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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(5,672 words)

Author(s): Henten, Jan Willem
The name Maccabees denotes two groups of Jewish heroes and a collection of books connected with the period during which these heroes were active. The first group concerns the family of the priest Mattathias and his five sons, who started the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175–164 BCE). Mattathias refused to offer a pagan sacrifice in his hometown Modein, which was the starting signal for the revolt (1 Macc 2:15–27). “Maccabee” ( Makkabaios in Greek) was originally the surname of Mattathias’ eldest son Judas (1 Macc 2:4), which proba…
Date: 2024-01-19

Macedonius (Vicarius Africae)

(1,174 words)

Author(s): Hoover, Jesse
Macedonius (fl. 413–414 CE) was vicarius Africae from at least 413 to 414 CE. Our only sources for his life come from a brief exchange of letters with Augustine of Hippo during this time period ( Ep. 152–155), two of which ( Ep. 152 and 154) were written by him, and a brief reference to this correspondence in Possidius’ Life of Augustine (20). The letters themselves are dated to 413/414 CE based on Macedonius’ discussion of the recently published first three books of City of God (Martindale, 1980, 697). Judging by his promise to reward Augustine for sending him these books by …
Date: 2024-01-19


(3,436 words)

Author(s): Kahlos, Maijastina
In Greco-Roman literature, the terms magoi and magi could refer to either the Persian priests or practitioners of magic, and occasionally to both (for the development of the term magoi/magi, see Bremmer, 1999, 1–9). Even the use of the terms magoi/magi was not unambiguously negative, but they could also be used in a neutral or even positive manner (Clem. Strom. 1.15).In general, “magic” and “magician” were labels imposed from outside; people did not usually apply the terms to themselves but rather used all the argumentation available to avoid the labe…
Date: 2024-01-19


(1,226 words)

Author(s): Nicak, Maros
The Hymn of Praise (Luke 1:46–55) represents one of the three cantica in the Gospel of Luke, and within the perspective of the church tradition it is considered as earliest Marian hymn. Magnificat sung by Mary, Benedictus spoken by Zechariah (Luke 1:68–79), and Nunc Dimittis by Simeon (Luke 2:29–32) are as extended poems closely linked to the Old Testament. They can be denoted in general as “declarative psalms of praise,” which depend on a Semitic, most probably Hebrew, original source. Sometimes, the Gloria in excelsis (Luke 2:14) is also added to these three cantica as a fourth hymn. …
Date: 2024-01-19


(1,500 words)

Author(s): Lupieri, Edmondo
How one evaluates the impact that Mandaeism had on the origins and early history of Christianity will depend on one’s opinion regarding the origins and early history of Mandaeism itself. In the first half of the 20th century, particularly between the two World Wars, the so-called Mandaic fever affected New Testament scholarship; many believed that Mandaeism was a pre-Christian, baptistic gnostic movement that influenced some formative stage of Christianity, particularly the Johannine com…
Date: 2024-01-19


(2,397 words)

Author(s): Pedersen, Nils Arne
Mani (216–277 CE), the founder of Manichaeism, a religion that is no longer practiced, claimed to receive divine revelations and composed several religious writings. The name “Manichaeism,” however, was rarely used by his followers, who preferred to refer to themselves (e.g.) as “the living generation.”HistoryMani was born in southern Mesopotamia. According to Manichaean hagiography, when he was a little boy, he and his father joined a religious group known as “baptists,” who baptized themselves and their vegetable food and cherished …
Date: 2024-01-19

Manumissio in ecclesia

(1,083 words)

Author(s): Harrill, J. Albert
Among Constantine’s broad legal and institutional reforms, manumissio in ecclesia (“manumission in the church”) named a new public act to release a person legally from slavery and into full Roman citizenship. The enfranchisement took the form of solemn rites performed by the owner in a church before the witnesses of its congregation and presided over by clergy (priests, the bishop; Priest/Presbyter; Bishop [Episcopos]), empowered like civil magistrates to become the legal guarantors.Antecedents Manumissio in ecclesia had several classical models. Religious temples, o…
Date: 2024-01-19


(3,249 words)

Author(s): Hannah, Darrell D.
Maranatha first occurs in Christian literature in an authentic letter by our earliest Christian author, the apostle Paul (1 Cor 16:22; Paul [Apostle]), and in the Didache. A related phrase occurs in Revelation (22:20). Maranatha is undoubtedly the Aramaic phrase, written in Greek letters, for “Our Lord, come” (in the imperative) or “Our Lord has come” (in the perfect tense). The matter is complicated in that uncertainties remain over the pronunciation of the Aramaic term; the imperative might be represented by either  מָרַן אֱתָא or תָא מָרַנָא. While the perfect is מָרַן אֲתָא, any…
Date: 2024-01-19


(2,791 words)

Author(s): Kleinkopf, Kathryn
Marcella (325–410 CE) was born in Rome to Albina and an unnamed father, a descendant of a long line of consuls and praetorian prefects (Jer. Ep. 127.1). Marcella lost her father at an early age and was quickly married thereafter. Losing men in her young life continued, as after only seven months of marriage Marcella’s husband died, leaving her widowed ( Ep. 127.2). As was custom, Albina encouraged her daughter to remarry, not only on account of her youth but also to secure her livelihood ( Ep. 127.2). Cerealis, an older man of consular rank, thus attempted to court Marcella, pro…
Date: 2024-01-19


(1,818 words)

Author(s): Litwa, M. David
*(This article adapts parts of the author’s profile of Carpocrates [Litwa, 2022, 224–228])Marcellina is the only known female leader of a Christian movement in 2nd-century CE Rome. She is known primarily through two early and independent witnesses, namely Celsus (in Or. Cels. 5.61–63) and Irenaeus of Lyon ( Haer. 1.25.1–6). All other reports are derivative.According to Irenaeus ( Haer. 1.25.6) Marcellina was a Carpocratian who came to Rome in the time of the Christian leader Anicetus (155–166 CE). She attracted “many” (Lat. multos) people to join her movement. Celsus called …
Date: 2024-01-19

Marcellus of Ancyra

(5,877 words)

Author(s): Fernández, Samuel
The first piece of historical information about Marcellus of Ancyra (d. 374 CE) is his presence as a young bishop in the Synod of Ancyra of Galatia, 314 CE (Turner, 1907, 32, 50–51). Possibly, he chaired the synod (Councils/Synods), even though he does not appear as such in the extant documents (Hanson, 1988, 217; Parvis, 2001). When the so-called “Arian” crisis began, the bishop of Ancyra took sides against Arius and his fellows (Arianism). In 325 CE, a few months before Nicaea, the bi…
Date: 2024-01-19
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