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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Jacob of Serugh

(2,213 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, Robert A.
Jacob of Serugh (c. 451–521 CE) was a Syriac metrical homilist, ordained bishop in the city of Batnan in Serugh, his native region of northeast Syria, for the last two years of his life. He had been a periodeutes, an itinerant rural bishop, for most of his career. According to several hagiographical biographies (Hagiography; Biography), he composed 763 metrical homilies (Sermon/Homiletics), of which approximately 400 are extant today, but only about 100 of which have been translated into a modern language. He wrote in 12-syllable me…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,952 words)

Author(s): Jefferson, Lee M.
In the New Testament, Jairus appears in the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke) in the context of Jesus (Christ, Jesus, 01: Survey) performing a miracle. Jairus is introduced as a synagogue leader who approaches Jesus in need of aid, claiming that his daughter is near death and requires some type of healing remedy. In the text, the focus is on the miracle that Jesus procures, pulling Jairus’ daughter back from death to life again. In early Christian art, the emphasis is similarly not on Jairu…
Date: 2022-09-22

James, Epistle of

(5,892 words)

Author(s): Batten, Alicia J.
The Epistle of James consists of an intriguing combination of wisdom instruction, eschatological warning, and community exhortation. The letter counsels its audience on the importance of endurance and testing (e.g. Jas 1:3), careful control of speech and the tongue (e.g. Jas 3:1–12), and the importance of not showing partiality to the rich at the expense of the poor (e.g. Jas 2:1–12). Faithfulness to and reliance upon God are central to the letter (e.g. Jas 4:4–10; Jas 4:13–17), while the topic of …
Date: 2022-09-22

James, Secret Book of

(1,547 words)

Author(s): Bonar, Chance E.
The Secret Book of James (NHC I, 2) is the second text in NHC I, likely written in the late 2nd century CE and preserved in a single 4th-century CE manuscript. The text presents itself as an epistle from James to a recipient whose name is lost who had requested that James narrate the revelation given to him and Peter before Jesus’ ascent to heaven.  The Secret Book of James is an understudied but significant early Christian text that is valuable for scholarship on early Christian revelation dialogues, conceptions of apostolic authority, early Christian book cultu…
Date: 2022-09-22

James the Great

(2,655 words)

Author(s): Meiser, Martin
James, Son of Zebedee (d. 43 CE), was one of the three most intimate disciples of Jesus (along with Peter and his brother John) among the twelve apostles (Apostle/Disciple). Zebedee, his father, was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, probably living in or near Capernaum. Zebedee had some hired men, so his family was not as poor as the family of Peter and Andrew. The name James is well known. In the Old Testament the son of Isaac is the only one who bears this name (see Gen 25:26). After the 2nd century BCE, the name is used more often: within the list of the translators’ names in Let. Aris. 47–50, “Jame…
Date: 2022-09-22

James the Less

(4,052 words)

Author(s): Meiser, Martin
A scholarly article on the reception history of James the Less must include patristic reflections on his identity and on the authorship of the Epistle of James as well as reports on his way of life and his martyrdom.Debates About IdentityEarly Christian debates about the identities of those called “James” were the consequence of puzzling personal references within the New Testament, overshadowed by the problem of Mary’s virginity; within this debate only James the son of Zebedee stands apart. New Testament FindingsThe New Testament contains divergent references concerning th…
Date: 2022-09-22


(5,590 words)

Author(s): Beshay, Michael
Jerome (c. 340–419 CE) was born at Stridon, a Dalmatian fortress somewhere on the border between Dalmatia and Pannonia, destroyed by the Goths circa 379 CE. He was raised in a Christian household consisting of his father (Eusebius), mother (unnamed), grandmother (unnamed), and maternal aunt (Castorina). His father’s Greek name may be evidence of immigration from the Greek-speaking eastern Mediterranean, possibly as part of the wave of immigrants into Dalmatia during the 2nd century CE. Jerome ha…
Date: 2022-09-22


(6,315 words)

Author(s): Wardle, Timothy
In political terms, Jerusalem did not become a “Christian” city until the early 4th century CE. Constantine I’s conversion to Christianity left an indelible imprint on the Roman Empire, and nowhere was the transformation more evident than in Jerusalem. Byzantine Jerusalem’s magnificent churches and rich liturgy led to a surge in Christian pilgrims desirous of visiting the sites where Jesus was understood to have taught, healed, died, and rose to life. For Christians, Jerusalem was holy because o…
Date: 2022-09-22