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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Nag Hammadi Writings

(4,844 words)

Author(s): Schenke Robinson, Gesine
In 1945, Egyptian peasants inadvertently made a major discovery near the Upper Egyptian town Nag Hammadi (formerly Chenoboskion). They unearthed a jar in a cave midway up the base of the Gebel el-Tarif, one of the cliffs along the Nile. The jar contained 13 ancient books (codices), 11 of them still in their leather bindings. Since the region is famous for the Christian monastic movement, and Pachomian monasteries are in the vicinity of Nag Hammadi, it was believed that the books where the librar…
Date: 2022-09-22

Name, Divine

(6,393 words)

Author(s): Gieschen, Charles A.
There are many titles for the God of Israel in the Old Testament, but only one personal name. His four-letter name,  יהוה  (hereafter YHWH), is found frequently (6,823 times), including in the primary confession, “Hear, O Israel, YHWH our God, YHWH is one” (Deut 6:4). The personal name YHWH is typically referred to as the divine name, the holy name, the name, or the tetragrammaton (“four-letter writing”); it is often transliterated in scholarly literature with vowels as Yahweh. The prominence of the divine name in th…
Date: 2022-09-22


(2,086 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, Robert A.
Narsai, known as “the Harp of the Holy Spirit,” is regarded as the foundational theologian and poet of the Syriac-speaking Church of the East, as it emerged following the Council of Ephesus (431 CE) and the Council of Chalcedon (451 CE).Narsai lived through the majority of the 5th century CE, dying circa 500 CE. Biographical information about Narsai is available for his early life, but large gaps have evaded investigation. Most details come from two historical works, both written by the bishop Barḥadbshabba (late 5th/early 6th cent. C…
Date: 2022-09-22

Nazarenes, Gospel of the

(2,828 words)

Author(s): Luomanen, Petri
The church fathers do not explicitly use the titles the Gospel of the Nazarenes or the Gospel of the Ebionites (Ebionites/Ebionitism), although they refer to gospels used by the Nazarenes and the Ebionites. However, Clement of Alexandria and several other church fathers knew about a gospel titled Gospel of the Hebrews/Gospel according to Hebrews (Clem. Strom. 2.9.45; Or. Comm. Jo. 2.12; Eus. Hist. eccl. 3.25.5; Epiph. Pan. 30.3.7; 30.13.2; 46.1; Didy. Comm. Ps. 3.184.9–10; Jer. Comm. Mich. 7.5–7; Vir. ill. 3; Comm. Isa. preface 65). The scholars who support the theory that the Gospel of…
Date: 2022-09-22

Nazarenes, Sect of

(2,423 words)

Author(s): Luomanen, Petri
In scholarly literature, the sect discussed in this entry is most often termed either Nazoreans or Nazarenes. Nazoreans is closer to the Greek form of the name in patristic sources, Ναζωραίοι. On the other hand, most English translations use the form Nazarene/Nazarenes when referring to Jesus’ byname derived from his hometown (Nazareth; Matt 2:23) and to the “sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5). Because the surviving literary sources link the name of the sect to Jesus’ hometown (see below), the form Nazarenes (reflecting the Latin Nazareus/Nazarei) is used here.A word of caution is …
Date: 2022-09-22


(2,261 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Joshua
The ancient village of Nazareth was located in a small valley in Lower Galilee surrounded by hills on all sides. It was set back from major roads in the vicinity and therefore somewhat secluded. The nearest city was Sepphoris, approximately eight km away. The soil of the Nazareth valley was fertile, the climate was good, and chalkstone provided building material for dwellings and cisterns. There were several springs and wells with the best-known one emerging some 150 m north of what would become Mary’s Well. The ancient village developed some 500 m southwest of that spring.Nazareth is not…
Date: 2022-09-22

Nemesius of Emesa

(1,936 words)

Author(s): Karamanolis, George
All we know about Nemesius (end of 4th cent. CE) comes from his sole extant treatise On the Nature of Man, dated in the last decade of the 4th century CE. The author, Nemesius, is presented as the bishop of Emesa in Syria, which is the only information given about him. Key to his dating is his references to the Christian authors Apollinarius of Laodicea and Eunomius of Cyzicus (fl. mid-4th cent. CE, d. c. 390–394 CE). Nemesius draws on Plato, Aristotle, Galen, Plotinus, Porphyry of Tyre, Iamblichus of Chalcis, and …
Date: 2022-09-22


(2,803 words)

Author(s): Lovell, Graham
The creation of the city of Neocaesarea near the southern coast of the Black Sea can be dated to the establishment of direct Roman rule in the region (64 CE); it was established as a Greco-Roman city in the inland region of Pontus as a beachhead for Roman authority in this region, a region that was considered to be culturally backward (Magie, 1950, 513–514, 561, 1417; Jones, 1971, 170). The people of this region shared Cappadocian culture, which included the worship of a female goddess of sex an…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,630 words)

Author(s): Zhyrkova, Anna
Neonicaeanism” (also “neo-Nicaean/neo-Nicene” and “pro-Nicaean/pro-Nicene” theology) is the name given to a theological/Trinitarian stance (Trinity) ascribed to the Cappadocian fathers as a consequence of 19th-century historico-theological discussions concerning the relationship of their Trinitarian teaching to the so-called “original” Nicene theology, identified by some acclaimed scholars with the Trinitarian teachings of Athanasius of Alexandria. Defined initially through this relationship, ra…
Date: 2022-09-22


(5,460 words)

Author(s): Finamore, John F.
The term “Neoplatonism” is a modern coinage. Neoplatonists would have called themselves simply “Platonists.” They saw themselves as faithful interpreters of Plato, bringing out his true doctrines which they thought were sometimes hidden from other philosophers and interpreters of Plato.In many ways Neoplatonism is a continuation of the Middle Platonism of the first two centuries CE. Middle Platonic authors (Plutarch, Philo of Alexandria, Apuleius, Numenius of Apamea, among others) also interpreted the texts of Plato, which they favor…
Date: 2022-09-22