Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

Get access Subject: Biblical Studies and Early Christianity
General Editors: David G. HUNTER, University of Kentucky, United States, Paul J.J. van GEEST, Tilburg University, Netherlands, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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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(3,578 words)

Author(s): Collins, John N.
The term diakonia came to prominence in the early 19th century with the establishment of the motherhouses of deaconesses within the German Evangelical churches. In 1851, when T. Fliedner presented a case for the role of deaconesses in the church, he used the German form Diakonie to designate the social work of the deaconesses among the disadvantaged. This German term remains today official currency for Christian social work within the Evangelical and Reformed traditions. Similar terms have the same function within other north European coun…
Date: 2020-09-21


(3,631 words)

Author(s): van de Sandt, Huub
There is an ever-growing consensus emerging in recent scholarship that the text of the Didache (teaching) as a whole was composed around about the turn of the 1st century CE. The provenance of the manual is usually assigned to a Christian congregation in (western) Syria.The TextWhile there are various incomplete and fractional witnesses to the text of the Didache, the Greek text has survived in nearly full form (except for the last few lines) in only one document, the Manuscript of Jerusalem (Codex Hierosolymitanus 54). This 11th-century minuscule cont…
Date: 2020-09-21

Didascalia Apostolorum

(1,380 words)

Author(s): Benga, Daniel
Didascalia apostolorum, also entitled the Syriac Didascalia, is a pseudo-epigraphic work, written in Syria in the 3rd century CE. Belonging to the literary genre of church orders, it is chronologically situated between the Didache, from which it was inspired, and the Apostolic Constitutions, which embodied it in the first six chapters with substantial changes.HistoriographyInitially written in Greek, of which only short fragments are preserved, the full variant of the work is preserved today in a Syriac translation, dated to the 4th–6th centuries …
Date: 2020-09-21


(2,794 words)

Author(s): Burz-Tropper, Veronika
The Greek term διδάσκαλος designates a teacher (other Greek terms: παιδευτής, παιδαγωγός – see the Latin terms magister, doctor). In a narrow sense, a teacher in antiquity can teach either in his own home, in a student’s home, or in a school. The teaching includes the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic, as well as the contents of the so-called ἐγκύκλιος παιδεία (or the seven liberal arts: grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy). There were teachers of artisanship, l…
Date: 2020-09-21


(3,994 words)

Author(s): Simmons, Michael Bland
Born in obscurity in Dalmatia circa 244 CE, Diocles may have been either a freedman of a senator named Anullinus or the son of a scribe who was himself a freedman (Eut. Brev. 9.19; Ep. Caes. 39.1; Lact. Mort. 9.11). Rising through the ranks of the army, he became Dux Moesiae (“Roman provincial leader”) in modern Bulgaria before becoming the commander of the imperial bodyguard ( protectores domestici) of  emperor Numerian during the Persian campaign of 283–284 CE. When Aper, the emperor’s praetorian prefect, killed him, the army acclaimed Diocles Augustus on Nov…
Date: 2020-09-21

Diodore of Tarsus

(3,200 words)

Author(s): Ramelli, Ilaria L.E.
Diodore (d. c. 393 CE) was a Christian exegete and theologian who served as bishop of Tarsus in Cilicia from 378 CE until his death. He received an excellent education in Athens, then embraced the monastic life. In Antioch, he led the ascetic school (ἀσκητήριον) for many years before his episcopate. Among his disciples, Theodore of Mopsuestia and John Chrysostom are prominent. He was a supporter of the Nicene orthodoxy and a strong opponent of Emperor Julian’s anti-Christian politics. Due to his…
Date: 2020-09-21

Diognetus, Epistle to

(1,933 words)

Author(s): Carleton Paget, James
The Epistle of Diognetus (usually, but not always, included in the collection of early Christian texts known as the Apostolic Fathers) is neither referred to, nor cited, by any writer of the ancient church, only first coming to the attention of the Christian world in 1436 when the 260-page Codex Argentoratensis, in which it was contained, was discovered in Constantinople by a visiting cleric, Thomas D’Arezzo. The editio princeps, produced by H. Estienne (Stephanus), only appeared in 1592, though transcriptions of the work had been prepared by B. Haus (1580) and …
Date: 2020-09-21


(2,859 words)

Author(s): Salazar-Ortiz, Natalia | Sales-Carbonell, Jordina
The word diptych (from Gk δίπτυχον; δίς = twice; and πτύσσω = to fold) refers to an object formed by the joining of two superimposed tablets that were bound together by strings, rings, or hinges and used for writing. In antiquity, these tablets were made of various materials such as ceramics, wood, ivory, bone, or metal. The inner surface had a high frame and was covered with wax, a material upon which the people of antiquity used to write with a stylus or a reed. Thus, a brief text equivalent to at le…
Date: 2020-09-21