Religion Past and Present

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Early Catholicism
(351 words)

[German Version]

The term “early Catholicism” is used when features of a hierarchical, official institutionalization of Christianity are discernible before the 3rd century (e.g. the binding of the Spirit to the office; the principle of tradition and succession; development of a monarchical episcopate; sacramentalism), ultimately leading to the firm establishment of Christianity in the culture and society of (late) antiquity and the tying of individual salvation to membership of the visible church. The expression “early Catholicism” was introduced in 1908 by E. Troeltsch in co…

Cite this page
Alkier, Stefan, “Early Catholicism”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 23 October 2019 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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