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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(1,413 words)

Author(s): Lillo-Botella, Carles
Church tradition considers Flavia Domitilla to have been the first noblewoman to embrace Christianity in the final years of the 1st century CE, during Domitian’s reign, and commemorates her feast on May 12. However, a remarkable contrast exists between the information provided by pagan sources and that given by the later Christian tradition.Pagan SourcesAccording to Suetonius, Flavia Domitilla was the daughter of Domitilla the Elder, daughter of the emperor Vespasian and therefore sister of Titus and Domitian. She married Titus Flavius Clemens, s…
Date: 2020-09-21

Donatus the Great

(3,604 words)

Author(s): Bass, Alden
Donatus the Great (d. 355 CE) was a Carthaginian bishop who led the eponymous Donatist faction of the African church for nearly 40 years. He was a popular minister and an effective leader, considered a successor to Cyprian of Carthage by both friend and foe (see Aug. Serm. 33.3). Even Augustine of Hippo, who opposed the Donatist faction throughout his life, named Donatus one of the “precious stones” of the African church ( Serm. 37.3; see Mandouze, 2003).BiographyWhat little is known of Donatus derives from hostile opponents, the Caecilianist apologist Optatus of Milevis…
Date: 2020-09-21

Dormition and Assumption Apocrypha

(3,106 words)

Author(s): Shoemaker, Stephen
The Dormition and Assumption apocrypha are the earliest texts to relate the events of the end of the Virgin Mary’s life. All of these ancient narratives include a detailed account of Mary’s “Dormition,” that is, her falling asleep (κοίμησις), which is a common euphemism for death in the ancient world. The early Latin texts tend instead to refer to this event as her “passing” ( transitus), also a common ancient euphemism. Nevertheless the fate of Mary’s body and soul after their separation is a point on which there is some significant diversity in the early tr…
Date: 2020-09-21

Dorotheus of Gaza

(1,879 words)

Author(s): Wortley (†), John
Dorotheus (or Dorotheos) of Gaza was a monk and an abbot who lived in Palestine in the early 6th century CE. Despite the great popularity of his writings, no account of his life ( Vita) is known, nor does his name occur on any list of saints. Much can nevertheless be learned of his life from three sources: the Letters of Barsanuphius and (especially) of John, the Vita of Dositheus (who lived for three years under Dorotheus’ direction), and from Dorotheus’ own writings. It is now generally agreed that Dorotheus was born in Antioch in the first decade of the 6th c…
Date: 2020-09-21


(3,464 words)

Author(s): Koet, Bart J.
We find information about dreams in classical times and in the early church in several different sources and genres (Dörnberg, 2008, 20–25). A common format is a narrative in which a dream occurs. Another genre is the dream theory, reflections on the origin, function, and possible interpretation of dreams. A special means of speaking about dreams is the metaphorical method (Isa 29:7). There are even some inscriptions where dreams are mentioned, and finally there are pictures of (biblical) dream …
Date: 2020-09-21


(1,584 words)

Author(s): Sales-Carbonell, Jordina
Dumium or Dumio was an episcopal see that arose out of an influential and relevant monastery during late antiquity and the early Middle Ages. It was located on the northern outskirts of Bracara Augusta (Braga, Portugal), in the Cávado Valley, on the left bank of its namesake, and was part of the Diocletian province of Gallaecia . The current parish of Dume continues to serve as an episcopal see, now used by auxiliary bishops under the assignment of the archbishop of Braga. The monastery of Dumium, considered to be one of the earliest suburban monasti…
Date: 2020-09-21


(1,679 words)

Author(s): Peppard, Michael
The settlement variously called “Dura” or “Europos” – depending on which empire controlled it at any given time – was founded by the Seleucids in 303 BCE as a medium-sized colony and a crucial crossroads that connected travel and trade along the Euphrates River with the cities to its west. During its Roman era, which lasted almost a hundred years (165–256 CE) before conquest by the Sassanians, Dura-Europos blossomed into a quintessential frontier town, exploding in diversity of ethnicity, langua…
Date: 2020-09-21