The Earliest Christian Meeting Places: Almost Exclusively Houses?

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A&C Black, Oct 24, 2013 - Religion - 208 pages
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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Contents

4 House Synagogues
124
5 Conclusion
133
Part II EVIDENCE AND POSSIBILITIES FOR NONHOUSE MEETING PLACES
135
Chapter 6 RETAIL INDUSTRIAL AND STORAGE SPACES
137
2 Barns
146
3 Warehouses
149
4 Conclusion
156
Chapter 7 COMMERCIAL HOSPITALITY AND LEISURE SPACE
157

4 Conclusion
43
GOSPELS AND ACTS
45
2 The Book of Acts
51
3 Conclusion
67
Chapter 3 LITERARY EVIDENCE FROM 100 TO 313 CE
68
1 Evidence for Houses as Meeting Places
69
2 Evidence for Adapted Houses as Church Buildings
80
3 Conclusion
88
Chapter 4 ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE
89
2 The Christian Prayer Hall at Megiddo
96
3 The Titular Churches of Rome
99
4 Other Claimed PreConstantinian Domestic Domus Ecclesiae
104
5 Conclusion
111
Chapter 5 COMPARATIVE EVIDENCE
113
2 Houses as Schools and Places of Teaching
116
3 Houses as Collegial Meeting Places
119
2 Rented Dining Rooms
166
3 Bathhouses
171
4 Conclusion
179
Chapter 8 OUTDOOR SPACES AND BURIAL PLACES
181
2 Watersides
186
3 Urban Open Spaces
189
4 Burial Sites
192
5 Conclusion
196
CONCLUSION
198
Appendix 1 THE SETTING OF THE CORINTHIAN COMMUNAL MEAL
203
Appendix 2 FIGURES
207
Bibliography
232
Index of References
253
Index of Authors
261
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About the author (2013)

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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