- Amanda Price added an answer:22In what ways and to what extent did both Hebrew and Roman culture help shape early Christianity?Since context is a fundamental aspect of obtaining a genuine understanding about ideas and traditions, I'm curious about the extent to which the early Church fathers and early Christian community adhered to existing norms within Hebrew and Roman culture/society. Influence is often a two-way street, in that ideas produced by a particular source can spread throughout and influence society, while at the same time becoming reactions to the social environment of the time.
This is just a thought, but it's probably worth considering this question using what we know of cultural assimilation, appropriation and rejection in the Old Testament. Issues of cultural separatism arise very early in the Old Testament scriptures and this theme is continued throughout the whole bible. Look into the word "sanctify". The issue is never separatism for the sake of separatism, but maintaining a culture that is constantly readying the community.
In this sense, it's never about maintaining status quo, but proactively nurturing a culture that is prepared for what is to come. In the case of the Old Testament, this is a culture prepared for the coming of the Messiah and, in the case of the New Testament, this is a culture that is prepared to make that same Messiah known to the world while preparing for his final return.
If cultural influences in any way cut across these objectives, then they were rejected on these grounds. As long as cultural influences did not undermine these directives, it seems that other cultures were absorbed and appropriated quite freely. A good case study for this in Old Testament times is the book of Daniel.
As far as the Hebrew and Roman cultures shaping Christianity, I would again suggest that this was more about the 'look' of Christianity rather than Christianity itself. The contemporary Hebrew culture during the time of the early church was heavily based on legalism and the contemporary Roman culture lent towards hedonism. Legalism and Hedonism were clearly rejected in early Christianity, and in fact could be said to be the antithesis of early Christianity.
In this sense then we can see that the Hebrew and Roman cultural influences were predominantly acting upon the external face of Christianity (eg. the use of political language as William mentioned) but were having limited to no impact upon Christianity itself.Following
- Peter White, PhD added an answer:5What is the role of the Baptism and Infilling of the Holy Spirit in Missions and Church growth in the pentecostal view?What is the role of the Baptism and Infilling of the Holy Spirit in Missions and Church growth in the pentecostal view?Thank you brotherFollowing
- Verona Jean White added an answer:28Did women in early church say Mass?Role of women in the early Church
You will find good info with these two resources:
Pamela Walford, "The Story of God: Women in the Early Church" access online: http://godswordtowomen.org/walford2.htm.
Mary T. Malone, Women and Christianity, Volume I: The First Thousand Years (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2000).
Mass did not start until the church became more organized in the 3rd and 4th centuries. Women were very involved the the ministry of Jesus and through the time of the disciples/apostles as can be found in the Bible on inscrpitions on gravestones later in the 1st and 2nd centuries and later.Following
About Early Christian History
In depth study of the early church era.