Christianity in the 1st century

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Jesus Washing Peter's Feet, by Ford Madox Brown (1852–1856)

Christianity in the 1st century covers the formative history of Christianity, from the start of the ministry of Jesus (c. 27–29 AD) to the death of the last of the Twelve Apostles (c. 100) (and is thus also known as the Apostolic Age).

Early Christianity developed out of the eschatological ministry of Jesus. Subsequent to Jesus' death, his earliest followers formed an apocalyptic messianic Jewish sect during the late Second Temple period of the 1st century. Initially believing that Jesus' resurrection was the start of the endtime, their beliefs soon changed in the expected second coming of Jesus and the start of God's Kingdom at a later point in time.[1]

Paul the Apostle, a pious Jew who had persecuted the early Christians, converted c. 33–36[2][3][4] and started to proselytize among the Gentiles. According to Paul, Gentile converts could be allowed exemption from most Jewish commandments, arguing that all are justified by faith in Jesus.[5] This was part of a gradual split of early Christianity and Judaism, as Christianity became a distinct religion including predominantly Gentile adherence.

Jerusalem had an early Christian community, which was led by James the Just, Peter, and John.[6] According to Acts 11:26, Antioch was where the followers were first called Christians. Peter was later martyred in the see of Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire. The apostles went on to spread the message of the Gospel around the classical world and founded apostolic sees around the early centers of Christianity. The last apostle to die was John in c. 100.[7]


Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as "The Way" (ἡ ὁδός), probably coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord."[web 1][web 2][8][9][note 1] Other Jews also called them "the Nazarenes."[8] According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" (Greek: Χριστιανός) was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch.[15] The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" (Greek: Χριστιανισμός) was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD.[16]


Jewish–Hellenistic background[edit]

Christianity "emerged as a sect of Judaism in Roman Palestine"[17] in the syncretistic Hellenistic world of the first century AD, which was dominated by Roman law and Greek culture.[18] Hellenistic culture had a profound impact on the customs and practices of Jews, both in Roman Judea and in the Diaspora. The inroads into Judaism gave rise to Hellenistic Judaism in the Jewish diaspora which sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism. Hellenistic Judaism spread to Ptolemaic Egypt from the 3rd century BC, and became a notable religio licita after the Roman conquest of Greece, Anatolia, Syria, Judea, and Egypt.[citation needed]

During the early first century AD there were many competing Jewish sects in the Holy Land, and those that became Rabbinic Judaism and Proto-orthodox Christianity were but two of these. Philosophical schools included Pharisees, Sadducees, and Zealots, but also other less influential sects, including the Essenes.[web 3][web 4][citation needed] The first century BC and first century AD saw a growing number of charismatic religious leaders contributing to what would become the Mishnah of Rabbinic Judaism; and the ministry of Jesus, which would lead to the emergence of the first Jewish Christian community.[web 3][web 4][citation needed]

A central concern in 1st century Judaism was the covenant with God, and the status of the Jews as the chosen people of God.[19] Many Jews believed that this covenant would be renewed with the coming of the Messiah. Jews believed the Law was given by God to guide them in their worship of the Lord and in their interactions with each other, "the greatest gift God had given his people."[20]

The Jewish messiah concept has its root in the apocalyptic literature of the 2nd century BC to 1st century BC, promising a future leader or king from the Davidic line who is expected to be anointed with holy anointing oil and rule the Jewish people during the Messianic Age and world to come.[web 5][web 6][web 7] The Messiah is often referred to as "King Messiah" (Hebrew: מלך משיח‎, romanizedmelekh mashiach) or malka meshiḥa in Aramaic.[web 8]

Life and ministry of Jesus[edit]

Events in the
Life of Jesus
according to the canonical gospels
Life of Jesus

Portals: P christianity.svg Christianity Bible.malmesbury.arp.jpg Bible

Wikipedia book Book:Life of Jesus


Christian sources, such as the four canonical gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the New Testament apocrypha[web 9], include detailed stories about Jesus, but scholars differ on the historicity of specific episodes described in the Biblical accounts of Jesus.[21] The only two events subject to "almost universal assent" are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.[22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29] The Gospels are theological documents, which "provide information the authors regarded as necessary for the religious development of the Christian communities in which they worked."[web 9] They consist of short passages, pericopes, which the Gospel-authors arranged in various ways as suited their aims.[web 9]

Non-Christian sources that are used to study and establish the historicity of Jesus include Jewish sources such as Josephus, and Roman sources such as Tacitus. These sources are compared to Christian sources such as the Pauline Epistles and the Synoptic Gospels. These sources are usually independent of each other (e.g. Jewish sources do not draw upon Roman sources), and similarities and differences between them are used in the authentication process.[30][31]

Historical person[edit]

There is widespread disagreement among scholars on the details of the life of Jesus mentioned in the gospel narratives, and on the meaning of his teachings.[32] Scholars often draw a distinction between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, and two different accounts can be found in this regard.[33]

Critical scholarship has discounted most of the narratives about Jesus as legendary, and the mainstream historical view is that while the gospels include many legendary elements, these are religious elaborations added to the accounts of a historical Jesus who was crucified under the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate in the 1st-century Roman province of Judea.[34][35] His remaining disciples later believed that he was resurrected.[36][37]

Academic scholars have constructed a variety of portraits and profiles for Jesus.[38][39][40] Contemporary scholarship places Jesus firmly in the Jewish tradition,[41] and the most prominent understanding of Jesus is as a Jewish apocalyptic prophet or eschatological teacher.[42][note 2] Other portraits are the charismatic healer,[note 3] the Cynic philosopher, the Jewish Messiah, and the prophet of social change.[38][39][note 4]

Ministry and eschatological expectations[edit]

In the canonical gospels, the ministry of Jesus begins with his baptism in the countryside of Roman Judea and Transjordan, near the Jordan River, and ends in Jerusalem, following the Last Supper with his disciples. [47][note 5] The Gospel of Luke (Luke 3:23) states that Jesus was "about 30 years of age" at the start of his ministry.[60][61] A chronology of Jesus typically has the date of the start of his ministry estimated at around AD 27–29 and the end in the range AD 30–36.[60][61][62]

In the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), Jewish eschatology stands central.[web 9] After being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus teaches extensively for a year, or maybe just a few months,[web 9][note 6] about the coming Kingdom of God (or, in Matthew, the Kingdom of Heaven), in aphorisms and parables, using similes and figures of speech.[63][web 9] In the Gospel of John, Jesus himself is the main subject.[web 9]

The Synoptics present different views on the Kingdom of God.[web 9] While the Kingdom is essentially described as eschatological (relating to the end of the world), becoming reality in the near future, some texts present the Kingdom as already being present, while other texts depict the Kingdom as a place in heaven that one enters after death, or as the presence of God on earth.[web 9][note 7]. Jesus talks as expecting the coming of the "Son of Man" from heaven, an apocalyptic figure who would initiate "the coming judgment and the redemption of Israel."[web 9] According to Davies, the Sermon on the Mount presents Jesus as the new Moses who brings a New Law (a reference to the Law of Moses, the Messianic Torah.[66]

Death and reported resurrection[edit]

The Crucifixion, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, c. 1745–1750, Saint Louis Art Museum

Jesus' life was ended by his execution by crucifixion. His early followers believed that three days after his death, Jesus rose bodily from the dead.[67][68][69][70][71] Paul's letters and the Gospels contain reports of a number of post-resurrection appearances.[72][73][74][75][76] In a process of cognitive dissonance reduction, Jewish scriptures were re-interpreted to explain the crucifixion and visionary post-mortem experiences of Jesus,[1][77][78] and the resurrection of Jesus "signalled for earliest believers that the days of eschatological fulfilment were at hand."[web 10] Some New Testamentical accounts were reinterpreted not as mere visionary experiences, but rather as real appearances in which those present are told to touch and see.[79]

The resurrection of Jesus "signalled for earliest believers that the days of eschatological fulfillment were at hand,"[web 10] and gave the impetus in certain Christian sects to the exaltation of Jesus to the status of divine Son and Lord of God's Kingdom[80][web 10] and the resumption of their missionary activity.[81][82] His followers expected Jesus to return within a generation[83] and begin the Kingdom of God.[web 9]

Apostolic Age[edit]

The Cenacle on Mount Zion, claimed to be the location of the Last Supper and Pentecost. Bargil Pixner[84] claims the original Church of the Apostles is located under the current structure.

