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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Pachomius of Tabennese

(4,309 words)

Author(s): Timbie, Janet
Often regarded as the founder of cenobitic monasticism, Pachomius of Tabennese (d. 347 CE) has been a difficult subject for historians and for others interested in early Christian ascetic practice. What were his contributions to organized asceticism in Egypt? Did he invent rule-based communal monasticism in Egypt? Antony the Great appears to be a simpler problem because the Life of Antony clearly expresses the views of Athanasius of Alexandria and only a small collection of Antony’s letters survives, which provide limited information and few biographical …
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,666 words)

Author(s): Ferreiro, Alberto
Pacian of Barcelona ( Barcino) was born (4th. cent. CE) and lived in a city that positioned him to be knowledgeable of the developments in the church of the greater Mediterranean. His renown was such that even the far removed (relative to Hispania) Jerome dedicated an entry to him in his famous De viris illustribus (ch. 106), and a second reference in chapter 132. This in light of the fact that Jerome had literally dozens of potential candidates to pick from for his work on prominent men. What is significant is that this brief notice is the only su…
Date: 2022-09-22


(3,794 words)

Author(s): Kahlos, Maijastina
The concept of “pagans” was developed and used by ancient Christian writers to refer to their religious others. Pagans is a concept that only exists in relation to, and in most cases in contrast with, the concept of “Christians.” Christian authors made ample use of the term “pagans,” harnessing it to the project of constructing Christianity. Pagans were used to define the confines of being Christian. Thus, the development of the concept of pagans illustrates the evolving Christian self-conscious…
Date: 2022-09-22


(4,143 words)

Author(s): Gemeinhardt, Peter
The Greek noun παιδεία/ paideia (verb: παιδεύειν/ paideuein) has a wide range of possible meanings: it encompasses, basically, all kinds of education; more specifically, teaching at school; metaphorically, receiving instruction from divine beings. Beyond processes of transmitting knowledge, paideia also refers to their results: being an “educated” or “literate man” (πεπαιδευμένος; vir litteratus; a comprehensive overview is offered in Bloomer, 2015). Such education could also be attributed to women – Perpetua was “instructed in a liberal manner” ( liberaliter instituta; Mar…
Date: 2022-09-22


(3,745 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Joshua
The name Palestine is sometimes used to describe the geographic area of the eastern Mediterranean region comprising parts of modern-day Israel and the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (for geographic usage, see Israel). The present entry will deal with the ancient usage of the term Palestine, although at times it will be necessary for comparison and explanation to juxtapose it with the geographic entity Israel.Palestine reflects the Greek form ( Palaistinē) of biblical peleshet ( Prst/Plst of ancient Egyptian texts; Pilišti/Palaštu of Assyrian sources)…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,058 words)

Author(s): Lamberigts, Mathijs
Pammachius was born around 340 CE and belonged to the important and rich Roman family of the Furii. He studied with the grammar teacher Donatus and received a solid rhetorical training. Around 370/372 CE, he was a schoolmate and youthful friend of Jerome (Jer. Ep. 48.1). At the time he met Jerome, he was already a Christian, familiar with Scripture and with Christian authors ( Ep. 48.3; 57.13). He married the Christian Paulina, the daughter of Toxotius and Paula, who, after the death of her husband, started to live a semi-monastic life. Paula was also, for ye…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,986 words)

Author(s): Barclay Lloyd, Joan
Pancras (Lat. Pancratius) was 14 years old when he was martyred in Rome, beheaded near the Via Aurelia on May 12 (the year being given variously as 304, 293, or 257 CE; ( AASS, May, vol. III, May 12, 17; Drobner, 1988, 14–15). He was buried in a cemetery close to the clivus Rutarius, which linked Via Vitellia to Via Aurelia Vetus (Fiocchi Nicolai, 2000, 228). The site was not far from the gate in the Aurelian Walls called “Porta Aurelia,” which was renamed “ Porta Pancratiana” (Porta S. Pancrazio) after him from the 6th century CE onward (Pro. Bell. Goth. 1.18). Pancras is known from some monu…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,655 words)

Author(s): Murcia, Thierry
Yeshua ben Panthera is the most ancient name attributed to Jesus in the rabbinical literature (c. 300 CE). The name “Pantera” is also known by Celsus (c. 170 CE), and several ecclesiastical authors have counted a Panthera among the ancestors of Jesus. What is the origin and historical value of this tradition?Origin of the NameIn his Against Celsus (c. 240 CE), Origen frequently mentions a certain Panthera, presented by the Greek antichristian Celsus (170 CE) as the father of Jesus. Many hypotheses have emerged to explain this name. The two most popular are the following:Firstly, Panthera…
Date: 2022-09-22

Papal Schism

(3,638 words)

Author(s): Cohen, Samuel
In what follows, papal schism will be considered from two perspectives: first, as a general term describing factionalism within the Roman Church that resulted in substantial groups, typically led by rival bishops, withdrawing (or being forced to withdraw) from communion with one another; and second, to describe controversies between Rome and other Christian episcopal centers. This approach generally accepts the conventional definition of schism (Gk σχίσμα; Lat. schisma), which denotes the institutional separation of two or more internally cohesive groups caused…
Date: 2022-09-22

