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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(6,031 words)

Author(s): Conway-Jones, Ann
Roughly one quarter of the biblical book of Exodus is taken up with the tabernacle – the portable wilderness sanctuary, precursor to the Jerusalem Temple (Temple, Jerusalem). First come the instructions to Moses (Exod 25–28) and then an account of the tabernacle’s construction (Exod 35–40). Exodus ends with the glory of God filling the tabernacle tent (Exod 40:34). Early Christian writers sought to identify the enduring significance of the divine tabernacle instructions – the “pattern” revealed …
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,598 words)

Author(s): Bieberstein, Sabine
Tabitha is the name of a disciple who, according to Acts 9:36–43, is a central figure of the Christian community in the seaport town Joppa and is risen from death by Peter. The name is Aramaic (טְבִיתָא/ ṭeḇîṯâ or טַבְיְתָא/ ṭaḇyeṯâ) and is given in Acts 9:36, 39 in Greek as Δόrkaς (“gazelle”).While the Greek name Δόrkaς is biblically encountered only in this passage, it is occasionally documented in non-biblical sources (e.g. Jos. Bel. 4.145). The Hebrew form of the name צִבְיָא ( ṣiḇyâ, from צְבִי/ ṣeḇî, “gazelle”) appears as a male first name in 1 Chron 8:9, in the form צִבְיָה/ ṣiḇyâ as a fe…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,556 words)

Author(s): Shannon-Henderson, Kelly. E.
Many details of Cornelius Tacitus’ life and career (fl. 100–110 CE), including his dates of birth and death and even his first name (probably Publius), are unknown or uncertain. He was born to a senatorial family, probably in the 50s CE, perhaps in southern Gaul. He rose to political prominence under Domitian, serving as praetor in 88 CE, and remained active under Nerva and Trajan, serving as consul in 97 CE and proconsul of Asia in 112–113 CE (where he may first have encountered Christians: Fuchs, 1950, 72–73n11). His major works are the Histories (composed c. 104–110 CE), which chroni…
Date: 2022-09-22


(3,763 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Joshua
The Talmud, the central text of rabbinic Judaism, refers to the writings known as the Jerusalem Talmud ( Talmud Yerushalmi), or the Talmud of the Land of Israel, and the Babylonian Talmud ( Talmud Bavli). It is also referred to as the Shas, the Hebrew abbreviation for the six orders ( shisha sedarim) of the Mishnah. The Hebrew Talmud (Aram. Talmuda’) literally means teaching or study. This came to mean the teaching or study of the Oral Law (Halakhah) and legend ( Aggadah), and eventually the Amoraic (Amora) discussion of the Mishnah. The Talmud has two parts: the Mishnah and the Gemara, a word …
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,973 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Joshua
In rabbinic literature different terms were used to denote Torah scholars (Law/Decalogue/Torah). They might be called “sages” ( ḥakhamim), “disciples of sages” ( talmidei ḥakhamin), “sons of sages” ( bene hakhamim), Abba (“father”), or rabbi. Sage was a general term for the generic “wise man” ( sophos) and rabbi was a polite way of addressing a sage or teacher and came to be used as the standard title of a Torah scholar accredited in the rabbinic movement and generally not used before 70 CE (Hezser, 1997). Rabbinic also tradition postulates…
Date: 2022-09-22


(2,337 words)

Author(s): Martin, Céline
One of the demarcations of the Augustan provincial organization, the former Hispania Citerior, Tarraconensis was among the vastest provinces of the empire until the Diocletian reform of 293 CE. It was then divided into three parts: Tarraconensis, Gallaecia, and Cartaginensis. Still commanded from its capital Tarraco, Tarraconensis was thus reduced to a broad strip of land bordering the Pyrenees from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Coast and centered on the Ebro Valley that joined both re…
Date: 2022-09-22


(7,239 words)

Author(s): Crawford, Matthew R.
Tatian, a student of Justin Martyr, flourished in the second half of the 2nd century CE, and so was a contemporary of Irenaeus of Lyon. The exact date of his birth is unknown, but he must have come from the East, given that he calls himself an “Assyrian” (Tat. Orat. 42). Similarly, Clement of Alexandria and Epiphanius of Salamis refer to him as a “Syrian” (Clem. Strom.; Epiph. Pan. 46.1.6). Epiphanius, along with some modern scholars, understood this designation to mean that he came from Mesopotamia, that is, from east of the Euphrates River ( Pan. anacephalaeosis 3). However, inh…
Date: 2022-09-22

Te Deum

(1,105 words)

Author(s): Dunkle, Brian
The Te Deum, known by its opening verse ( Te Deum laudamus – “We praise you God”), is among the most ancient and popular extra-biblical Latin liturgical hymns. Comprising 29 verses, the hymn offers communal praise to God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Trinity) and professes the saving work of the Son. Although long identified as the “Ambrosian Hymn,” there is no scholarly consensus on the authorship or origin. References to the text first appear in the 5th century CE; it is widely attested by the early 6t…
Date: 2022-09-22

Temple, Jerusalem

(6,757 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Joshua
The Jerusalem Temples were built on the Temple Mount (Mic 4:1; m. Mid. 1.1–3; 2.1–2). The Temple Mount is a hill located in the present-day Old City of Jerusalem, in the northern portion of a very narrow spur of hill that slopes sharply downward from north to south, rising above the Kidron Valley to the east and Tyropoeon Valley to the west. In Hebrew it is known as Har Ha-Báyit, or “Mount of the House (of God).” This entry will mostly deal with the Jerusalem Temple and Temple Mount of the Herodian period. This was the period of the Jerusalem Temple in its glory,…
Date: 2022-09-22


(6,128 words)

Author(s): Dunn, Geoffrey D.
What we know of Quintus Septimus Florens Tertullianus (Tertullian) comes mainly from his own writing. The brief biography in Jer. Vir. ill. 53, which states that he was the son of a centurion, was a presbyter (Priest/Presbyter), and left the church to join the Montanists, has been called into question in T.D. Barnes’ biography, which first appeared in 1971. So too has Eusebius of Caesarea’s point in Historia ecclesiastica ( Ecclesiastical History) that Tertullian was skilled in Roman law (and lived in Rome) with the notion that he is to be identified with the juris…
Date: 2022-09-22

Testamentum Domini

(1,492 words)

Author(s): Stewart, Alistair C.
The Testamentum Domini is an example of the literature collectively known as the “church orders.” The definition of a church order is uncertain, and there is scholarly debate even regarding the legitimacy of the term, but it conveniently covers a number of documents that have in common an aim to direct the conduct of Christians and of the church on the basis of an appeal to tradition derived from or mediated through the apostles (Apostle/Disciple). This is what the Testamentum does; it describes the building of a church with associated outbuildings, the mode of appointment…
Date: 2022-09-22