Traditionally, the years following Jesus until the death of the last of the Twelve Apostles is called the Apostolic Age, after the missionary activities of the apostles.[85] According to the Acts of the Apostles (the historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles is disputed), the Jerusalem church began at Pentecost with some 120 believers,[86] in an "upper room," believed by some to be the Cenacle, where the apostles received the Holy Spirit and emerged from hiding following the death and resurrection of Jesus to preach and spread his message.[87][88]

The New Testament writings depict what orthodox Christian churches call the Great Commission, an event where they describe the resurrected Jesus Christ instructing his disciples to spread his eschatological message of the coming of the Kingdom of God to all the nations of the world. The most famous version of the Great Commission is in Matthew 28:16–20, where on a mountain in Galilee Jesus calls on his followers to make disciples of and baptize all nations in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Paul's conversion on the Road to Damascus is first recorded in Acts 9:13–16. Peter baptized the Roman centurion Cornelius, traditionally considered the first Gentile convert to Christianity, in Acts 10. Based on this, the Antioch church was founded. It is also believed that it was there that the term Christian was coined.[89]

Jewish Christianity[edit]

After the death of Jesus, Christianity first emerged as a sect of Judaism as practiced in the Roman province of Judea.[17] The first Christians were all Jews, who constituted a Second Temple Jewish sect with an apocalyptic eschatology. Among other schools of thought, some Jews regarded Jesus as Lord and resurrected messiah, and the eternally existing Son of God,[90][91][note 8] expecting the second coming of Jesus and the start of God's Kingdom. They pressed fellow Jews to prepare for these events and to follow "the way" of the Lord. They believed Yahweh to be the only true God,[93] the god of Israel, and considered Jesus to be the messiah (Christ), as prophesied in the Jewish scriptures, which they held to be authoritative and sacred. They held faithfully to the Torah,[note 9] including acceptance of Gentile converts based on a version of the Noachide laws.[note 10] They employed mostly the Septuagint or Targum translations of the Hebrew scriptures.

The Jerusalem ekklēsia[edit]

James the Just, whose judgment was adopted in the apostolic decree of Acts 15:19–29

With the start of their missionary activity, early Jewish Christians also started to attract proselytes, Gentiles who were fully or partly converted to Judaism.[94][note 11]

The New Testament's Acts of the Apostles (the historical accuracy of which is questioned) and Epistle to the Galatians record that an early Jewish Christian community[note 12] centered on Jerusalem, and that its leaders reportedly included Peter, James, the brother of Jesus, and John the Apostle.[95] The Jerusalem community "held a central place among all the churches," as witnessed by Paul's writings.[96] Reportedly legitimised by Jesus' appearance, Peter was the first leader of the Jerusalem ekklēsia.[97][98] Peter was soon eclipsed in this leadership by James the Just, "the Brother of the Lord,"[99][100] which may explain why the early texts contain scant information about Peter.[100] According to Lüdemann, in the discussions about the strictness of adherence to the Jewish Law, the more conservative faction of James the Just gained the upper hand over the more liberal position of Peter, who soon lost influence.[100] According to Dunn, this was not an "usurpation of power," but a consequence of Peter's involvement in missionary activities.[101] The relatives of Jesus were generally accorded a special position within this community,[102] also contributing to the ascendancy of James the Just in Jerusalem.[102]

According to a tradition recorded by Eusebius and Epiphanius of Salamis, the Jerusalem church fled to Pella at the outbreak of the Great Jewish Revolt (AD 66–73).[103]

The Jerusalem community consisted of "Hebrews," Jews speaking both Aramaic and Greek, and "Hellenists," Jews speaking only Greek, possibly diaspora Jews who had resettled in Jerusalem.[104] According to Dunn, Paul's initial persecution of Christians probably was directed against these Greek-speaking "Hellenists" due to their anti-Temple attitude.[105] Within the early Jewish Christian community, this also set them apart from the "Hebrews" and their Tabernacle observance.[105]

Beliefs and practices[edit]

Creeds and salvation[edit]

The sources for the beliefs of the apostolic community include oral traditions (which included sayings attributed to Jesus, parables and teachings),[106][107] the Gospels, the New Testament epistles and possibly lost texts such as the Q source[108][109][110] and the writings of Papias.

The texts contain the earliest Christian creeds[111] expressing belief in the resurrected Jesus, such as 1 Corinthians 15:3–41:[112]

[3] For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, [4] and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,[note 13] [5] and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. [6] Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. [7] Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.[113]

The creed has been dated by some scholars as originating within the Jerusalem apostolic community no later than the 40s,[114][115] and by some to less than a decade after Jesus' death,[116][117] while others date it to about 56.[118] Other early creeds include 1 John 4:2, 2 Timothy 2:8[119] Romans 1:3–4[120] and 1 Timothy 3:16.

Early Christian beliefs were proclaimed in kerygma (preaching), some of which are preserved in New Testament scripture. The early Gospel message spread orally, probably originally in Aramaic,[121] but almost immediately also in Greek.[122]


Two fundamentally different Christologies developed in the early Church, namely a "low" or adoptionist Christology, and a "high" or "incarnation Christology."[123] The chronology of the development of these early Christologies is a matter of debate within contemporary scholarship.[124][71][125][web 12]

The "low Christology" or "adoptionist Christology" is the belief "that God exalted Jesus to be his Son by raising him from the dead,"[126] thereby raising him to "divine status."[web 13] According to the "evolutionary model"[127] c.q. "evolutionary theories,"[128] the Christological understanding of Christ developed over time,[18][129][130] as witnessed in the Gospels,[71] with the earliest Christians believing that Jesus was a human who was exalted, c.q. adopted as God's Son,[131][132] when he was resurrected.[130][133] Later beliefs shifted the exaltation to his baptism, birth, and subsequently to the idea of his eternal existence, as witnessed in the Gospel of John.[130] This evolutionary model was very influential, and the "low Christology" has long been regarded as the oldest Christology.[134][135][web 13][note 14]

The other early Christology is "high Christology," which is "the view that Jesus was a pre-existent divine being who became a human, did the Father’s will on earth, and then was taken back up into heaven whence he had originally come,"[web 13][136] and from where he appeared on earth. According to Hurtado, a proponent of an Early High Christology, the devotion to Jesus as divine originated in early Jewish Christianity, and not later or under the influence of pagan religions and Gentile converts.[137] The Pauline letters, which are the earliest Christian writings, already show "a well-developed pattern of Christian devotion [...] already conventionalized and apparently uncontroversial."[138]

Some Christians began to worship Jesus as a Lord.[139][further explanation needed]

Eschatological expectations[edit]

While Jesus' early followers expected the immediate installment of the Kingdom of God, as time went on without this occurring, lead to a change in beliefs.[1][web 15] In time, the belief that Jesus' resurrection signaled the imminent coming of the Kingdom of God changed into a belief that the resurrection confirmed the Messianic status of Jesus, and the belief that Jesus would return at some indeterminate time in the future, the Second Coming, heralding the expected endtime.[1][web 15] When the Kingdom of God did not arrive, Christians' beliefs gradually changed into the expectation of an immediate reward in heaven after death, rather than to a future divine kingdom on Earth,[140] despite the churches' continuing to use the major creeds' statements of belief in a coming resurrection day and world to come.