Papias of Hierapolis

(2,562 words)

Author(s): Furlong, Dean
Papias of Hierapolis (fl. c. 110 CE), a bishop who was active in the early 2nd century CE, authored a now lost book, the Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord, which purports to have related ancient Christian traditions, including on the origin and composition of the Gospels. Fragments from Papias’ work are preserved in quotations and summaries found in later writers, though the authenticity of many of them is disputed.LifeVery little is known about Papias, other than that he lived in the early 2nd century CE and had been a bishop of the church at Hierapolis, a ci…
Date: 2022-09-22


(3,499 words)

Author(s): Erlemann, Kurt
The Greek word parousia (Lat. adventus) is an early Christian technical term denoting the coming of the Messiah (Matt 3:10–12) as well as the eschatological coming of the Son of Man or the second coming of Christ (24 times, esp. 1 Thess; 1 Cor; Matt 24; 2 Thess 2; 2 Pet 3). Synonyms are: “the day” (of God, Christ, salvation, judgment; Matt 24:42; Rom 2; 1 Thess 5:2; 2 Cor 6:2 etc.), epiphaneia (esp. Pastoral Epistles; 2 Thess 2:8), as well as apokalypsis of Christ (Rom 2:5; 8:19; 1 Cor 1:7; see Oepke, 1954; Plevnik, 1997). On the parousia of Satan, compare 2 Thess 2:9 (Mell, 2012). Parousia (from parei…
Date: 2022-09-22

Passio Martyrum Scillitanorum

(2,061 words)

Author(s): Hunink, Vincent
The Acta Martyrum Scillitanorum, also known as Passio Martyrum Scillitanorum, is the earliest extant non-biblical Christian Latin text, composed in Carthage and dating from the early 2nd century CE.The short text (counting merely 360 words) records the interrogation by the Roman proconsul Saturninus of a group of Christians from the African town of Scilli, apparently accused of adhering to the Christian religion. It ends with the formal death sentence as pronounced by the proconsul, a public announcement of this death sentence, and a succinct description of the actual execution.Bei…
Date: 2022-09-22

Passion of Perpetua and Felicity

(3,677 words)

Author(s): Heffernan, Thomas J.
The Passion of Perpetua and Felicity ( Martyrium vel Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis; trans. Heffernan, 2012) is one of the earliest and most significant of the Acta Martyrum (Martyrs, Acts of the) genre. It is unique in all the Acts of the Martyrs because it contains four distinct voices – two of which claim to be autobiographical, and one of these is that of the upper-class educated woman Vibia Perpetua, whose reflections, constitute the first autobiographical memoir by a women in the West. Perpetua’s account is redolent with concern …
Date: 2022-09-22


(4,372 words)

Author(s): Colautti, Federico
Passover ( Pesaḥ; Pesach ) and the exodus story seem to be inseparable. The Pentateuch has connected these two traditions so intimately that only through attentive reading can the tensions and incongruities within the exodus story be discerned. Ancient authors took for granted that all references to Passover were necessarily related to the exodus story. Modern scholars, certainly, have distinguished different layers of redaction in Exod 1–15: that is, this text is the product of a combination of diff…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,468 words)

Author(s): Sarot, Marcel
“Patripassianism” (not to be confused with “theopassionism,” which is a synonym of theopaschitism: see Theopaschites) is a term of abuse referring to theological views that identify God the Father and God the Son so strongly that they seem to imply that Pater passus est (“The Father suffered”). Tertullian ascribed this position to a certain Praxeas and Hippolytus of Rome to Pope Zephyrinus, Pope Callistus, Noetus of Smyrna, Epigonus, Kleomenes, and Sabellius; all of these “patripassians” were active in Rome in the late 2nd and early 3rd …
Date: 2022-09-22


(7,624 words)

Author(s): van Geest, Paul
The words “patrology” and “patristics” are derived from the Latin noun pater (“father”). In early Christianity, this word was used to refer to the bishops as being primarily responsible for the teaching of the faith (Altaner, 1960). From the 4th century CE onward, the term was no longer exclusively reserved for bishops. Vincent of Lérins (d. before 450 CE), in his Commonitorium ( Memoriale), summarizes the characteristics that a father, a “church father,” had to meet. A church father expressed the ancient doctrine, was orthodox, had a holy life, and his doc…
Date: 2022-09-22

Paul, 1 Thessalonians

(3,203 words)

Author(s): Rollens, Sarah E.
Thessalonica (or, Thessalonike) was a Greek port city on the northern coast of the Aegean Sea. It lay on an important trade route known as the Via Egnatia, which facilitated the movement of people and commerce between the eastern and western Roman Empire. During the period of Paul’s travels (Paul [Apostle]) in the mid-1st century CE, Thessalonica was the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia, and like many large port cities, it boasted a cosmopolitan population and fostered all the urban se…
Date: 2022-09-22
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