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3 - The Apostolic and Prophetic Church according to Iulius Africanus, Origen and Tertullian

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 December 2022

Markus Vinzent
Affiliation:
King's College London
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Summary

The three subchapters demonstrate the early attempts at Christianizing historiography. The start of history is made by the historically perceived Resurrection of Christ, as outlined by Iulius Africanus. Christians are not simply part of a long history of human development, but they mark a new beginning of human history. What existed before, Paganism and Judaism, were only ephemeral preparations for Christianity. Like Eusebius later, he draws on pseudonymous writings, particularly documents that he refers back to the archive of Edessa. Origen, before him, had already approached history from a spiritual angle, largely disregarding the historical and chronological side of it, and making use of the canonical writings of the New Testament in an allegorical way by which he dissociates Christian history from that of Jews and Pagans, and sees it guided and foreseen by God. Very similar to Origen, Tertullian in the Latin speaking world portraits Christians in fighting of Pagans and Jews, but also deviant Christians, heretics and less commited brothers and sisters which he contrasts with those prophetic Christians who are fully engaged, are prepared for asceticism, rejection of pagan pasts and are willing martyrs. Instead of canonical scriptures it is the prophetic reading of the church traditions that inform about the origins of Christianity.

Type
Chapter
Information
Resetting the Origins of Christianity
A New Theory of Sources and Beginnings
, pp. 118 - 153
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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