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Chapter 3 - (Not) of This World

Caring for Self and Others

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2023

Hartmut Leppin
Affiliation:
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt Am Main
Jan N. Bremmer
Affiliation:
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands
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Summary

Christians oriented their lives towards the expectation of a life in the hereafter and yet had to orient themselves in this world. This resulted in very different attitudes. While some were fundamentally anti-family or, rather, against sex in general, others thought about what it meant to have a Christian marriage. While some wanted to participate in the pleasures of everyday life, others rejected this. All tried to live a humble life and do good works, especially towards the poor, orphans and widows. Penance was an institution that allowed Christians to be absolved of their sins, but it also allowed bishops to gain power, albeit in varying degrees Therefore, the question of a Christian way of life was always controversial.

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The Early Christians
From the Beginnings to Constantine
, pp. 223 - 304
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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