The Book of Acts reports that the early followers continued daily Temple attendance and traditional Jewish home prayer, Jewish liturgical, a set of scriptural readings adapted from synagogue practice, use of sacred music in hymns and prayer. Other passages in the New Testament gospels reflect a similar observance of traditional Jewish piety such as baptism,[141] fasting, reverence for the Torah, observance of Jewish holy days.[142][143]


Early Christian beliefs regarding baptism probably predate the New Testament writings. It seems certain that numerous Jewish sects and certainly Jesus's disciples practised baptism. John the Baptist had baptized many people, before baptisms took place in the name of Jesus Christ. Paul likened baptism to being buried with Christ in his death.[note 15]

Communal meals and Eucharist[edit]

Early Christian rituals included communal meals.[144][145] The Eucharist was often a part of the Lovefeast, but between the latter part of the 1st century AD and 250 AD the two became separate rituals.[146][147][148] Thus, in modern times the Lovefeast refers to a Christian ritual meal distinct from the Lord's Supper.[149]


During the first three centuries of Christianity, the Liturgical ritual was rooted in the Jewish Passover, Siddur, Seder, and synagogue services, including the singing of hymns (especially the Psalms) and reading from the scriptures.[150] Most early Christians did not own a copy of the works (some of which were still being written) that later became the Christian Bible or other church works accepted by some but not canonized, such as the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, or other works today called New Testament apocrypha. Similar to Judaism, much of the original church liturgical services functioned as a means of learning these scriptures, which initially centered around the Septuagint and the Targums.

At first, Christians continued to worship alongside Jewish believers, but within twenty years of Jesus' death, Sunday (the Lord's Day) was being regarded as the primary day of worship.[151]

Emerging church – mission to the Gentiles[edit]

With the start of their missionary activity, they also started to attract proselytes, Gentiles who were fully or partly converted to Judaism.[94][note 11] A process of cognitive dissonance may have led to intensive missionary activity, convincing others of the developing beliefs to reduce cognitive dissonance, explaining why the early group of followers grew larger despite the failing expectations.[web 15]

Growth of early Christianity[edit]

Christian missionary activity spread "the Way" and slowly created early centers of Christianity with Gentile adherents in the predominantly Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire, and then throughout the Hellenistic world and even beyond the Roman Empire.[87][152][153][154][note 16] Early Christian beliefs were proclaimed in kerygma (preaching), some of which are preserved in New Testament scripture. The early Gospel message spread orally, probably originally in Aramaic,[121] but almost immediately also in Greek.[156] A process of cognitive dissonance reduction may have contributed to intensive missionary activity, convincing others of the developing beliefs, reducing the cognitive dissonance created by the delay of the coming of the endtime. Due this missionay zeal, the early group of followers grew larger despite the failing expectations.[web 15]

The scope of the Jewish-Christian mission expanded over time. While Jesus limited his message to a Jewish audience in Galilea and Judea, after his death his followers extended their outreach to all of Israel, and eventually the whole Jewish diaspora, believing that the Second Coming would only happen when all Jews had received the Gospel.[1] Apostles and preachers traveled to Jewish communities around the Mediterranean Sea, and initially attracted Jewish converts.[153] Within 10 years of the death of Jesus, apostles had attracted enthusiasts for "the Way" from Jerusalem to Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Thessalonica, Cyprus, Crete, Alexandria and Rome.[157][87][152][158] Over 40 churches were established by 100,[152][158] most in Asia Minor, such as the seven churches of Asia, and some in Greece and Italy.

According to Fredriksen, when missionary early Christians broadened their missionary efforts, they also came into contact with Gentiles attracted to the Jewish religion. Eventually, the Gentiles came to be included in the missionary effort of Hellenised Jews, bringing "all nations" into the house of God.[1] The "Hellenists," Greek speaking diaspora Jews belonging to the early Jerusalem Jesus-movement, played an important role in reaching a Gentile, Greek audience, notably at Antioch, which had a large Jewish community and significant numbers of Gentile "God-fearers."[94] From Antioch, the mission to the Gentiles started, including Paul's, which would fundamentally change the character of the early Christian movement, eventually turning it into a new, Gentile religion.[159] According to Dunn, within 10 years after Jesus' death, "the new messianic movement focused on Jesus began to modulate into something different ... it was at Antioch that we can begin to speak of the new movement as 'Christianity'."[160]

Christian groups and congregations first organized themselves loosely. In Paul's time[when?] there were no precisely delineated territorial jurisdiction yet for bishops, elders, and deacons.[161][163]

Paul and the inclusion of Gentiles[edit]


Paul's influence on Christian thinking is said to be more significant than that of any other New Testament author.[164] According to the New Testament, Saul of Tarsus first persecuted the early Jewish Christians, but then converted. He adopted the name Paul and started proselytizing among the Gentiles, calling himself "Apostle to the Gentiles."

Paul was in contact with the early Christian community in Jerusalem, led by James the Just.[165] According to Mack, he may have been converted to another early strand of Christianity, with a High Christology.[166] Fragments of their beliefs in an exalted and deified Jesus, what Mack called the "Christ cult," can be found in the writings of Paul.[165][note 17] Yet, Hurtado notes that Paul valued the linkage with "Jewish Christian circles in Roman Judea," which makes it likely that his Christology was in line with, and indebted to, their views.[168] Hurtado further notes that "[i]t is widely accepted that the tradition that Paul recites in [Corinthians] 15:1-71 must go back to the Jerusalem Church."[169]

Inclusion of Gentiles[edit]

Mediterranean Basin geography relevant to Paul's life, stretching from Jerusalem in the lower right to Rome in the upper left.

Paul was responsible for bringing Christianity to Ephesus, Corinth, Philippi, and Thessalonica.[170][better source needed] According to Larry Hurtado, "Paul saw Jesus' resurrection as ushering in the eschatological time foretold by biblical prophets in which the pagan 'Gentile' nations would turn from their idols and embrace the one true God of Israel (e.g., Zechariah 8:20–23), and Paul saw himself as specially called by God to declare God's eschatological acceptance of the Gentiles and summon them to turn to God."[web 16] According to Krister Stendahl, the main concern of Paul's writings on Jesus' role and salvation by faith is not the individual conscience of human sinners and their doubts about being chosen by God or not, but the main concern is the problem of the inclusion of Gentile (Greek) Torah-observers into God's covenant.[171][172][173][web 17] The inclusion of Gentiles into early Christianity posed a problem for the Jewish identity of some of the early Christians:[174][175][176] the new Gentile converts were not required to be circumcised nor to observe the Mosaic Law.[177] Circumcision in particular was regarded as a token of the membership of the Abrahamic covenant, and the most traditionalist faction of Jewish Christians (i.e., converted Pharisees) insisted that Gentile converts had to be circumcised as well.[Acts 15:1][174][178][179][170] By contrast, the rite of circumcision was considered execrable and repulsive during the period of Hellenization of the Eastern Mediterranean,[180] [181][182][183] and was especially adversed in Classical civilization both from ancient Greeks and Romans, which instead valued the foreskin positively.[180][181][182][184]

Paul objected strongly to the insistence on keeping all of the Jewish commandments,[170] considering it a great threat to his doctrine of salvation through faith in Christ.[178][185] According to Paula Fredriksen, Paul's opposition to male circumcison for Gentiles is in line with the Old Testament predictions that "in the last days the gentile nations would come to the God of Israel, as gentiles (e.g., Zechariah 8:20–23), not as proselytes to Israel."[web 11] For Paul, Gentile male circumcision was therefore an affront to God's intentions.[web 11] According to Larry Hurtado, "Paul saw himself as what Munck called a salvation-historical figure in his own right", who was "personally and singularly deputized by God to bring about the predicted ingathering (the "fullness") of the nations (Romans 11:25)."[web 11]

