The Earliest Christian Meeting Places

The Earliest Christian Meeting Places : Almost Exclusively Houses?

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Edward Adams challenges a strong consensus in New Testament and Early Christian studies: that the early Christians met `almost exclusively' in houses. This assumption has been foundational for research on the social formation of the early churches, the origins and early development of church architecture, and early Christian worship. Recent years have witnessed increased scholarly interest in the early `house church'.

Adams re-examines the New Testament and other literary data, as well as archaeological and comparative evidence, showing that explicit evidence for assembling in houses is not nearly as extensive as is usually thought. He also shows that there is literary and archaeological evidence for meeting in non-house settings. Adams makes the case that during the first two centuries, the alleged period of the `house church', it is plausible to imagine the early Christians gathering in a range of venues rather than almost entirely in private houses. His thesis has wide-ranging implications.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 22.86mm | 399g
  • T.& T.Clark Ltd
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised
  • Revised
  • 0567663140
  • 9780567663146
  • 534,726

Table of contents

Part One: Evidence for Houses as Meeting Places
1. New Testament Evidence: Epistles
2. New Testament Evidence: Gospels and Acts
3. Literary Evidence from 100 to 313CE
4. Archaeological Evidence
5. Comparative Evidence
Part Two: Evidence and Possibilities for Non-House Meeting Places
6. Retail, Industrial and Storage Spaces
7. Commercial Hospitality and Leisure Spaces
8. Outdoor Spaces and Burial Places
Appendix: The Setting of the Corinthian Communal Meal
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Review quote

Adams explores Christian meeting venues from the earliest period to 313 CE ... These chapters provide a wealth of information not only from early Christian literature, but also from other ancient literary, papyrological, and archaeological material that clarify the role of these venues in ancient urban and rural society ... It is essential reading for students and scholars of the social history of early Christianity. This volume is highly recommended. -- Richard Last, Queen's University * Religious Studies Review * In this stimulating and rich monograph, Eddie Adams challenges the widespread consensus that, in the first two centuries of the movement ... Christians met almost exclusively in houses for their communal meetings. ... Scholars interested in the social and spatial contexts of early Christian meetings will consult this book with much profit. -- Paul Foster, Faculty of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, UK * The Expository Times *
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About Edward Adams

Edward Adams is Lecturer in New Testament Studies at King's College London, UK. He is also the author of 'Constructing the World: A Study in Paul's Cosmological Language' (2000, T&T Clark) and has co-authored 'Christianity at Corinth: The Quest for the Pauline Church'.
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