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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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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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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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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Was there any case of a homosexual priest in the early Church and how did the Church handle that?

Was there any case of a homosexual priest in the early Church and how did the Church handle that (if it occurred)?
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How was the church structured during the time of 300 AD - 500 AD?

I know in 1054 AD, the Catholic & Orthodox churches had split - creating the great schism, but I'm curious to learn about the earlier history of the church. Are there any historical sources which ...
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Was the Gathering Relics of Holy Men in 1st Century common in the Early Church?

I am hoping to understand or know if Jesus' apostles would have had gathering relics of something like the crucifixion in mind at some point when it as still possible to locate them (ex: the true ...
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How did Christians get from the biblical feast of Passover to Easter sunday?

Can any one offer an educated answer of how the Christian Church moved from Passover on the 14th day of the first biblical month to the day we now call Easter? (You can even pretend Passover and ...
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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)." Assuming that some actually did keep these weekly fasts, when exactly did they begin and end? ...
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Did early Christians believe the world was about to end?

Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. (Matthew 16:28, NIV) Edit: adding another verse in ...
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Famous Pre Reformation Christian Pastors (Non Catholic)

After the Splintering of the Protestant Revolt, there have been many men who are famous as Pastors and Preachers even up to the present day, the Billy Grahams the Joel Olstiens, John McArthurs, an ...
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How did Christians respond to abortion in the early Church?

I think that the churches (all Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Greek Orthodox and others) should be involved in the fight against legalized abortion. I am looking to the history of the Church to ...
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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, ...
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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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Did St. James write the Divine Liturgy of St. James?

This is related to the question titled "What is the earliest written surviving liturgy?", but different in what it is asking. I was reading on Infogalactic the following. The Liturgy of Saint James ...
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When was the formal title of Pope first officially bestowed on the Bishops of Rome?

I’ve read conflicting claims about who the first Pope was. I read this question in a newspaper - "Was Boniface the first true Pope?" Boniface I (418-22) was spoken of as a pope, but so were his ...
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Is Christianity evolved from shamanism? [closed]

Latest researches show with an abundance of evidence, that modern religion (including Christianity) are evolved from primordial believes system as a reflection of its social and political structure. ...
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Why is the Textus Receptus important?

I've seen it mentioned that some translations use the Textus Receptus and others don't, so why is this document important?
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True Doctrines Or Heresies?

I am a Protestant. I have been trying to trace the church from the time of Jesus to the current day. I have a question. In the first half a century I see great debates in the defense and ...
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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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Early Christians who Defended Licitness of Non-Procreative Sex?

Were there any early Christians who defended non-procreative sex as licit?
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Did the early church teach that God performed the first animal sacrifice in Gen 3:21?

An earlier question asks about the first animal sacrifice. The two top answers both suggest that God instituted animal sacrifice by example when He killed an animal to provide Adam and Eve with ...
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Was Origen and/or certain teachings considered a heretic and/or heretical?

What was clear enough has become muddled for reasons unknown about Origen. We can speculate the resurgence of the idea of universal salvation is one reason for Origen's rise. In the seventeenth ...
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Which church fathers taught involuntary universal salvation?

Which early church fathers (including those now considered heretics like Origen) pre 1054 taught that "all will be saved", including all of the dead without "hearing and believing"? In other words, ...
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Salvation Possible After Death

Which early church fathers (pre 500) taught it was possible for a person after their death to hear and receive salvation in Christ Jesus? We know some groups teach the necessity of water baptism to ...
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Was universalism the majority belief of the early church?

I recently came upon an article that made this statement: According to historical records, Universal Reconciliation was the majority belief of the church during the first five centuries of the ...
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Did anyone before Augustine teach Original Sin? [duplicate]

From what I understand Augustine was the first to introduce the idea of original sin. Did anyone before Augustine state that Adam and Eve's sin was a punishment to all humanity?
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When and from whom is the source that for Christians, God dwells in buildings you go to, rather than in believers?

The question of when Christians started attending church at a building rather than their homes led to a few answers and comments. One got me to thinking and asking this question. When did the ...
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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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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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Was any early martyr of the Church sawn in two, as mentioned in Hebrews?

In Hebrews 11:35–37 the author writes: ...Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and ...
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Jesus said I am the Way, how does the Catholic Church best explain this passage?

John 14:6 New International Version (NIV) "Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." This passage from St.John Gospel had a strong ...
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Are the Seven Sorrows of Mary the seven pillars in Proverbs 9:1?

Proverbs 9:1 English Standard Version (ESV) "Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars." "HEWN" (Thesaurus) Adj. 1. hewn - cut or shaped with hard blows of a heavy cutting ...
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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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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 said Tertullian called Satan the "ape of God" but offer very little explanation. We know from the bible ...
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Nature of the Church in 1st Corinthians

In 1 Corinthians 1:10-12 - (“10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same ...
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Are there eyewitness accounts of Jesus Christ written during (or closely after) his lifetime?

In recent times, it has come to my understanding, that the New Testament was written in its entirety only after Jesus Christ has died. I ask for in the search of documents which date to Jesus' ...
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What denominations of Christianity forbid meat from strangled animals?

In Acts 15, at the end of the Apostolic Council the Church sends the following letter to Gentile Christians: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria ...
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Was there any meaningful difference between the terms “presbyter” and “priest” in early Christianity?

There has been much debate between Christian denominations on whether or not there is a special priesthood rooted in apostolic succession. I do not mean to disturb this debate with my question, but I ...
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Has the term “born again” always been synonymous with baptism with the Christians of the Early Church?

Has the term "born again" always been synonymous with baptism with the Christians of the Early Church? St. Irenaeus (202) wrote the following in 185, which many claim it refers to infant baptism: ...
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What is the earliest explicit mention of infant baptism?

The Bible describes several adults being baptized (notably Jesus and the Ethiopian eunuch that Phillip baptized). And while it mentions many others being baptized, it doesn't explicitly mention ...
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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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When did the term “New Testament” first come into usage?

While reading William Bridge's, "The Wounded Conscience Cured," (1642) I came across Bridge's usage of the term "New Testament" : "And in the New Testament, Romans 13.1..." -William Bridge, "...
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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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Ancient Western Christianity & Indian Christians

India is well outside the bounds of Roman influence, but there is evidence of Christianity in India very early. After the faith reached India, how much contact was there with Christianity in the ...
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What are the traditional reasons ascribed to why God saw it fit that Jesus be born of a virgin?

According to the early church fathers, why did God decide that Jesus would be born of a virgin? I would imagine that someone like Augustine would say that it has something to do with why he is ...
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What was the socioeconomic makeup of early Christian Gnostic sects?

There is ample evidence that early Christianity was socioeconomically very inclusive, being made up of the poor, the wealthy, men, women, the educated, uneducated, etc. For example, Pliny the ...
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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 did “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” say about the Epiphany?

I was reading the "Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" to answer another question on this site and chanced upon a strange tidbit that I don't understand the meaning of: The apostles further appointed: ...
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What did early Christians say about apostolic succession?

Did early Christian writers teach apostolic succession or reject it? How do their teachings on this topic compare with contemporary and significant historical understandings of apostolic succession?
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When the early church was formalising the canon, what did they understand by the word 'Inspired'?

When the early church was formalising the Biblical canon, what specific definition of the word 'inspired' did they have in regard to the biblical literature? I'm curious about how this relates to the ...