For Paul, Jesus' death and resurrection solved the problem of the exclusion of Gentiles from God's covenant,[186][187] since the faithful are redeemed by participation in Jesus' death and rising. In the Jerusalem ekklēsia, from which Paul received the creed of 1 Corinthians 15:1–7, the phrase "died for our sins" probably was an apologetic rationale for the death of Jesus as being part of God's plan and purpose, as evidenced in the Scriptures. For Paul, it gained a deeper significance, providing "a basis for the salvation of sinful Gentiles apart from the Torah."[188] According to E. P. Sanders, Paul argued that "those who are baptized into Christ are baptized into his death, and thus they escape the power of sin [...] he died so that the believers may die with him and consequently live with him."[web 18] By this participation in Christ's death and rising, "one receives forgiveness for past offences, is liberated from the powers of sin, and receives the Spirit."[189] Paul insists that salvation is received by the grace of God; according to Sanders, this insistence is in line with Second Temple Judaism of c. 200 BC until 200 AD, which saw God's covenant with Israel as an act of grace of God. Observance of the Law is needed to maintain the covenant, but the covenant is not earned by observing the Law, but by the grace of God.[web 19]

These divergent interpretations have a prominent place in both Paul's writings and in Acts. According to Galatians 2:1–10 and Acts chapter 15, fourteen years after his conversion Paul visited the "Pillars of Jerusalem", the leaders of the Jerusalem ekklēsia. His purpose was to compare his Gospel[clarification needed] with theirs, an event known as the Council of Jerusalem. According to Paul, in his letter to the Galatians,[note 18] they agreed that his mission was to be among the Gentiles. According to Acts,[190] Paul made an argument that circumcision was not a necessary practice, vocally supported by Peter.[90][191][note 19]

While the Council of Jerusalem was described as resulting in an agreement to allow Gentile converts exemption from most Jewish commandments, in reality a stark opposition from "Hebrew" Jewish Christians remained,[194] as exemplified by the Ebionites. The relaxing of requirements in Pauline Christianity opened the way for a much larger Christian Church, extending far beyond the Jewish community. The inclusion of Gentiles is reflected in Luke-Acts, which is an attempt to answer a theological problem, namely how the Messiah of the Jews came to have an overwhelmingly non-Jewish church; the answer it provides, and its central theme, is that the message of Christ was sent to the Gentiles because the Jews rejected it.[195]


Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire occurred sporadically over a period of over two centuries. For most of the first three hundred years of Christian history, Christians were able to live in peace, practice their professions, and rise to positions of responsibility.[196] Sporadic percecution took place as the result of local pagan populations putting pressure on the imperial authorities to take action against the Christians in their midst, who were thought to bring misfortune by their refusal to honour the gods.[197]

Only for approximately ten out of the first three hundred years of the church's history were Christians executed due to orders from a Roman emperor.[196] The first persecution of Christians organised by the Roman government took place under the emperor Nero in 64 AD after the Great Fire of Rome.[198] There was no empire-wide persecution of Christians until the reign of Decius in the third century.[web 20] The Edict of Serdica was issued in 311 by the Roman emperor Galerius, officially ending the Diocletianic persecution of Christianity in the East. With the passage in 313 AD of the Edict of Milan, in which the Roman Emperors Constantine the Great and Licinius legalised the Christian religion, persecution of Christians by the Roman state ceased.[web 21]

Development of the Biblical canon[edit]

An artistic representation of St. Clement I, an Apostolic Father.

In an ancient culture before the printing press and the majority of the population illiterate, most early Christians likely did not own any Christian texts. Much of the original church liturgical services functioned as a means of learning Christian theology. A final uniformity of liturgical services may have become solidified after the church established a Biblical canon, possibly based on the Apostolic Constitutions and Clementine literature. Clement (d. 99) writes that liturgies are "to be celebrated, and not carelessly nor in disorder" but the final uniformity of liturgical services only came later, though the Liturgy of St James is traditionally associated with James the Just.[199]

Books not accepted by Pauline Christianity are termed biblical apocrypha, though the exact list varies from denomination to denomination.

Old Testament[edit]

The Biblical canon began with the Jewish Scriptures. The Koine Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures, later known as the Septuagint[200] and often written as "LXX," was the dominant translation[where?].[201]

Perhaps the earliest Christian canon is the Bryennios List, dated to around 100, which was found by Philotheos Bryennios in the Codex Hierosolymitanus. The list is written in Koine Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew.[202] In the 2nd century, Melito of Sardis called the Jewish scriptures the "Old Testament"[203] and also specified an early canon.

Jerome (347–420) expressed his preference for adhering strictly to the Hebrew text and canon, but his view held little currency even in his own day. It was not until the Protestant Reformation that substantial numbers of Christians began to reject those books of the Septuagint which are not found in the Jewish Masoretic Text, referring to them as biblical apocrypha.

New Testament[edit]

The New Testament (often compared to the New Covenant) is the second major division of the Christian Bible. The books of the canon of the New Testament include the Canonical Gospels, Acts, letters of the Apostles, and Revelation. The original texts were written by various authors, most likely sometime between c. AD 45 and 120 AD,[204] in Koine Greek, the lingua franca of the eastern part of the Roman Empire, though there is also a minority argument for Aramaic primacy. They were not defined as "canon" until the 4th century. Some were disputed, known as the Antilegomena.

Writings attributed to the Apostles circulated among the earliest Christian communities. The Pauline epistles were circulating, perhaps in collected forms, by the end of the 1st century AD.[note 20]

The earliest Christian writings, other than those collected in the New Testament, are a group of letters credited to the Apostolic Fathers. These include the Epistle of Barnabas and the Epistles of Clement. The Didache and Shepherd of Hermas are usually placed among the writings of the Apostolic Fathers although their authors are unknown. Taken as a whole, the collection is notable for its literary simplicity, religious zeal and lack of Hellenistic philosophy or rhetoric. They contain early thoughts on the organisation of the Christian ekklēsia, and are historical sources for the development of an early Church structure.

Early orthodox writings – Apostolic Fathers[edit]

The Church Fathers are the early and influential Christian theologians and writers, particularly those of the first five centuries of Christian history. The earliest Church Fathers, within two generations of the Twelve apostles of Christ, are usually called Apostolic Fathers for reportedly knowing and studying under the apostles personally. Important Apostolic Fathers include Clement of Rome (d. AD 99),[205] Ignatius of Antioch (d. AD 98 to 117) and Polycarp of Smyrna (AD 69–155). Their writings include the Epistle of Barnabas and the Epistles of Clement. The Didache and Shepherd of Hermas are usually placed among the writings of the Apostolic Fathers although their authors are unknown.

Taken as a whole, the collection is notable for its literary simplicity, religious zeal and lack of Hellenistic philosophy or rhetoric. They contain early thoughts on the organisation of the Christian ekklēsia, and witness the development of an early Church structure.

In his letter 1 Clement, Clement of Rome calls on the Christians of Corinth to maintain harmony and order.[205] Some see his epistle as an assertion of Rome's authority over the church in Corinth and, by implication, the beginnings of papal supremacy.[206] Clement refers to the leaders of the Corinthian church in his letter as bishops and presbyters interchangeably, and likewise states that the bishops are to lead God's flock by virtue of the chief shepherd (presbyter), Jesus Christ.

Ignatius of Antioch advocated the authority of the apostolic episcopacy (bishops).[207]

The Didache (late 1st century)[208] is an anonymous Jewish-Christian work. It is a pastoral manual dealing with Christian lessons, rituals, and Church organization, parts of which may have constituted the first written catechism, "that reveals more about how Jewish-Christians saw themselves and how they adapted their Judaism for Gentiles than any other book in the Christian Scriptures."[209]

Split of early Christianity and Judaism[edit]

A coin issued by Nerva reads
fisci Judaici calumnia sublata,
"abolition of malicious prosecution in connection with the Jewish tax"[210]

Split with Judaism[edit]

There was a slowly growing chasm between Gentile Christians, and Jews and Jewish Christians, rather than a sudden split. Even though it is commonly thought that Paul established a Gentile church, it took centuries for a complete break to manifest. Growing tensions led to a starker separation that was virtually complete by the time Jewish Christians refused to join in the Bar Khokba Jewish revolt of 132.[211] Certain events are perceived as pivotal in the growing rift between Christianity and Judaism.

