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.

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Early Christian Churches of the Holy Land

(4,405 words)

Author(s): Patrich, Joseph
The emperor Constantine, encouraged by his mother, Helena, was the first to erect churches in the Holy Land. Earlier Christians did not have a prayer house with distinctive architectural features. Their place of assembly was a domus ecclesiae – a domestic building that was adjusted to serve the religious, administrative, and charitable needs of the congregation. The best known is the Christian community house ( domus ecclesiae), uncovered in the early 20th century in Dura-Europos – a small town of a Hellenized community on the Euphrates, in Syria. But recently…
Date: 2020-04-14


(1,550 words)

Author(s): Häkkinen, Sakari
Many of the church fathers refer to a group called Ebionites (Gk ’Εβιωναῖοι/ ebiōnaioi; Lat. ebionaei, ebionitae, hebionitae). The designation appears to have first been used of a sectarian movement by Irenaeus of Lyon ( Haer. 1.26.2) circa 180 CE, as part of a refutation of heresies starting from Simon Magus and culminating with Valentinus. Irenaeus, and several church fathers following him, describe the Ebionites as Christians who observe Jewish customs and, for the most part, reject the virgin birth of Jesus, holding him only as a human being.One of the problems with the researc…
Date: 2020-04-14


(4,001 words)

Author(s): Ramelli, Ilaria L.E.
Edessa (ancient Urha/Orhay, modern Urfa/Şanl[i]urfa) is a city close to the River Balikh, a branch of the upper Euphrates. Its most ancient name was Adma, recorded in Assyrian sources in the 7th century BCE. In Hellenistic times, it was named Edessa, after the ancient capital of Macedonia, by Selucus I Nikator in 304 BCE. Under the Roman Empire, Edessa was the capital of Osrhoene, a buffer state between the Romans and the Parthians and, later, the Persian Empire (e.g. Ross, 2001; Edwell, 2008; W…
Date: 2020-04-14

Edict of Claudius

(3,689 words)

Author(s): Keener, Craig
Suetonius reports that Claudius expelled Jews from Rome because of regular disturbances instigated by one “Chrestus” (Suet. Cl. 25.4). Luke, writing earlier, appears to confirm that Claudius expelled Jews from Rome, although he omits the cause (Acts 18:2).Suetonius’ brief report, though somewhat more complete than Luke’s, raises a number of questions. How many, and which, Jews did Claudius expel? In what year did the expulsion occur? Who was this instigator known as Chrestus and what were the controversies surrounding him? (For ful…
Date: 2020-04-14

Egyptians, Gospel of the (Greek)

(4,930 words)

Author(s): Doran, Robert
Sayings from the Gospel of the Egyptians are quoted explicitly by Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–c. 215 CE). The quotations from the Greek Gospel of the Egyptians all occur within book 3 of Clement’s Stromateis, in which Clement speaks of marriage and sexuality. He debates those Christians who abstained from sexual intercourse even if married, as they rejected both it and procreation. These Encratites, as they were called from the term ἐγκράτεια/ ’egkrateia (self-control), supported their position by reference to the Gospel of the Egyptians, and Clement sets out to show how they…
Date: 2020-04-14