Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

Get access Subject: Biblical Studies and Early Christianity
General Editors: David G. HUNTER, University of Kentucky, United States, Paul J.J. van GEEST, Tilburg University, Netherlands, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity focuses on the history of early Christian texts, authors, ideas. Its content is intended to bridge the gap between the fields of New Testament studies and patristics, covering the whole period of early Christianity up to 600 CE. The BEEC aims to provide a critical review of the methods used in Early Christian Studies and to update the historiography.

More information: Brill.com

Aba (Mar)

(1,264 words)

Author(s): van Rompay, Lucas
That Ephrem the Syrian (d. 373 CE) had a disciple by the name of Aba (c. 400 CE) is attested in the Syriac text known as the “Testament of Ephrem” (Beck, 1973). “Aba, man of wonder ( gabrā d-tedmurtā)” is listed as the first among seven disciples (Beck, 1973, 56, l. 441), and one manuscript of the Testament (British Library Add. 14.582), dated 816 CE, calls him “the head ( rēshā) of all my disciples.” The author of the Testament (only part of which may go back to Ephrem himself) must have in mind the same Aba to whom Syriac literary works of theological and exeget…
Date: 2019-08-09

Abbreviations in Journals and Series

(4,364 words)

AAA Archaiologika Analecta ex Athenon AAAHP Acta ad archaeologiam et artium historiam pertinentia AaAT Astronomical and Astrophysical Transactions AAM Advances in Applied Mathematics AANL Atti della Accademia Nazionale die Lincei AANL.M – Memorie: Classe di Scienze Morali, Storiche e Filologiche. AAST Atti dell’(a R.)Accademia delle Scienze di Torino ABR Australian Biblical Review AbrN Abr-Nahrain AbSa Abba Salama AcCL Acta Classica AcHi Acta Histriae Acme  Acme  AcOr Acta orientalia ACQR American Catholic Quarterly Review ACUSD Acta Classica Universitatis Scientiarum…
Date: 2019-08-09

Abbreviations in Lexicons.

(6,198 words)

AAA Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology AAAbo Acta Academiae Aboensis, Åbo AAAbo.H – Series A: Humaniora AARAS American Academy of Religion Academy Series AARTTS American Academy of Religion Texts and Translations Series AASF Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae AASF.B – Series B AASS Acta sanctorum quotquot toto orbe coluntur AB The Anchor Bible ABAW Abhandlungen der (Königlich-)Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften ABAW.PH – Philosophisch-historische Abteilung ABAW.PPH – Philosophisch-philologische und historische Klasse ABD The Anchor Bible Dictionary ABG Arb…
Date: 2019-08-09

Abbreviations in Primary Sources

(10,814 words)

1 Apoc. Jas. (First) Apocalypse of James 1 Clem. 1 Clement 1 En. 1 Enoch (Ethiopic Apocalypse) 1 Macc 1 Maccabees 1–2 Esd 1–2 Esdras 1-2 Kgdms 1-2 Kingdoms (LXX) 2 Apoc. Jas. (Second) Apocalypse of James 2 Bar. 2 Baruch (Syriac Apocalypse) 2 Clem. 2 Clement 2 En. 2 Enoch (Slavonic Apocalypse) 2 Macc 2 Maccabees 3 Bar. 3 Baruch (Greek Apocalypse) 3 Cor. 3 Corinthians 3 En. 3 Enoch (Hebrew Apocalypse) 3 John 3 John 3 Macc 3 Maccabees 3–4 Kgdms  3–4 Kingdoms (LXX) 4 Ezra 4 Ezra (also Apocalypse of Ezra) 4 Macc 4 Maccabees AcCr Acta Crispinae AcGa Acta Gallonii Act. Just. Acta Justini Acts Andr. Acts of And…
Date: 2019-08-09

Abdon and Sennen

(1,453 words)

Author(s): di Berardino, Angelo
Abdon and Sennen are among the first martyrs who came to be venerated by the Roman church. The most ancient information we have regarding the devotion to them comes from the Depositio martyrum of around 336 CE, included in the Chronograph of 354 CE by Philocalus. On Jul 29 it contains the following notices: III kal. Aug. Abdos et Semnes in Pontiani, quod est ad ursum piliatum ( MGH Chronica Minora, vol. I, 1892, 71). The notice of the Depositio was taken up by the Martyrologium Hieronymianum for Jul 30. They were known and venerated, since their names are also found in the Marble Calendar of Naples
Date: 2019-08-09

