries

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More About This Textbook

Overview

Helen Rhee’s outstanding work is the first book to bring together The Apologies and the semi-fictional Apocryphal Acts and Martyr Acts in a single study. Filling a significant gap in the scholarship, she looks at Christian self definition and self representation in the context of pagan-Christian conflict.

Using an interdisciplinary approach; historical, literary, theological, sociological, and anthropological, Rhee studies the Christians in the formative period of their religion; from mid first to early third centuries. She examines how the forms of Greco-Roman society were adapted by the Christians to present the superiority of Christian monotheism, Christian sexual morality, and Christian (dis)loyalty to the Empire.

Tackling broad topics, including theology, asceticism, sexuality and patriotism, this book explores issues of cultural identity and examines how these propagandist writings shaped the theological, moral and political trajectories of Christian faith and contributed largely to the definition of orthodoxy.

This thorough study will benefit all students of early Christianity and Greco-Roman literary culture and civilization.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415354882
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 6/28/2005
  • Series: Routledge Early Church Monographs Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Second-century Christian literature in its historical-cultural context 9
Christianity in the mid-second and the early third centuries 9
Christian interaction with Greco-Roman society 12
Literature of the second century : the apologies, apocryphal acts, and martyr acts 20
Triangular relationship 47
2 The superiority of Christian monotheism 49
Apologies : Christianity as true philosophy 50
Apocryphal acts : Christianity as true power 71
Martyr acts : Christianity as true piety 88
3 The superiority of Christian sexual morality 106
Asceticism in general : the controlling paradigm 106
Asceticism : sexual chastity and renunciation 108
Chastity, marriage, and family in Greco-Roman society : ideology and practice 109
Marriage and celibacy in the New Testament 113
Apologies : harmony with the established social order 117
Tatian and encratism 123
Apocryphal acts : antithesis of the social ideal and resistance to the social order 125
Martyr acts : renunciation of social mores 143
4 Christian loyalty to the empire 159
Imperial cult : unity of religion and politics 159
Apologies : Christian loyalty to the empire 164
Apocryphal acts : Christian subversiveness to the empire 171
Martyr acts : Christian resistance to the empire 179
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