Ante Pacem: Archaeological Evidence of Church Life Before Constantine (Google eBook)

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Mercer University Press, 2003 - History - 311 pages
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Early Christianity emerged from obscurity to dominate the Roman world: that story, told and retold, continues to fascinate historians and believers. From literary remains scholars have fashioned a reasonably coherent portrait of Christian leaders and their teachings, their controversies, and their struggles with the imperial power. But the religion of ordinary Christians is not so well or easily known; they have left us no literary record of their faith and their hope, their marrying and their dying, their worship and their common life. Scholars relying on literary evidence have little to say of daily life in the Christian church before the "peace" of Constantine halted the persecution of Christianity in the empire. "It is only in nonliterary data," Graydon Snyder writes, "that one can catch a glimpse of what actually happened." Before the publication of "Ante Pacem there was no introduction or source-book for early Christian archaeology available in English. With his book Professor Snyder has performed an incalculable service for students of early Christianity and the world of late antiquity. He analyzes in one lavishly illustrated volume every piece of evidence that can, with some degree of assurance, be dated before the triumph of the emperor Constantine at the Milvian Bridge in 312CE thrust the nascent Christian culture "into a universal role as the formal religious expression of the Roman Empire." Previous assessments have interpreted early Christian artifacts using the literature of the "church fathers" as a template. The method of the so-called "Roman school" presupposed a continuity of Christianity from its beginning through the later church, so its proponents attempted toharmonize the nonliterary evidence with late tradition. However, the early church artifacts that first appeared about 180 were derived from the culture of the empire. From then until about 313CE, "the early Christian Church gave to the Mediterranean world a religious alternative of considerable depth that was expressed in activities and symbols that were readily understood by that culture," according to Professor Snyder.
  

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Contents

c
1
CIAPTERTWO
23
CHAPTER THREE
67
CHAPTER FOUR
89
Pictorial Interpretations I The Jonah Cycle
90
Noah in the Ark
94
Daniel in the Lions Den
96
Susanna and the Elders
98
Jesus the Healer
115
The Resurrection of Lazarus
116
The Woman at the Well
118
Jesus Teaching
119
Christ Helios and the Ascension of Elijah
120
The Fisherman
122
The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes The Meal
124
CHAPTER FIVE Early Church Buildings
127

The Sacrifice of Isaac
99
Moses Striking the Rock
101
Adam and Eve
102
The Three Young Men in the Fiery Furnace
104
Jesus
107
The Baptism of Jesus
108
The Wise Men
113
The Church at DuraEuropas
128
The Domus Petri in Capharnaum
134
The Double Church at Aquileia
137
The Tituli Churches of Rome
140
Cemetery Structures
153
Baptistries
205
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

GRAYDON F. SNYDER, now retired, was dean and professor of New Testament at Bethany Theological Seminary and Chicago Theological Seminary.

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