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The Early Church

The Early Church
Morwenna Ludlow

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How did the early Christians manage to establish a religion and institution which, despite persecution, flourished and grew? How did their initial experience of being a despised minority in the Roman Empire shape their sense of privileged identity and uniqueness? And how was it that - at least at the outset - the first believers were able to exist alongside the same shared traditions, rituals and beliefs of the Jews, despite the Jewish rejection of Jesus as Messiah?The Christian community was born out of paradox: its faith in a man who was also the 'anointed one' (or Christ) of God; and its growth and development often echoed those complex and contradictory origins. Morwenna Ludlow discusses the fragile context as well as the emerging core beliefs of the early Church (including divine creation, salvation, eschatology, the humanity and divinity of Christ and the inter-relationships of the Trinity) between 50-600 CE. She also examines the process of Christian self-definition in response to groups on the edge of the Church, such as Gnostics, Marcionites, Montanists and Manichaeans, as well as in relation to Judaism.

Bringing to vivid life the remarkable history of the early Church, in all its conflict and struggle, the author shows why such a successful faith was able to rise out of such improbable and unpromising beginnings.

Author Info

Morwenna Ludlow is Lecturer in Patristics at the University of Exeter. She is the author of two previous books, entitled Universal Salvation: Eschatology in the Thought of Gregory of Nyssa and Karl Rahner and Gregory of Nyssa, Ancient and (Post)modern.


'A remarkably comprehensive and balanced account of the major aspects of the life and thought of the early Church... Even the seasoned scholar finds fresh connections and differentiations, whereas the general reader could hardly wish for a better introduction... An enormous achievement ... highly recommended.'
– Frances Young, The Catholic Historical Review

'This promises to be an impressive and valuable series.'
– Stewart J. Brown, FRSE, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, University of Edinburgh

'A series such as this is hugely welcome. Its emphasis on the history of ideas, and on the global – not just European – experience of Christianity and its manifestations of church, will be valued by students, scholars and general readers alike. The I.B.Tauris History of the Christian Church brings ecclesiastical history into a new era, for a new generation.'
– Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church, University of Oxford

'The new I.B.Tauris History of the Christian Church series has quickly established an enviable reputation for impressive scholarship.'
– Journal of Ecclesiastical History

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: I.B Tauris History of the Christian Church

ISBN: 9781845113667
Publication Date: 18 Dec 2008
Number of Pages: 304
Height: 234
Width: 156
Illustrations: 1 map

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