Abelites

(1,032 words)

Author(s): Georges, Tobias
The group depicted as a “heresy” is only known from two short accounts, that is, from Aug. Haer. 87 (in epilogue 2 of De haeresibus, Augustine of Hippo also mentioned them briefly), and the so-called Praedestinatus (1.87) whose authorship is not entirely certain. The latter extensively reproduced the former, often even following its wording exactly, which means that our information about this sect is reduced almost completely to a single short source.According to Augustine’s account (and its different versions in the manuscripts), the adherents of that group were c…
Date: 2019-08-09

Abercius

(1,603 words)

Author(s): Ramelli, Ilaria L.E.
The Abercius Inscription ( SEG, vol. XXX, no. 1479; Lüdtke & Nissen, 1910; Wischmeyer, 1980) is a 22-line funerary epigram of Abercius of Hieropolis, Phrygia, from about 170–180 CE. It can be reconstructed partially epigraphically (through two marble fragments found by W.M. Ramsay, now at the Museo Pio Cristiano, Vatican, and a stele from 216 CE that was inspired by the Abercius epigram and provides a terminus ante quem), and partially on a literary basis (from the later Vita Abercii, which reproduces the epitaph at the end).A Christian reading of this inscription is prevalent, a…
Date: 2019-08-09

Abgarids

(3,069 words)

Author(s): Ramelli, Ilaria L.E.
The Abgarids were a Nabatean dynasty who reigned between 134 and 242 CE over the city of Edessa and the northern Mesopotamian region of Osrhoene, first a buffer state between Rome and the Parthians and later a vassal state of Rome (Ramelli, 1999). Recent research (see Ramelli, 2004) has demonstrated that the Abgarid monarchy endured in Edessa still for some decades after Caracalla, contrary to what was assumed earlier on the basis of the Chronicle of Pseudo-Dionysius of Tell-Maḥre or Chronicle of Zuqnîn. This fixed the end of the Abgarids’ reign to 220/221 CE, because Pseudo-…
Date: 2019-08-09

Abortion

(6,032 words)

Author(s): Arner, Robert
In the midst of a broadly permissive Roman Empire (Rome), the early Christians consistently condemned abortion in no uncertain terms. Rooted in the theological values of Judaism, which saw the fetus as an object of God’s care, ancient church writers viewed abortion as homicide and proscribed it along with infanticide. Abortion was chiefly seen as an issue of violence and was condemned as part of an overall ethic that opposed Christian participation in human bloodshed of any form.Greek and Roman AttitudesEarly Christian attitudes toward abortion must be understood against th…
Date: 2019-08-09

Abraham of Pbou

(1,530 words)

Author(s): Goehring, James E.
Abraham of Pbou (or Pbow) served as the last Coptic Orthodox abbot of the Pachomian monastic federation. His tenure during the 6th-century CE reign of Justinian I (527–565 CE) was marked by sharp divisions within the federation over the Council of Chalcedon, political intrigue undertaken by the pro-Chalcedonian elements within it to remove him, and the resulting loss of the Pachomian movement to Coptic Orthodoxy. Forced out of the federation, Abraham returned to his native Farshut, where he esta…
Date: 2019-08-09

Abraham, Testament of

(1,792 words)

Author(s): Roddy, Nicolae
By most accounts, the Testament of Abraham is an originally Alexandrian Jewish text, composed in Greek sometime around the turn of the Common Era. An engaging narrative, the Testament of Abraham recounts the final days of the patriarch’s long, righteous, and hospitable life but defies the testamentary genre with its uncharacteristic humor, irony, and lack of a testament. In the longer, more coherent version (see the recension issue below), God sends his archangel Michael to remind Abraham of his mortality so that he might se…
Date: 2019-08-09

Abrasax

(2,830 words)

