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1 - Modes of Knowing and Ordering Knowledge in Early Christianity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2023

Lewis Ayres
Affiliation:
University of Durham and Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
Michael W. Champion
Affiliation:
Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
Matthew R. Crawford
Affiliation:
Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
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Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview to the volume, arguing that early Christian modes of knowing and ordering knowledge involved complex processes of appropriation, adaptation, reproduction, and reconfiguration of Jewish and classical epistemologies. This resulted in practices of knowing that established powerful ways of acting in the world and negotiating late-antique social structures. It shaped the behaviour of individuals and established norms for communal life. We argue that studying these phenomena requires consideration of intersections between a range of elite discourses, institutional forms, and the material world of the period. Foregrounding the myriad ways in which early Christian epistemology was embedded in earlier intellectual traditions and forms of life, we make a case that Christian theological commitments, in all their diversity, were an essential component in the development of distinctively Christian ways of knowing and ordering knowledge. Attention to theological assumptions and arguments is one essential element in understanding significant contours of late-antique life and society.

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The Intellectual World of Late Antique Christianity
Reshaping Classical Traditions
, pp. 1 - 20
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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