Posts Tagged ‘Early Christianity’
Obviously, taken as a whole, the books of the New Testament were quite popular. They were Scripture, after all!
But how popular were they individually?
People today have favorite books in the Bible–ones they go to all the time, and ones they only rarely look at.
This is a phenomenon that affects both the books of the Old and the New Testament, and it’s possible to get a sense of how popular particular books were in particular time periods.
One way of doing that–before the Bible was bound as a single volume–is by seeing how many copies there are of individual books…
The Bible records a number of ancient civilizations. Perhaps the most famous of these is ancient Rome.
By the time of the New Testament, Rome was the major world power, and it was in control of the Holy Land during the entire earthly life of Jesus and during the lives of his immediate followers.
Jesus was born during the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus. He was crucified during the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius. The book of Acts records the Roman emperor Claudius by name. And both St. Peter and St. Paul were martyred at Rome by the Emperor Nero.
It is clear that the Romans were extraordinarily important to the world in which the New Testament was written.
All that makes it worth asking: Who were the Romans, and where did their civilization come from?
Read on here.
Exciting news in the Austrian press about what is likely to be the oldest traces of Christianity in Carinthia, in Virunum. A church dating to the 350s was found a couple of years ago, but further excavation suggests that there was a bishop’s palace there – in other words that it was a much significant centre of Christianity than first thought. From Kleine Zeitung:
“Vor sechs Jahren haben wir bereits eine Bischofskirche aus dem vierten Jahrhundert entdeckt.” Doch nach einer exakten Analyse der Daten könne man nicht mehr nur von einer Kirche ausgehen. Die Ausmaße auf dem spätantiken Areal nahe Maria Saal scheinen größer als bisher angenommen. “Wir haben eine weitere Kirche und sechs Klerikerwohnungen entdeckt.” Zudem vermuten die Archäologen eine dritte Kirche auf der anderen Seite der Hauptstraße. “Anhand des Grundrisses könnte es sich dort eine weitere Kirche befinden”, sagt Dolenz. Ob es so ist, wird sich Ende Oktober herausstellen. Denn dann sollen die neu gewonnenen Erkenntnisse durch geomagnetische Untersuchungen untermauert werden.
There is more at Orf.at with a good number of photographs.
Excavations on the Scottish island Eigg have uncovered a seventh century C.E. structure thought to be the monastery founded by St. Donnan, one of the first missionaries in Scotland. Also known as Donnan of Eigg, the priest traveled through northwest Scotland before settling on Eigg, where he was martyred in 617 C.E. The site features Pictish pottery in the graveyard as well as an oval enclosure and ditch, a characteristic of contemporary monasteries, which maintained a separation between sacred and exterior spaces. The Eigg History Society received funding from the Heritage Lottery to locate the monastery, and archaeologist John Hunter announced in The Scotsmanthat the findings surpassed his expectations. Donnan, the patron Saint of Eigg, evangelized the island and the Scottish archaeology discoveries memorialize and bear witness to a major figure in the dissemination of Christianity on the British Isles.
Scottish archaeology at Eigg has exposed a structure related to the seventh century C.E. St. Donnan, an evangelizing figure in early Scottish Christianity.
In a Special Holy Saturday Podcast and Post over at The Sacred Page.
On Holy Saturday we meditate on one of the most obscure lines in the Apostles’ Creed: “he descended into hell.” What does this part of the Creed refer to? Is it biblical?
Moreover, what does it mean to say Christ “descended into hell”? Did he experience the torments of wicked?
Christ and the “Spirits in Prison”
In 1 Peter we read that Christ continued to save souls–even after his death.
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. (1 Peter 3:18–21)
According to this passage, after he died, Christ went to those who died in the flood judgment.
Where were these figures? The “hell of the damned”? Well, not quite.
Let’s look at this passage in light of ancient Judaism…
To continue, click here. The download is available at the bottom of the post. Well worth a listen today.