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15. The Anachronism of "Early Christian Communities"

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1. Title Title of document 15. The Anachronism of "Early Christian Communities" - Theorizing Religion in Antiquity
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Sarah Rollens; Canada
3. Subject Discipline(s) Religious Studies; Ancient History
4. Subject Keyword(s) religion in antiquity; ancient religion; ancient history; classics
5. Subject Subject classification ancient religion
6. Description Abstract It has long been common to speak of “early Christian communities”, and especially to assume that particular communities were associated with texts with supposed unique theological ideas (e.g., “Matthew’s community” or “the Roman Christian community”). Stanley Stowers has shown that many scholarly portraits of these communities rely on idealizations from the Book of Acts and Eusebius’ writings. This essay argues, in a similar vein, that presumptions of “early Christian communities” are anachronistic, because they depend on—indeed embody modern understandings of religious identity: in particular, that religion is a private, interior matter that is shared among a wider “community” of believers who all orient their collective identity around these beliefs. These features of identity should not be taken for granted in non-modern contexts, and there are more nuanced ways to understand the group identity generated by many proto- Christian texts.
7. Publisher Organizing agency, location Equinox Publishing Ltd
8. Contributor Sponsor(s)
9. Date (YYYY-MM-DD) 13-May-2019
10. Type Status & genre Peer-reviewed Article
11. Type Type
12. Format File format PDF
13. Identifier Uniform Resource Identifier
14. Identifier Digital Object Identifier 10.1558/equinox.27975
15. Source Journal/conference title; vol., no. (year) Equinox eBooks Publishing; Theorizing Religion in Antiquity
16. Language English=en en
18. Coverage Geo-spatial location, chronological period, research sample (gender, age, etc.) worldwide,
6th century BCE to 4th century CE
19. Rights Copyright and permissions Copyright 2014 Equinox Publishing Ltd