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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(1,630 words)

Author(s): Tomson, Peter J.
The Hebrew and Aramaic רבי/ rabbi (lit. “my master”) appears in the ancient sources as a polite phrase addressing a Jewish sage or teacher. In addition, it came to be used as the standard title of a Torah (Law/Decalogue/Torah) scholar accredited in the rabbinic movement, or in other words a “rabbi.” The import of the New Testament is twofold: it is the oldest extra-rabbinical document to use the term, and it is also the focus of the Christian trend to denigrate “rabbinism.”Outside rabbinic literature, the main ancient sources for the phrase rabbi are the Gospels of Mark (Mark, Gospel …
Date: 2024-01-19

Rabbula of Edessa

(1,505 words)

Author(s): Doran, Robert
Rabbula (d. 435/436 CE) was born around 350 CE in Qennishrin (Chalcis), about 40 km southwest of Aleppo, to a wealthy family whose father was pagan (Pagan/Paganism) and mother Christian. As an influential local citizen, Rabbula was given a distinguished honorary governorship. However, on a visit to his estates, he witnessed a healing miracle by a Christian hermit (Anchorite), and he soon converted to Christianity. He went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and then decided to become a monk. He …
Date: 2024-01-19


(2,635 words)

Author(s): Zwiep, Arie W.
In this article “rapture” (Ger. Entrückung) is taken as a technical term for a bodily translation into the “beyond” (heaven or an otherwise inaccessible place) as the conclusion of one’s earthly life, without the intervention of death (Lohfink, 1971, 32–74; Wißmann, 1982, 680; Zwiep, 1997, 36–40; 2010, 44–49). This rather strict definition helps to disentangle the wide variety of (both literal and metaphorical) language of ascent in the ancient world and appreciate the distinctive place of th…
Date: 2024-01-19


(3,247 words)

Author(s): Mauskopf Deliyannis, Deborah
The city of Ravenna, located on the Adriatic coast, served as the residence of successive rulers of Italy between 400 and 725 CE. Its bishops, later archbishops, were among the leading prelates in Italy throughout the Middle Ages, in large part because of the city's early political prominence, and they claimed an ancient Christian heritage, going back to the time of Peter. Even though its political centrality ended after the 8th century CE, Ravenna has fascinated later visitors, from Char…
Date: 2024-01-19


(1,094 words)

Author(s): Hoglund, Jonathan
Recapitulation (ἀνακεφαλαίωσις/ anakephalaiōsis), as developed by Irenaeus of Lyon (c. 180–200 CE), describes the fittingness or symmetry in God’s purpose to save humanity. Irenaeus uses the “ summing up of all things in Christ” (Eph 1:10) as a foundation but deploys recapitulation as a hermeneutic guide, a mechanism for salvation, and as a summary of the Adam-Christ typology.BackgroundIn rhetoric, recapitulation is summing up an argument in order to persuade. It “both refreshes the memory of the judge and places the whole cause before his eyes at once” (Quint. Inst. 6.1.1). A rec…
Date: 2024-01-19


(4,376 words)

Author(s): Aspesi, Cara
Refrigerium, a vulgarism of refrigeratio, was used by some early Christians to refer to the practice of holding a feast in honor of the dead. This use of the language was not directly borrowed from pagan culture but developed out of a Christian matrix of thought and behavior that responded to early Jewish views of the afterlife, gnostic thought, and pagan customs of holding graveside feasts. Refrigerare in Classical and Christian Literature Refrigerare and refrigeratio were not used by classical authors to refer to eating, much less to feasting with or for the dead …
Date: 2024-01-19


(3,558 words)

Author(s): Wiśniewski, Robert
Sacred objects holding a special power were known in diverse religions, some of which, like Buddhism (Strong, 2004), attributed such a power to the bodies of “special dead.” Yet this was not a universal phenomenon. With the Greeks the belief in the power of heroes’ bodies was rather marginal (Hartman, 2009), and the Romans did not know it at all. In the Old Testament, just two passages suggest that the bones of some prophets could have a special status (1 Kgs 13:32; 2 Kgs 13:21). In Chri…
Date: 2024-01-19

Remembrance and Commemoration

(3,717 words)

Author(s): Kloppenborg, J.S.
Human memory is a cognitive process that occurs in the brain. Commemorations, by contrast, are material practices that employ writing, graphical images, and ritual practices to activate memory. Since commemoration is necessarily selective, it typically focuses on a small subset of the features or qualities of the person or events remembered. Because it is selective, commemoration also narrows, reshapes, and in some instances, even manufactures memories (Schwartz, 2009). Material practices can also erase memory.Why Commemoration?Tacitus ends the biography of his father…
Date: 2024-01-19

Resurrection (General)

(5,187 words)

Author(s): Somov, Alexey B.
The general resurrection is the raising of the dead to eternal life at the end of time. In this resurrection both the righteous dead and the wicked will be restored to life to be judged along with the living at the final judgment. The belief in a general resurrection originated and developed in Judaism and then became the major form of afterlife existence in early Christianity.Resurrection in the Old Testament and Jewish LiteratureIt is difficult to decide with any certainty when the idea of resurrection first entered Jewish religious thought. Jewish concepts of r…
Date: 2024-01-19

Resurrection of Jesus Christ

(6,206 words)

Author(s): Granger Cook, John
The crucifixion (Cross/Crucifixion) and resurrection of Jesus Christ remain the prime focal point of the Christian faith. The resurrection of Christ in particular continues to exercise a powerful draw in modern theological debate (see the summary in Thiessen, 2009; primarily a survey of Protestant theologians) and in the critique of Christianity by individuals who deny the historicity or reality of the resurrection (e.g. Lüdemann, 2002; Miller, 2015).HistoriographyChristians have reflected on the resurrection of Jesus since the earliest stages of the Christi…
Date: 2024-01-19

Resurrection, Treatise on

(1,171 words)

Author(s): Jacobi, Christine
The writing Treatise on the Resurrection is a short letter from an unknown teacher to his “son Rheginus.” It is described by the anonymous translator or copyist in a secondary subscriptio as a “treatise” on the resurrection (Resurrection [General]; Resurrection of Jesus Christ). The text survives as the fourth writing in NHC I, and as a translation into a Lycopolitan Coptic dialect variant, as do the other writings in this collection of texts (Nag Hammadi Writings). The original language of the treatise was probably G…
Date: 2024-01-19

Revelation, Book of

(5,711 words)

Author(s): Lietaert Peerbolte, Bert Jan
The book of Revelation is commonly seen as an apocalypse with an epistolary framework (Swete, 1908, lv; Karrer, 1986). The apocalyptic character of the work comes to the fore especially in chapters 4–22. The epistolary framework, which closely resembles the Pauline style of writing letters, is discernible in the second opening section of the work (Rev 1:4–5) as well as the closing formula (Rev 22:14). Next to this epistolary framework, chapters 2 and 3 contain seven letters to seven group…
Date: 2024-01-19