Questions tagged [early-church]

Relating to first several centuries of the Christian church; usually considered to end in the 4th century

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108 views

Identifying a source for this C S Lewis quote (reflecting St Augustine and St Paul)

There is a C. S. Lewis quote from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that resembles a famous quote by St Augustine. Here is St. Augustine: The very thing which is now called the Christian ...
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Was the Trinity looked upon by John of Damascus and Gregory of Nyssa as a combination of Jewish monotheism and pagan polytheism?

John of Damascus says "of the Greek we have the distinction of hypostases.". That is adding Greek doctrine to "Christianity." When John says "we have" something "...
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Are any of Arius' writings extant?

In 325 CE, following the defeat of Arius at the Council of Nicea, Emperor Constantine the Great went on a campaign of book burning to eradicate all memory of Arius and his beliefs: After the First ...
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What were the Apostolic Fathers's contributions to Christology which survived to Nicene (325 AD) and Chalcedon (451 AD)?

The Apostolic Fathers is a special group of church fathers who personally knew or taught by the apostles. Some of their writings were even considered to be included in the canon although ultimately ...
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How did the early church fathers refute Adoptionism?

Adoptionism is a Christological heresy which denies the pre-existence of Jesus, and therefore denies Jesus's title as "God the Son" in the Trinitarian conception of the Christian God. See the ...
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Who was the first person on record who was killed by a Christian or group of Christians for religious disagreements?

I am trying to learn when did things start to go wrong in Christianity and when did it start to change from a peaceful, loving religious group into a movement that engaged in war and physical ...
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What is the earliest extrabiblical teaching of baptism using a trinitarian formula?

Oneness Pentecostals and others who hold to "Jesus-name" (or "Jesus-only") baptism maintain that the trinitarian formula used by Nicene Christians and others is based on a misunderstanding of Matthew ...
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What was the dominant theory of atonement shown in the Apostolic Fathers's writings?

Most articles I read about the theory of atonement in the early church say that Ransom Theory was the prevailing one, although some disagree. This thinking was promoted by a landmark book on the ...
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What is the difference between the Ebionites and Nazarenes?

The Ebionites and Nazarenes were Jewish–Christian sects during the Second Temple era. We know that the Ebionites believed Yeshu was born of a natural generation between Joseph and Mary; while some ...
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What do Protestants think about canon laws given by the Church Fathers?

In the seven ecumenical councils, and throughout early Christian history, various Church Fathers gave certain canon laws, or rules that the clergy and laity had to follow. What do Protestants think ...
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Did the early church teaches the person of God the Word changed in the incarnation?

According to early Christianity did the person of God the Word change in the incarnation? Is it considered mutability in the person that change?
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Is there a consensus among early Christians on Romans 9?

How did the early church interpret St. Paul in Romans 9? Is there a consensus in early Christianity regarding the relation between predestination and free will?
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The celebrant’s position and proximity to the participants

We know that the apostles were present in a face to face relation to Jesus at the Lord's Supper. When did the celebrants of the later Eucharist turn their backs on the participants, and why? Also ...
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Did Early Church Fathers have a Talmud of their own?

The Talmud(s) are compiled of about 2,711 pages. The Mishna, Midrash, and Gemara are many examples of Jewish literature that encompasses every-day life, from halacha (Jewish law) to marriage and ...
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Was Mary’s appearance to St. James the Greater in year 40 AD an apparition or bilocation?

Tradition has it that the Blessed Virgin Mary, sometime before her bodily Assumption into heaven, appeared to the Apostle St. James the Elder while he was living and preaching in Spain. After ...
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Has anyone in history suffered God’s visible wrath by uttering disrespect & attack on the dignity of the Vicar of Christ?

We know from Apostle’s times that Jesus claimed that an attack or persecution to the Church member’s is a direct attack on Himself what more to a Vicar of Christ. The Road to Damascus "As Saul ...
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Who first coined the term “Christian”?

It is correct that the term "Christian" was first used in Antioch, but not coined by just someone who made up nicknames. Is it possible that St. Ignatius, the 3rd Bishop of Antioch coined this term?
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Why is there no archaeological evidence that Christians existed for 200 years after 70 AD?

This is from the 2/1/2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Society: ...For almost two hundred years after the crucifixion, Roman cities are entirely devoid of any trace of early Christians; to date, no ...
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Information on how the early Christians prepared and/or fled from the destruction of Jerusalem?

Does anyone have any information regarding how the early Christians prepared or handled the destruction of Jerusalem? Such as how long before hand they fled and what did they take and where did they ...
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What is the earliest historical instance of state-paid Clergy?

Years ago I read in a book about the days of Constantine and how the early church fathers, who had been ducking the persecutors' swords for so long, were overwhelmed when the Roman State turned benign ...
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Was the “Nicene Creed” of AD 381 an update of the Nicene Creed of AD 325?

When people talk about "The Nicene Creed," it seems that they are often referring to the document associated with the Council of Constantinople (AD 381). I'm sure there are many reasons for this, one ...
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What is the earliest mention of how often the Eucharist was celebrated?

There is no explicit mention of how often the Eucharist was celebrated in the Bible. What are the earliest historical documents that make reference to how often the Eucharist was celebrated?
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Was the Assumption of Mary a belief in the early church?

Was the Assumption of Mary a belief in the early church? If so, where's the evidence? The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life is a defined dogma of the ...
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Hippolytus’ difference between hearing the Word and hearing the Gospel?

In Apostolic Traditions, Hippolytus (starting at section 15 through section 20 (it is too much to copy and paste)) lines out the qualifications that a catechumen must meet for acceptance as such and a ...
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Did any other early church fathers besides Origen teach the pre-existence of souls?

