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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(3,225 words)

Author(s): Somov, Alexey
Hades (ᾅδης/ hádēs) is a traditional Greek term for the underworld as the abode of the dead. In the Septuagint this term corresponds to Hebrew שְׁאוֹל/ ĕôl, the most commonly used name for the realm of the dead in the Old Testament. This biblical concept of Hades/Sheol as the abode of the dead originated in the beliefs in the afterlife current in ancient Israel. Later, it was developed further in early Jewish religion and in early Christian beliefs and literature. This article mostly deals with these early Israelite,…
Date: 2020-04-14


(4,158 words)

Author(s): Tomson, Peter J.
The word halakhah means “law” and is used in rabbinic literature to denote the law or custom accepted in Jewish practice and formulated in rabbinic tradition, in the sense of both an individual law and of the prevailing law. The concept is relevant to early Christianity insofar as it evidences elements of Jewish law.VocabularyAccording to a popular etymology, the phrase halakhah derives from the Hebrew verb halakh, “to go,” and means “the walk in which one goes.” More probably, however, it derives, along with its Aramaic equivalent hilkheta, from Akkadian alaktu, “course, sign, decre…
Date: 2020-04-14


(1,586 words)

Author(s): Bergermann, Marc
Helvidius was a Christian writer in late 4th-century CE Rome (see Jer. Helv. 1); his status as layman or priest is uncertain. He was possibly a disciple of the Arian bishop Auxentius of Milan (see Gennad. Vir. ill. 32). Around 380 CE he opposed the concept of an ascetic known as Craterius (see Helv. 16; alternative spellings: Carterius/Cartherius/Canterius), who claimed that Mary remained a virgin even after the birth of Christ ( virginitas post partum). Helvidius rejected this concept of Mary’s perpetual virginity and argued in favor of the equal status of both marri…
Date: 2020-04-14

Hermas, Shepherd of

(4,385 words)

Author(s): Grundeken, Mark R.C.
In the Shepherd of Hermas, the author who calls himself Hermas offers a lengthy and detailed description of his visionary experiences and the dialogues he has with his revelatory agents of which the Shepherd is the most prominent one. The work consists of three parts: 5 Visions, 12 Mandates, and 10 Similitudes. Much about Hermas remains puzzling (see also Grundeken, 2015).Manuscripts and Modern Critical EditionsA first problem relates to the manuscript evidence (for an overview, see Leutzsch, 1998, 117–121). All witnesses to the Greek text are partial or fra…
Date: 2020-04-14


(1,955 words)

Author(s): Mawdsley, Harry
Hermenegild (d. 585 CE) was a Visigothic prince born sometime during the mid-6th century CE. He was the son of King Leovigild (r. 568–586 CE) of the Visigoths (Goths) and his unnamed first wife, and the elder brother of King Reccared I (r. 586–601 CE). Nothing is known of Hermenegild’s childhood or education. The first datable event of his life occurred in 573 CE, when he and his brother were made co-regents with their father (Joh. Bicl. Chron. a.573.5). Neither Hermenegild nor Reccared was given any territorial responsibilities at this stage, but they may have participa…
Date: 2020-04-14


(1,834 words)

Author(s): Eckhardt, Benedikt
Herod “the Great” (the title is used by Flavius Josephus in Ant. 18.130 to distinguish him from his offspring) was born in Idumea, possibly Maresha, around 73 BCE as the son of the Idumean Antipater and his Nabatean wife Kypros (Shatzman, 2013). Due to their father’s high position in the court of Hyrcanus II, Herod and his older brother Phasael held leading administrative roles early on. As governor of Galilee (Palestine), his rigid actions against “bandits” led to legal complaints and a trial before the c…
Date: 2020-04-14