Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

Get access Subject: Biblical Studies And Early Christianity
General Editors: David G. Hunter, Boston College, United States, Paul J.J. van Geest, Tilburg University, Netherlands, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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 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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(3,235 words)

Author(s): van Geest, Paul
Faithfulness is a notion as comprehensive as it is layered. Indeed, the term refers to an attribute ascribed to God and to a virtue set as a standard for humanity in Scripture and early Christian tradition, and which is also described as an experienced line of conduct in the relationship with humans and God. Etymologically related to “faith” (Lat. fides; Gk pistis), “faithfulness” as a divine and human attribute expresses unconditional and continuing loyalty to a person, cause, or community. This loyalty remains regardless of circumstances or developments…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,663 words)

Author(s): Yates, Benedict
The liturgical fan ( flabellum in the West; ῥιπίδιον in the East) is a liturgical ornament in use since at least the 4th century CE consisting of a disk of wood or metal attached to a handle, usually long enough to be held with two hands with the disk above the heads of the clergy. The disk is usually decorated with an image of a seraph (Angel) and has scalloped or feather like decoration around its rim. They are generally placed behind the altar when not being carried by deacons in liturgical use.Current scholarship on the liturgical fan is limited, largely due to lack of evidence. It…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,406 words)

Author(s): Canellis, Aline
Faustinus’ life is not well known. The little information about him – and Marcellinus whom he is related to – come from Faustinus’ work itself, especially the Libellus Precum. Only Gennadius of Marseille ( Vir. ill. 16) and Isidore of Seville ( Vir. ill. 5.6–7; 14.16), who knew his works, spoke of them. Both priests, Faustinus and Marcellinus, were considered “Luciferians” (Faust. Libel. 84; 86; Luciferians) by the bishop of the Church of Rome, Damasus I (366–d. Dec 11, 384 CE), that is, supporters of the “schismatic” (Schism/Schismatics) Lucifer, bishop …
Date: 2022-09-22

Faustus of Riez

(2,917 words)

Author(s): Djuth, Marianne
A 5th-century CE monk, bishop, and theologian known especially for the eloquence of his writing and preaching, austerity, and compassion for human suffering. Faustus’ date of birth is unknown, although it is assumed that he was probably born around 403–404 CE. His birthplace is also difficult to determine. Avitus, bishop of Vienne, refers to him as Brito (Avit.  Ep. 4). Faustus’ friend, Sidonius Apollinaris, identifies him as a Briton or Breton (Sid.  Ep. 9.9.6). Though Brito is unclear, it is generally taken to mean Britain. Prior to entering the monastery of Léri…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,815 words)

Author(s): Hunink, Vincent
Felicity (Felicitas; c. 181–203 CE) was a young martyr (Martyrs) of the early North African church. She died in Carthage on Mar 7, 203 CE, along with a group of other young Christians, the most famous of whom was Perpetua. Felicity’s memory was recorded in the Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis ( Passion of Perpetua and Felicity), one of the earliest Christian texts written in Latin (see Amat, 1996; Heffernan, 2012).Name and LifeThe name Felicitas was fairly common in Roman Africa, both for freeborn women and for slaves (see Bremmer, 2012, 36). In later times, Christ…
Date: 2022-09-22

Festal Letters

(2,945 words)

Author(s): Loon, Hans van
A festal letter is a letter sent out by a bishop of Alexandria in pre-modern times to inform others of the date of Easter. It usually includes one or more sections of a pastoral, moral, and/or a dogmatic nature. Festal letters have been attested from the end of the 2nd to the 15th century, but most extant letters were written by three bishops in the 4th and 5th centuries CE: Athanasius, Theophilus, and Cyril. The letters became an important means of communication by which the bishops of Alexandria informed and taught the faithful in the diocese of Egypt.Definition and NameIn literature, the d…
Date: 2022-09-22


(802 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Joshua
Porcius Festus is mentioned only in the writings of Flavius Josephus and the Acts of the Apostles (Acts, Book of). According to available material, he succeeded Marcus Antonius Felix, who had been recalled to Rome by Nero, as procurator of Judaea. When exactly this took place, however, has been a subject of dispute. Josephus and the Acts of the Apostles both agree that Festus followed Felix as procurator of Judaea (Jos. Ant. 20.182; Acts 24:27). It is also certain that the term of Festus was approximately two years, and terminated upon his death and the appointment …
Date: 2022-09-22