Author(s): Fallica, Maria
Abrasax (Gk Ἀβρασάξ; the Latin fathers spell it Abraxas, probably due to confusion between σ, sigma, and ξ, xi) is a term that appears in a large and unequal quantity of material: the heresiologists’ works, three texts from the Nag Hammadi library, the Greek magical papyri ( Papyri  Graecae magicae), magical gems, and tabellae. The links among these various sources are widely debated and not yet clarified. The problem of this term and the figure to whom it is connected intertwines with the problem of the status and the interconnections between Gno…
Date: 2019-08-09

Acacian Schism

(1,916 words)

Author(s): Viezure, Dana Iuliana
The Acacian schism is a late antique split between Rome and the eastern patriarchates over issues of Christological orthodoxy. The schism, which lasted from 484 to 518 CE, takes its name from Acacius, the patriarch of Constantinople from 471 to 489 CE and one of the main ecclesiastical actors of this period. The primary point of contention was the status of the Council of Chalcedon (451 CE), which had approved the definition of Christ as being “in two natures.” Additionally, the schism was deepe…
Date: 2019-08-09

Acacius of Constantinople

(2,804 words)

Author(s): Winkler, Dietmar W.
Acacius (d. 489 CE) was patriarch of Constantinople from 471 CE until 489 CE. Previously a presbyter and head of an orphanage ( orphanotrophos), his competence caught the attention of Emperor Leo I. After the death of Patriarch Gennadius in 471 CE, Acacius was selected bishop of Constantinople and soon got involved in the post-Chalcedonian struggles. The politically able bishop endured three changes of government, tried to restore unity among the eastern patriarchates, and caused the first great schism between eastern and western Christianity, which lasted 35 years.On the one h…
Date: 2019-08-09

Acheiropoietai

(3,176 words)

Author(s): Ramelli, Ilaria L.E.
Acheiropoietai (ἀχειροποίηται/ akheiropoiētai) are images “not made by (human) hand,” a category first attested in the 6th century CE. The term, however, is more ancient: it was used by Paul in 2 Cor 5:1 in reference to Christ’s risen body, and shortly afterward it appears again in Mark 14:58 and Col 2:11. Thus, acheiropoietai are especially images that are considered to be direct impressions of Christ’s face: the Mandylion of Edessa; the Veronica of Rome; the Camuliana image, which Heraclius and …
Date: 2019-08-09

Acolyte

(1,140 words)

Author(s): di Berardino, Angelo
Acolyte (Gk akòlouthos) indicates “he who follows,” and in the Latin  sequens is found in the Liber pontificalis. In Latin there are orthographical variations: acolythus, acoluthus, acoluthos, acolytus, acolitus. We find it for the first time in a letter by the bishop of Rome, Cornelius, to Fabius of Antioch (Eus. Hist. eccl. 6.43.11). Cornelius wrote that at Rome there were 42 acolytes, a significant group. The order of acolyte ( akolytatus) is a minor ministry, or order, that already had a history. The institution of it took place somewhat earlier, according to the Liber pontificalis, …
Date: 2019-08-09

Acts, Book of

(6,658 words)

Author(s): Marguerat, Daniel
The book of Acts is unique of its type in the New Testament: neither gospel, nor letter, nor prophetic writing, it describes the first expansion of Christianity after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Writing an apostles' story after that of Jesus is a unique act in Christian antiquity: no one did it before Luke, and no one was to repeat it after him.Luke’s Second VolumeThe Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts form a literary unit with two components whose literary and theological homogeneity is evidenced. A Sequel to the GospelInternal data attest to the literary homogeneity of Luke…
Date: 2019-08-09

Adam

(3,721 words)

Author(s): Dunn, James D.G.
Adam does not feature often in the biblical texts, but the references and allusions to him indicate a figure who provided an explanation of human character and destiny. Paul’s  Adam theology and its influence thereafter indicate how important the figure of Adam was in early Christian theology.Adam in GenesisThe most famous passage is Gen 1–3, in which several features become fundamental to future Adam references – first, the use of the term adam. Adam is widely used throughout the Hebrew scriptures in the sense “humankind, human being” (BDB, adam 2). The same is true in Gen 1–2, where adam is…
Date: 2019-08-09
▲   Back to top   ▲