The destruction of Jerusalem and the consequent dispersion of Jews and Jewish Christians from the city (after the Bar Kokhba revolt) ended any pre-eminence of the Jewish-Christian leadership in Jerusalem. Early Christianity grew further apart from Judaism to establish itself as a predominantly Gentile religion, and Antioch became the first Gentile Christian community with stature.[212]

The hypothetical Council of Jamnia c. 85 is often stated to have condemned all who claimed the Messiah had already come, and Christianity in particular, excluding them from attending synagogue.[213][214][215][need quotation to verify] However, the formulated prayer in question (birkat ha-minim) is considered by other scholars to be unremarkable in the history of Jewish and Christian relations. There is a paucity of evidence for Jewish persecution of "heretics" in general, or Christians in particular, in the period between 70 and 135. It is probable that the condemnation of Jamnia included many groups, of which the Christians were but one, and did not necessarily mean excommunication. That some of the later church fathers only recommended against synagogue attendance makes it improbable that an anti-Christian prayer was a common part of the synagogue liturgy. Jewish Christians continued to worship in synagogues for centuries.[216][217]

During the late 1st century, Judaism was a legal religion with the protection of Roman law, worked out in compromise with the Roman state over two centuries (see Anti-Judaism in the Roman Empire for details). In contrast, Christianity was not legalized until the 313 Edict of Milan. Observant Jews had special rights, including the privilege of abstaining from civic pagan rites. Christians were initially identified with the Jewish religion by the Romans, but as they became more distinct, Christianity became a problem for Roman rulers. Around the year 98, the emperor Nerva decreed that Christians did not have to pay the annual tax upon the Jews, effectively recognizing them as distinct from Rabbinic Judaism. This opened the way to Christians being persecuted for disobedience to the emperor, as they refused to worship the state pantheon.[218][219][220]

From c. 98 onwards a distinction between Christians and Jews in Roman literature becomes apparent. For example, Pliny the Younger postulates that Christians are not Jews since they do not pay the tax, in his letters to Trajan.[221][222]

Later rejection of Jewish Christianity[edit]

Jewish Christians constituted a separate community from the Pauline Christians but maintained a similar faith, differing only in practice. In Christian circles, Nazarene later came to be used as a label for those faithful to Jewish law, in particular for a certain sect. These Jewish Christians, originally the central group in Christianity, generally holding the same beliefs except in their adherence to Jewish law, were not deemed heretical until the dominance of orthodoxy in the 4th century.[223] The Ebionites may have been a splinter group of Nazarenes, with disagreements over Christology and leadership. They were considered by Gentile Christians to have unorthodox beliefs, particularly in relation to their views of Christ and Gentile converts. After the condemnation of the Nazarenes, Ebionite was often used as a general pejorative for all related "heresies".[224][225]

There was a post-Nicene "double rejection" of the Jewish Christians by both Gentile Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. The true end of ancient Jewish Christianity occurred only in the 5th century.[226] Gentile Christianity became the dominant strand of orthodoxy and imposed itself on the previously Jewish Christian sanctuaries, taking full control of those houses of worship by the end of the 5th century.[223][note 21]


1st century timeline

Earliest dates must all be considered approximate

See also[edit]

History of Christianity: Early Christianity
Historical background of
the New Testament
Followed by:
Christianity in
the ante-Nicene period
BC Origins and Apostolic Age
Ante-Nicene period
2nd * 3rd * 4th
Late Antiquity
4th * 5th
Early Middle Ages
5th * 6th * 7th * 8th
High Middle Ages
9th * 10th * 11th * 12th * 13th
Late Middle Ages
14th * 15th
Early modern period
16th * 17th * 18th
Late modern period
18th * 19th * 20th
20th * 21st


  1. ^ It appears in the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 9:2, Acts 19:9 and Acts 19:23). Some English translations of the New Testament capitalize "the Way" (e.g. the New King James Version and the English Standard Version), indicating that this was how "the new religion seemed then to be designated" [10] whereas others treat the phrase as indicative—"the way",[11] "that way" [12] or "the way of the Lord".[13] The Syriac version reads, "the way of God" and the Vulgate Latin version, "the way of the Lord".[14]
    See also Sect of "The Way", "The Nazarenes" and "Christians": Names given to the Early Church.
  2. ^ The notion of Apocalyptic prophet is shared by E. P. Sanders,[43] a main proponent of the New Perspective on Paul, and Bart Ehrman.[44][45]
  3. ^ According to E. P. Sanders, Jesus's ideas on healing and forgiveness were in line with Second Temple Jewish thought and would not have been likely to provoke controversy among the Jewish authorities of his day."[46]
  4. ^ In a review of the state of research, the Jewish scholar Amy-Jill Levine stated that "no single picture of Jesus has convinced all, or even most scholars" and that all portraits of Jesus are subject to criticism by some group of scholars.[22]
  5. ^ Jesus' early Galilean ministry begins when after his baptism, he goes back to Galilee from his time in the Judean desert.[48] In this early period he preaches around Galilee and recruits his first disciples who begin to travel with him and eventually form the core of the early Church.[47][49] The major Galilean ministry which begins in Matthew 8 includes the commissioning of the Twelve Apostles, and covers most of the ministry of Jesus in Galilee.[50][51] The final Galilean ministry begins after the death of John the Baptist as Jesus prepares to go to Jerusalem.[52][53] In the later Judean ministry Jesus starts his final journey to Jerusalem through Judea.[54][55][56][57] The final ministry in Jerusalem is sometimes called the Passion Week and begins with Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.[58] The gospels provide more details about the final ministry than the other periods, devoting about one third of their text to the last week of the life of Jesus in Jerusalem.[59]
  6. ^ Sanders and Pelikan: "Besides presenting a longer ministry than do the other Gospels, John also describes several trips to Jerusalem. Only one is mentioned in the Synoptics. Both outlines are plausible, but a ministry of more than two years leaves more questions unanswered than does one of a few months."[web 9]
  7. ^ The Kingdom is described as both imminent (Mark 1:15) and already present in the ministry of Jesus (Luke 17:21) (Others interpret "Kingdom of God" to mean a way of living, or as a period of evangelization; no overall consensus among scholars has emerged on its meaning.[64][65]) Jesus promises inclusion in the Kingdom for those who accept his message (Mark 10:13–27)
  8. ^ According to Shaye J.D. Cohen, Jesus's failure to establish an independent Israel, and his death at the hands of the Romans, caused many Jews to reject him as the Messiah.[92] Jews at that time were expecting a military leader as a Messiah, such as Bar Kohhba.
  9. ^ Perhaps also Jewish law which was being formalized at the same time
  10. ^ Acts 15 and Acts 21
  11. ^ a b Catholic Encyclopedia: Proselyte: "The English term "proselyte" occurs only in the New Testament where it signifies a convert to the Jewish religion (Matthew 23:15; Acts 2:11; 6:5; etc.), though the same Greek word is commonly used in the Septuagint to designate a foreigner living in Judea. The term seems to have passed from an original local and chiefly political sense, in which it was used as early as 300 BC, to a technical and religious meaning in the Judaism of the New Testament epoch."
  12. ^ Hurtado: "She refrains from referring to this earliest stage of the "Jesus-community" as early "Christianity" and comprised of "churches," as the terms carry baggage of later developments of "organized institutions, and of a religion separate from, different from, and hostile to Judaism" (185). So, instead, she renders ekklēsia as "assembly" (quite appropriately in my view, reflecting the quasi-official connotation of the term, often both in the LXX and in wider usage)."[web 11]
  13. ^ See Why was Resurrection on “the Third Day”? Two Insights for explanations on the phrase "third day." According to Pinchas Lapide, "third day" may refer to Hosea 6:1–2:

    "Come, let us return to the Lord;
    for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
    he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
    After two days he will revive us;
    on the third day he will raise us up,
    that we may live before him."

