Early Christian Families in Context: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue

Early Christian Families in Context: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue

Early Christian Families in Context: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue

Early Christian Families in Context: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue


Typical studies of marriage and family in the early Christian period focus on very limited evidence found in Scripture. This interdisciplinary book offers a broader, richer picture of the first Christian families by drawing together research by experts ranging from archaeologists to ancient historians.

By exploring the nature of households in the ancient Greco-Roman world, the contributors assemble a new understanding of ancient Christian families that is both compelling and instructive. Divided into six parts, the book covers key aspects of ancient family life, from meals and child-rearing to women's roles and the lives of slaves. Three concluding chapters explore the implications of all this information for theological education today.

Contributors: David L. Balch

Suzanne Dixon

J. Albert Harrill

Ross S. Kraemer

Christian Laes

Peter Lampe

Amy-Jill Levine

Margaret Y. MacDonald

Dale Martin

Eric M. Meyers

Margaret M. Mitchell

Carolyn Osiek

Beryl Rawson

Richard Saller

Timothy F. Sedgwick

Monika Trumper

Andrew Wallace-Hadrill


The Religion, Marriage, and Family series evolves out of a research project located at the University of Chicago and financed by a generous grant from the Division of Religion of the Lilly Endowment, Inc. The first phase of the project lasted from 1991 to 1997 and produced eleven books on religion and family. In late 1997, the Lilly Endowment gave the project an additional major grant that supports a second phase of research and publication. The books in the Eerdmans Religion, Marriage, and Family series come directly or indirectly from the initiatives of this second phase.

In some cases, the books will evolve directly out of the University of Chicago project. In other cases, they will be books written in response to that project or in some way stimulated by it. In all cases, they will be books probing the depth of resources in Judaism and Christianity for understanding, renewing, and in some respects redefining current expressions of marriage and family. The series will investigate issues of parenthood and children, work and family, responsible fatherhood, and equality in the family; the responsibility of the major professions in promoting and protecting sound marriages and families; the biblical, theological, philosophical, and legal grounds of Western family systems; selected classics of these traditions; and the respective roles of church, market, and state in supporting marriages, families, parents, and children.

The Religion, Marriage, and Family series intends to go beyond the sentimentality, political manipulation, and ungrounded assertions that characterize so much of the contemporary debate over marriage and family. It plans to develop an intelligent and accessible new literature for colleges and seminaries, churches and other religious institutions, questing individuals and families. Marriage and family issues are not just preoccupations of the United States; they have become worldwide concerns as modernization, globalization, changing values, emerging poverty, and changing gender roles disrupt traditional families and challenge the very idea of marriage throughout the world. It has been predicted that the emerging marriage and family crisis will be the central . . .

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