Self-designations and Group Identity in the New Testament

Self-designations and Group Identity in the New Testament

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What terms would early Christians have used to address one another? In the first book-length study on this topic, Paul Trebilco investigates the origin, use and function of seven key self-designations: 'brothers and sisters', 'believers', 'saints', 'the assembly', 'disciples', 'the Way', and 'Christian'. In doing so, he discovers what they reveal about the identity, self-understanding and character of the early Christian movement. This study sheds light on the theology of particular New Testament authors and on the relationship of early Christian authors and communities to the Old Testament and to the wider context of the Greco-Roman world. Trebilco's writing is informed by other work in the area of sociolinguistics on the development of self-designations and labels and provides a fascinating insight into this often neglected topic.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 400 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1 table
  • 9781139181266

Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. Brothers and sisters - adelphoi; 3. The believers; 4. The saints - hoi hagioi; 5. The assembly - he ekklesia; 6. Disciples - mathetai; 7. The way - he hodos; 8. 'Christian' - Christianos; 9. Conclusions.
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Review quote

'Trebilco has written a splendid book, with a clear structured and sustained argument ... This study will be widely cited, and has added valuable insights about early Christian self-understanding.' The Expository Times
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About Paul Trebilco

Paul Trebilco teaches New Testament studies at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He is the author of Jewish Communities in Asia Minor (Cambridge University Press, 1991), The Early Christians in Ephesus from Paul to Ignatius (2004), 1 Timothy (with S. Rae, 2006) and 2 Timothy and Titus (with S. Rae and C. Caradus, 2009).
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