Origen taught about the pre-existence of our souls, which, among many other of his teachings, was later condemned as heresy. Did any other early church fathers teach this doctrine?
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Does any Church currently incorporate exorcism, three dunkings, and anointing in their baptism rite?

Hippolytus of Rome, in relating the rites and liturgies in use in Rome in the 3rd Century AD in his work called Apostolic Tradition, describes a process of exorcism first to expel evil spirits whereby ...
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Is there a sound doctrine or biblical explanation why Satan is called “the ape of God”?

I encountered this word in the book entitled "The Devil", I forgot the name of the author. It was Tertullian who called Satan the "ape of God" but offered very little explanation. We know from the ...
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Was James the early church leader?

In Acts 15 Paul goes to the Jerusalem council and, although Peter speaks, James has the last word and announces his judgement: "Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the ...
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Did Paul recognize Peter as the earthly leader of the Church?

By suggestion this is a re-posting of one part of a multipart question. Paul appears (under inspiration of the Spirit) indifferent to whatever reputation may have been ascribed to James, Peter, and ...
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Was tithing 10% required or encouraged by the early church?

I cannot find in the New Testament an obligation on Christians to tithe 10% of their income. Instead I read that it is up the individual to decide: 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV1984) Each man should ...
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How did Christian come to be the name for believers?

Who changed the name believer to Christians. Are there bible verses calling the followers of Jesus Christ Christian? If yes, were are the verses? If no, who coined the word and under what condition ...
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What did the early church believe about the “rapture”?

There are a lot of differing opinions on when the rapture will take place (pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, or mid-tribulation). From my own attempts to research the topic and look at Scripture from ...
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What was the reason and the contents of the title pages “Old Testament” and “New Testament” in the earliest codex (extant or not)?

By dividing the collection of books in the Bible into "Old Testament" and "New Testament", the compiler of the books of the Bible made a strong theological statement that something "old" has passed ...
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What liturgical languages were used in the worldwide church/broad christiandom around 500 AD?

I understand that the western church used Latin, the eastern church used Greek, and the far eastern church was using Syriac. Was it only those three languages? Or were other languages in use as well ...
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Was there a time when bishops were not appointed to other sees and did not generally ever relocate?

Today it is common for bishops to relocate to another (probably more prestigious) episcopal see. For example Rainer Wölki was first titular Bishop of Scampa, then Archbishop of Berlin and is now ...
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Is it true that no post-apostolic theologians before St. Augustine believed in Eternal Security / Assurance of Salvation?

According to Wikipedia in it's entry of 'perseverance of the saints', eternal security has its roots in Church Father St. Augustine of Hippo. Considering that Augustine lived centuries after the ...
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Were any of the early church leaders Gentile converts to Christianity?

By early, I mean the second half of the first century to the end of the second century. I know, for example, that Paul and Barnabus were ethnic Jews. The Apostle Paul mentions various Christians, ...
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When did the Early Church begin and end their twice weekly fasts?

In the Didache, it tells us "8:2 but keep your fast on the fourth and on the preparation day (Friday)." Obviously some actually did keep these weekly fasts, when exactly did they begin and end? ...
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Why did early Christians in Acts still go to the Jewish temple every day?

In the Acts of the Apostles we find that the early believers were every day visiting the temple and afterwards meeting in each others homes. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple ...
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What is the Christological difference between the early Church fathers and the Arians?

Arius wrote to Eusebius of Nicomedia referring to the eternal Word that, '[B]efore He was begotten ... He was not, for He was not without beginning.'1 Where he qualified his argument on the fact that ...
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What is the earliest written surviving liturgy?

The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, for example, has been traced to the fourth century, and is purported to be based upon even earlier forms. The Liturgy of St James is even more ancient, and is ...
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Why did early Christians believe in the Real Presence?

I'd imagine that if Christ directly taught the doctrine of the Real Presence, then one of the Gospels would have recorded it. So given that fact that it isn't directly taught, let us assume for the ...
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What are the sources concerning the deaths of Peter and Paul

Where do we learn that the deaths of Peter and Paul were during the Neronic persecutions of 64 - 68 AD? What is the source of this information and is it considered valid?
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Is a claim of 50,000,000 Baptist martyrs accurate?

In the book The Trail of Blood by James M Carroll, the author makes the claim that 50,000,000 early Baptists were martyred under persecution by the Catholic Church. The author makes the claim ...
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Do any early Church Fathers record the event of the ceasing of spiritual gifts?

A central belief held by an overwhelming majority of Cessationists is that the "supernatural spiritual gifts" (e.g., tongues, prophecy, healing, miracles, etc.) ceased with the end of the apostolic ...
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What is the origin of the story that the Apostle John taught only “love one another”?

I've heard in a sermon that there is a story about Apostle John's last days, when he was working in Ephesus. The story tells that usually, at the Lord's Supper, John was invited to give a little ...
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Does Augustine ever say that Christians in his time identify their Deus [God] with the Roman deity Saturn?

I first encountered this notion on p. 30 of R.S. Sugirtharajah's book The Bible and the Third World: Precolonial, Colonial and Postcolonial Encounters (2001, Cambridge University Press). In reference ...
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Why did the early Christians think Jesus would return soon?

In multiple New Testament passages the Disciples and even Jesus appear to think He would return within one generation or so: Jesus says, 'What I say to you, I say to all: Watch, for you know not the ...
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Were the early Christians known by any other name?

We see in Acts 11:24-26 (NRSVCE): "For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and ...
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What have old Christian writers opined about a couple living with in-laws during marriage?

I understand a question has been asked and was closed on this topic previously, but I wanted to more specifically ask about Christian writings on it, preferably early ones. Often people today use ...

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