    See also 2 Kings 20:8: "Hezekiah said to Isaiah, 'What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord on the third day?'"
  14. ^ Ehrman:
    * "The earliest Christians held exaltation Christologies in which the human being Jesus was made the Son of God—for example, at his resurrection or at his baptism—as we examined in the previous chapter."[135]
    * Here I’ll say something about the oldest Christology, as I understand it. This was what I earlier called a “low” Christology. I may end up in the book describing it as a “Christology from below” or possibly an “exaltation” Christology. Or maybe I’ll call it all three things [...] Along with lots of other scholars, I think this was indeed the earliest Christology.[web 14]
  15. ^ Romans 6:3–4; Colossians 2:12
  16. ^ Ecclesiastical historian Henry Hart Milman writes that in much of the first three centuries, even in the Latin-dominated western empire: "the Church of Rome, and most, if not all the Churches of the West, were, if we may so speak, Greek religious colonies [see Greek colonies for the background]. Their language was Greek, their organization Greek, their writers Greek, their scriptures Greek; and many vestiges and traditions show that their ritual, their Liturgy, was Greek."[155]
  17. ^ According to Mack, "Paul was converted to a Hellenized form of some Jesus movement that had already developed into a Christ cult. [...] Thus his letters serve as documentation for the Christ cult as well."[167]
  18. ^ Four years after the Council of Jerusalem, Paul wrote to the Galatians about the issue, which had become a serious controversy in their region. There was a burgeoning movement of Judaizers in the area that advocated adherence to the Mosaic Law, including circumcision. According to McGrath, Paul identified James the Just as the motivating force behind the Judaizing movement. Paul considered it a great threat to his doctrine of salvation through faith and addressed the issue with great detail in Galatians 3.[179]
  19. ^ According to 19th-century German theologian F. C. Baur early Christianity was dominated by the conflict between Peter who was law-observant, and Paul who advocated partial or even complete freedom from the Law.[citation needed] Scholar James D. G. Dunn has proposed that Peter was the "bridge-man" between the two other prominent leaders: Paul and James the Just. Paul and James were both heavily identified with their own "brands" of Christianity. Peter showed a desire to hold on to his Jewish identity, in contrast with Paul. He simultaneously showed a flexibility towards the desires of the broader Christian community, in contrast to James. Marcion and his followers stated that the polemic against false apostles in Galatians was aimed at Peter, James and John, the "Pillars of the Church", as well as the "false" gospels circulating through the churches at the time. Irenaeus and Tertullian argued against Marcionism's elevation of Paul and stated that Peter and Paul were equals among the apostles. Passages from Galatians were used to show that Paul respected Peter's office and acknowledged a shared faith.[192][193]
  20. ^ Three forms are postulated, from Gamble, Harry Y, "18", The Canon Debate, p. 300, note 21, (1) Marcion's collection that begins with Galatians and ends with Philemon; (2) Papyrus 46, dated about 200, that follows the order that became established except for reversing Ephesians and Galatians; and (3) the letters to seven churches, treating those to the same church as one letter and basing the order on length, so that Corinthians is first and Colossians (perhaps including Philemon) is last.
  21. ^ Jewish Virtual Library: "A major difficulty in tracing the growth of Christianity from its beginnings as a Jewish messianic sect, and its relations to the various other normative-Jewish, sectarian-Jewish, and Christian-Jewish groups is presented by the fact that what ultimately became normative Christianity was originally but one among various contending Christian trends. Once the "gentile Christian" trend won out, and the teaching of Paul became accepted as expressing the doctrine of the Church, the Jewish Christian groups were pushed to the margin and ultimately excluded as heretical. Being rejected both by normative Judaism and the Church, they ultimately disappeared. Nevertheless, several Jewish Christian sects (such as the Nazarenes, Ebionites, Elchasaites, and others) existed for some time, and a few of them seem to have endured for several centuries. Some sects saw in Jesus mainly a prophet and not the "Christ," others seem to have believed in him as the Messiah, but did not draw the christological and other conclusions that subsequently became fundamental in the teaching of the Church (the divinity of the Christ, trinitarian conception of the Godhead, abrogation of the Law). After the disappearance of the early Jewish Christian sects and the triumph of gentile Christianity, to become a Christian meant, for a Jew, to apostatize and to leave the Jewish community.[web 4]


