Roman Faith and Christian Faith: Pistis and Fides in the Early Roman Empire and Early Churches

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9780198724148: Roman Faith and Christian Faith: Pistis and Fides in the Early Roman Empire and Early Churches

This study investigates why "faith" (pistis/fides) was so important to early Christians that the concept and praxis dominated the writings of the New Testament. It argues that such a study must be interdisciplinary, locating emerging Christianities in the social practices and mentalites of contemporary Judaism and the early Roman empire. This can, therefore, equally be read as a study of the operation of pistis/fides in the world of the early Roman principate, taking one small but relatively well-attested cult as a case study in how micro-societies within that world could treat it distinctively.

Drawing on recent work in sociology and economics, the book traces the varying shapes taken by pistis/fides in Greek and Roman human and divine-human relationships: whom or what is represented as easy or difficult to trust or believe in; where pistis/fides is "deferred" and "reified" in practices such as oaths and proofs; how pistis/fides is related to fear, doubt and scepticism; and which foundations of pistis/fides are treated as more or less secure.

The book then traces the evolution of representations of human and divine-human pistis in the Septuagint, before turning to pistis/pisteuein in New Testament writings and their role in the development of early Christologies (incorporating a new interpretation of pistis Christou) and ecclesiologies. It argues for the integration of the study of pistis/pisteuein with that of New Testament ethics. It explores the interiority of Graeco-Roman and early Christian pistis/fides. Finally, it discusses eschatological pistis and the shape of the divine-human community in the eschatological kingdom.

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About the Author:


Teresa Morgan is Professor of Graeco-Roman History in the Faculty of Classics, Oxford University, and Nancy Bissell Turpin Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History at Oriel College. She is a historian of Graeco-Roman and early Christian culture and mentalite; previous books include Literate Education in the Hellenistic and Roman Worlds (1998), and Popular Morality in the Early Roman Empire (2007). She is a self-supporting priest in the Parish of Littlemore, Oxford.

Review:


"Morgan's work is highly recommended. It not only tackles a colossal subject, but also makes sure to nuance those interdisciplinary moments that provide the most fuel to the ongoing discussion. Morgan fills a gap that was much needed; however, her work is also positioned in such a way as to point towards new, detailed analyses that need to be done in order to move beyond the material covered. Thankfully, she is kind enough to gesture towards these avenues of interrogation in her concluding section."--Taylor Weaver, Religion


"This book will be the fundamental text on this issue for a long time to come." --Theology


"It is impossible to do justice to the richness and depth of this study, let alone its many astute exegetical observations, in a single review..." --Ecclesiology


"This is a wonderful and refreshing book that offers insights for classicists, New Testament scholars, and those who bridge both fields..." --Bryn Mawr Classical Review


"This is a significant and magisterial study. One cannot read it without benefiting from the insights contained on every page..." --Expository Times


"[I]t is to be hoped that its conclusions cascade through the layers of modern Christianity to refresh more than just the thirst of professional scholars." --Church Times


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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2015. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This study investigates why faith (pistis/fides) was so important to early Christians that the concept and praxis dominated the writings of the New Testament. It argues that such a study must be interdisciplinary, locating emerging Christianities in the social practices and mentalites of contemporary Judaism and the early Roman empire. This can, therefore, equally be read as a study of the operation of pistis/fides in the world of the early Roman principate, taking one small but relatively well-attested cult as a case study in how micro-societies within that world could treat it distinctively. Drawing on recent work in sociology and economics, the book traces the varying shapes taken by pistis/fides in Greek and Roman human and divine-human relationships: whom or what is represented as easy or difficult to trust or believe in; where pistis/fides is deferred and reified in practices such as oaths and proofs; how pistis/fides is related to fear, doubt and scepticism; Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780198724148

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