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  2. ^ Bromiley, Geoffrey W., ed. (1979). International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: A-D. 1 (Fully Revised ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. p. 689. ISBN 0-8028-3781-6.
  3. ^ Barnett, Paul (2002). Jesus, the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times. InterVarsity Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-8308-2699-8.
  4. ^ L. Niswonger, Richard (1993). New Testament History. Zondervan Publishing Company. p. 200. ISBN 0-310-31201-9.
  5. ^ Seifrid, Mark A. (1992). "'Justification by Faith' and The Disposition of Paul's Argument". Justification by Faith: The Origin and Development of a Central Pauline Theme. Novum Testamentum. Leiden: Brill Publishers. pp. 210–211, 246–247. ISBN 90-04-09521-7. ISSN 0167-9732.
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  8. ^ a b Cwiekowski 1988, pp. 79–80.
  9. ^ Pao 2016, p. 65.
  10. ^ Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Acts 19, accessed 8 October 2015
  11. ^ Jubilee Bible 2000
  12. ^ American King James Version
  13. ^ Douai-Rheims Bible
  14. ^ Gill, J., Gill's Exposition of the Bible, commentary on Acts 19:23 accessed 8 October 2015
  15. ^ E. Peterson (1959), "Christianus." In: Frühkirche, Judentum und Gnosis, publisher: Herder, Freiburg, pp. 353–72
  16. ^ Elwell & Comfort 2001, pp. 266, 828.
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  18. ^ a b Mack 1995.
  19. ^ Ehrman 2012, p. 272.
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  21. ^ Powell, Mark Allan (1998). Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-664-25703-3.
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  23. ^ Dunn, James D. G. (2003). Jesus Remembered. p. 339. ISBN 978-0-8028-3931-2. States that baptism and crucifixion are "two facts in the life of Jesus command almost universal assent".
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  31. ^ Chilton, Bruce; Evans, Craig A. (1998). Studying the Historical Jesus: Evaluations of the State of Current Research. pp. 460–70. ISBN 978-9004111424.
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  33. ^ Graham Stanton, The Gospels and Jesus (2nd ed.), (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) p. xxiii
  34. ^ Ehrman (2012)
  35. ^ Stanton (2002), pp. 143ff.
  36. ^ Porter 1999.
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  44. ^ Bart Ehrman (1 April 2018), An Easter Reflection 2018
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  48. ^ The Gospel according to Matthew by Leon Morris ISBN 0-85111-338-9 p. 71
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  142. ^ White (2004), p. 127
  143. ^ Ehrman (2005), p. 187.
  144. ^ Coveney, John (2006). Food, Morals and Meaning: The Pleasure and Anxiety of Eating. Routledge. p. 74. ISBN 978-1134184484. For the early Christians, the agape signified the importance of fellowship. It was a ritual to celebrate the joy of eating, pleasure and company.
  145. ^ Burns, Jim (2012). Uncommon Youth Parties. Gospel Light Publications. p. 37. ISBN 978-0830762132. During the days of the Early Church, the believers would all gather together to share what was known as an agape feast, or "love feast." Those who could afford to bring food brought it to the feast and shared it with the other believers.
  146. ^ Walls, Jerry L.; Collins, Kenneth J. (2010). Roman but Not Catholic: What Remains at Stake 500 Years after the Reformation. Baker Academic. p. 169. ISBN 978-1493411740. So strong were the overtones of the Eucharist as a meal of fellowship that in its earliest practice it often took place in concert with the Agape feast. By the latter part of the first century, however, as Andrew McGowan points out, this conjoined communal banquet was separated into "a morning sacramental ritual [and a] prosaic communal supper."
  147. ^ Davies, Horton (1999). Bread of Life and Cup of Joy: Newer Ecumenical Perspectives on the Eucharist. Wipf & Stock Publishers. p. 18. ISBN 978-1579102098. Agape (love feast), which ultimately became separate from the Eucharist...
  148. ^ Daughrity, Dyron (2016). Roots: Uncovering Why We Do What We Do in Church. ACU Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-0891126010. Around AD 250 the lovefeast and Eucharist seem to separate, leaving the Eucharist to develop outside the context of a shared meal.
  149. ^ "agape", Dictionary of the Christian Church (article), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3
  150. ^ "Liturgy".
  151. ^ Davidson, p. 115
  152. ^ a b c Hitchcock, Geography of Religion (2004), p. 281
  153. ^ a b Bokenkotter, p. 18.
  154. ^ Franzen 29
  155. ^ "Greek Orthodoxy – From Apostolic Times to the Present Day".
  156. ^ Jaeger, Werner (1961). Early Christianity and Greek Paideia. Harvard University Press. pp. 6, 108–09. ISBN 978-0674220522. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  157. ^ Duffy, p. 3.
  158. ^ a b Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), p. 18
  159. ^ Dunn 2009, p. 302.
  160. ^ Dunn 2009, p. 308.
  161. ^ Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
  162. ^ Ronald Y.K. Fung as cited in John Piper; Wayne Grudem (2006). Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism. Crossway. p. 254. ISBN 978-1-4335-1918-5. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  163. ^ Despite its mention of bishops, there is no clear evidence in the New Testament that supports the concepts of dioceses and monepiscopacy, i.e. the rule that all the churches in a geographic area should be ruled by a single bishop. According to Ronald Y. K. Fung, scholars point to evidence that Christian communities such as Rome had many bishops, and that the concept of monepiscopacy was still emerging when Ignatius was urging his tri-partite structure on other churches.[162]
  164. ^ Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church ed. F. L. Cross (Oxford) entry on Paul
  165. ^ a b Mack 1997.
  166. ^ Mack 1997, p. 109.
  167. ^ Mack 1988, p. 98.
  168. ^ Hurtado 2005, pp. 156–57.
  169. ^ Hurtado 2005, p. 168.
  170. ^ a b c Cross & Livingstone 2005, pp. 1243–45.
  171. ^ Stendahl 1963.
  172. ^ Dunn 1982, p. n.49.
  173. ^ Finlan 2001, p. 2.
  174. ^ a b Bokenkotter 2004, pp. 19–21.
  175. ^ Hurtado 2005, pp. 162–165.
  176. ^ McGrath 2006, pp. 174–175.
  177. ^ Bokenkotter 2004, p. 19.
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  179. ^ a b McGrath 2006, pp. 174–75.
  180. ^ a b Hodges, Frederick M. (2001). "The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome: Male Genital Aesthetics and Their Relation to Lipodermos, Circumcision, Foreskin Restoration, and the Kynodesme" (PDF). Bulletin of the History of Medicine. Johns Hopkins University Press. 75 (Fall 2001): 375–405. doi:10.1353/bhm.2001.0119. PMID 11568485. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  181. ^ a b Rubin, Jody P. (July 1980). "Celsus' Decircumcision Operation: Medical and Historical Implications". Urology. Elsevier. 16 (1): 121–24. doi:10.1016/0090-4295(80)90354-4. PMID 6994325. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  182. ^ a b Fredriksen, Paula (2018). When Christians Were Jews: The First Generation. London: Yale University Press. pp. 10–11. ISBN 978-0-300-19051-9.
  183. ^ Kohler, Kaufmann; Hirsch, Emil G.; Jacobs, Joseph; Friedenwald, Aaron; Broydé, Isaac. "Circumcision: In Apocryphal and Rabbinical Literature". Jewish Encyclopedia. Kopelman Foundation. Retrieved 3 January 2020. Contact with Grecian life, especially at the games of the arena [which involved nudity], made this distinction obnoxious to the Hellenists, or antinationalists; and the consequence was their attempt to appear like the Greeks by epispasm ("making themselves foreskins"; I Macc. i. 15; Josephus, "Ant." xii. 5, § 1; Assumptio Mosis, viii.; I Cor. vii. 18; Tosef., Shab. xv. 9; Yeb. 72a, b; Yer. Peah i. 16b; Yeb. viii. 9a). All the more did the law-observing Jews defy the edict of Antiochus Epiphanes prohibiting circumcision (I Macc. i. 48, 60; ii. 46); and the Jewish women showed their loyalty to the Law, even at the risk of their lives, by themselves circumcising their sons.
  184. ^ Neusner, Jacob (1993). Approaches to Ancient Judaism, New Series: Religious and Theological Studies. Scholars Press. p. 149. Circumcised barbarians, along with any others who revealed the glans penis, were the butt of ribald humor. For Greek art portrays the foreskin, often drawn in meticulous detail, as an emblem of male beauty; and children with congenitally short foreskins were sometimes subjected to a treatment, known as epispasm, that was aimed at elongation.
  185. ^ McGrath 2006, pp. 174–76.
  186. ^ Cross & Livingstone 2005, pp. 1244–45.
  187. ^ Mack 1997, pp. 91–92.
  188. ^ Hurtado 2005, p. 131.
  189. ^ Charry 1999, pp. 35–36.
  190. ^ Acts 15
  191. ^ McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity (2002), p. 37
  192. ^ Keck (1988).
  193. ^ Pelikan (1975). p. 113.
  194. ^ Cross & Livingstone 2005, p. 1244.
  195. ^ Burkett 2002, p. 263.
  196. ^ a b Moss 2013, p. 129.
  197. ^ Croix 2006, pp. 105–52.
  198. ^ Croix 1963, pp. 105–52.
  199. ^ The traditional title is: The Divine Liturgy of James the Holy Apostle and Brother of the Lord; Ante-Nicene Fathers by Philip Schaff in the public domain
  200. ^ McDonald & Sanders, p. 72
  201. ^ "Swete's Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, p. 112". Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  202. ^ published by J. P. Audet in JTS 1950, v1, pp. 135–54, cited in The Council of Jamnia and the Old Testament Canon Archived February 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Robert C. Newman, 1983.
  203. ^ A dictionary of Jewish-Christian relations, Dr. Edward Kessler, Neil Wenborn, Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-521-82692-6, p. 316
  204. ^ Bart D. Ehrman (1997). The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. Oxford University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-19-508481-8. The New Testament contains twenty-seven books, written in Greek, by fifteen or sixteen different authors, who were addressing other Christian individuals or communities between the years 50 and 120 (see box 1.4). As we will see, it is difficult to know whether any of these books was written by Jesus' own disciples.
  205. ^ a b Durant, Will. Caesar and Christ. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1972
  206. ^ "Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope St. Clement I".
  207. ^ Magnesians 2, 6–7, 13, Trallians 2–3, Smyrnaeans 8–9
  208. ^ Draper, JA (2006), The Apostolic Fathers: the Didache, Expository Times, Vol. 117, No. 5, p. 178
  209. ^ Aaron Milavec, p. vii
  210. ^ As translated by Molly Whittaker, Jews and Christians: Graeco-Roman Views, (Cambridge University Press, 1984), p. 105.
  211. ^ Davidson, p. 146
  212. ^ Franzen, p. 25
  213. ^ Wylen (1995). p. 190.
  214. ^ Berard (2006). pp. 112–13.
  215. ^ Wright (1992). pp. 164–65.
  216. ^ Wylen (1995), p. 190.
  217. ^ Wright, pp. 164–65.
  218. ^ Wylen (1995). pp. 190–92.
  219. ^ Dunn (1999). pp. 33–34.
  220. ^ Boatwright (2004). p. 426.
  221. ^ Wylen, pp. 190–92.
  222. ^ Dunn, pp. 33–34.
  223. ^ a b Dauphin (1993). pp. 235, 240–42.
  224. ^ Tabor (1998).
  225. ^ Esler (2004), pp. 157–59.
  226. ^ Dunn 1991.
  227. ^ H.H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1976, ISBN 0-674-39731-2, p. 246
  228. ^ John P. Meier's A Marginal Jew, v. 1, ch. 11
  229. ^ H.H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1976, ISBN 0-674-39731-2, p. 251
  230. ^ Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Tiberius 36
  231. ^ "Rome".
  232. ^ a b c Barrett, p. 23
  233. ^ H.H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1976, ISBN 0-674-39731-2, The Crisis Under Gaius Caligula, pp. 254–56
  234. ^ Kane, 10
  235. ^ a b Williston Walker, A History of the Christian Church 1959, p. 26
  236. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: Judaizers see section titled: "The Incident at Antioch"
  237. ^ a b Walker, 27
  238. ^ Pauline Chronology: His Life and Missionary Work, from Catholic Resources by Felix Just, S.J.
  239. ^ Neill, 44–45
  240. ^ "Apostle Paul's Third Missionary Journey Map".
  241. ^ Wood, Roger, Jan Morris and Denis Wright. Persia. Universe Books, 1970, p. 35.
  242. ^ Herbermann, p. 737
  243. ^ "Fiscus Judaicus".
  244. ^ Latourette, 1941, vol. I, p. 103


Printed sources


  1. ^ Larry Hurtado (August 17, 2017 ), "Paul, the Pagans’ Apostle"
  2. ^ Sect of “The Way”, “The Nazarenes” & “Christians” : Names given to the Early Church
  3. ^ a b Shiffman, Lawrence H. (2018). "How Jewish Christians Became Christians". My Jewish Learning.
  4. ^ a b c "Christianity: Severance from Judaism". Jewish Virtual Library. AICE. 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  5. ^ Schochet, Rabbi Prof. Dr. Jacob Immanuel. "Moshiach ben Yossef". Tutorial. Archived from the original on 20 December 2002. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  6. ^ Blidstein, Prof. Dr. Gerald J. "Messiah in Rabbinic Thought". Messiah. Jewish Virtual Library and Encyclopaedia Judaica 2008 The Gale Group. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  7. ^ Telushkin, Joseph. "The Messiah". The Jewish Virtual Library Jewish Literacy. NY: William Morrow and Co., 1991. Reprinted by permission of the author. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  8. ^ Flusser, David. "Second Temple Period". Messiah. Encyclopaedia Judaica 2008 The Gale Group. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l E.P. Sanders, Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Jesus, Encyclopedia Britannica
  10. ^ a b c Larry Hurtado (December 4, 2018 ), "When Christians were Jews": Paula Fredriksen on "The First Generation"
  11. ^ a b c d Larry Hurtado (December 4, 2018), "When Christians were Jews": Paula Fredriksen on "The First Generation"
  12. ^ Larry Hurtado, The Origin of “Divine Christology”?
  13. ^ a b c Ehrman, Bart D. (February 14, 2013). "Incarnation Christology, Angels, and Paul". The Bart Ehrman Blog. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  14. ^ [Bart Ehrman (6 Feb. 2013), The Earliest Christology
  15. ^ a b c d Bart Ehrmann (June 4, 2016), Were Jesus’ Followers Crazy? Was He?
  16. ^ [Larry Hurtado (August 17, 2017 ), "Paul, the Pagans' Apostle"
  17. ^ Stephen Westerholm (2015), The New Perspective on Paul in Review, Direction, Spring 2015 · Vol. 44 No. 1 · pp. 4–15
  18. ^ E.P. Sanders, Saint Paul, the Apostle, Encyclopedia Britannica]
  19. ^ Jordan Cooper, E.P. Sanders and the New Perspective on Paul
  20. ^ Martin, D. 2010. "The "Afterlife" of the New Testament and Postmodern Interpretation Archived 2016-06-08 at the Wayback Machine (lecture transcript Archived 2016-08-12 at the Wayback Machine). Yale University.
  21. ^ "Persecution in the Early Church". Religion Facts. Retrieved 2014-03-26.

Further reading[edit]


  • Bockmuehl, Markus N.A. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Jesus. Cambridge University Press (2001). ISBN 0-521-79678-4.
  • Bourgel, Jonathan, From One Identity to Another: The Mother Church of Jerusalem Between the Two Jewish Revolts Against Rome (66–135/6 EC). Paris: Éditions du Cerf, collection Judaïsme ancien et Christianisme primitive, (French). ISBN 978-2-204-10068-7
  • Brown, Raymond E.: An Introduction to the New Testament (ISBN 0-385-24767-2)
  • Conzelmann, H. and Lindemann A., Interpreting the New Testament. An Introduction to the Principles and Methods of N.T. Exegesis, translated by S.S. Schatzmann, Hendrickson Publishers. Peabody 1988.
  • Dormeyer, Detlev. The New Testament among the Writings of Antiquity (English translation), Sheffield 1998
  • Dunn, James D.G. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul. Cambridge University Press (2003). ISBN 0-521-78694-0.
  • Dunn, James D.G. Unity and Diversity in the New Testament: An Inquiry into the Character of Earliest Christianity. SCM Press (2006). ISBN 0-334-02998-8.
  • Edwards, Mark (2009). Catholicity and Heresy in the Early Church. Ashgate. ISBN 978-0754662914.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Esler, Philip F. The Early Christian World. Routledge (2004). ISBN 0-415-33312-1.}
  • Fredriksen, Paula (2018), When Christians Were Jews: The First Generation, Yale University Press
  • Freedman, David Noel (Ed). Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing (2000). ISBN 0-8028-2400-5.
  • Mack, Burton L.: Who Wrote the New Testament?, Harper, 1996
  • Keck, Leander E. Paul and His Letters. Fortress Press (1988). ISBN 0-8006-2340-1.
  • Mills, Watson E. Acts and Pauline Writings. Mercer University Press (1997). ISBN 0-86554-512-X.
  • Malina, Bruce J.: Windows on the World of Jesus: Time Travel to Ancient Judea. Westminster John Knox Press: Louisville (Kentucky) 1993
  • Malina, Bruce J.: The New Testament World: Insights from Cultural Anthropology. 3rd edition, Westminster John Knox Press Louisville (Kentucky) 2001
  • Malina, Bruce J.: Social Science Commentary on the Gospel of John Augsburg Fortress Publishers: Minneapolis 1998
  • Malina, Bruce J.: Social-Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels Augsburg Fortress Publishers: Minneapolis 2003
  • McKechnie, Paul. The First Christian Centuries: Perspectives on the Early Church. Apollos (2001). ISBN 0-85111-479-2
  • Pelikan, Jaroslav Jan. The Christian Tradition: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100–600). University of Chicago Press (1975). ISBN 0-226-65371-4.
  • Stegemann, Ekkehard and Stegemann, Wolfgang: The Jesus Movement: A Social History of Its First Century. Augsburg Fortress Publishers: Minneapolis 1999
  • Stegemann, Wolfgang, The Gospel and the Poor. Fortress Press. Minneapolis 1984 ISBN 0-8006-1783-5
  • Tabor, James D. "Ancient Judaism: Nazarenes and Ebionites", The Jewish Roman World of Jesus. Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (1998).
  • Thiessen, Henry C. Introduction to the New Testament, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids 1976
  • White, L. Michael. From Jesus to Christianity. HarperCollins (2004). ISBN 0-06-052655-6.
  • Wilson, Barrie A. "How Jesus Became Christian". St. Martin's Press (2008). ISBN 978-0-679-31493-6.
  • Wright, N.T. The New Testament and the People of God. Fortress Press (1992). ISBN 0-8006-2681-8.
  • Zahn, Theodor, Introduction to the New Testament, English translation, Edinburgh, 1910.

Book series[edit]

  • Dunn, James D.G. (2005), Christianity in the Making Volume 1: Jesus Remembered, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
  • Dunn, James D.G. (2009), Christianity in the Making Volume 2: Beginning from Jerusalem, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
  • Dunn, James D.G. (2009), Christianity in the Making Volume 3: Neither Jew nor Greek, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing

External links[edit]