Conflict at Rome: Social Order and Hierarchy in Early Christianity

Conflict at Rome: Social Order and Hierarchy in Early Christianity

Conflict at Rome: Social Order and Hierarchy in Early Christianity

Conflict at Rome: Social Order and Hierarchy in Early Christianity

Synopsis

Utilizing archeological evidence and an analysis of two early Christian texts related to the church at Rome, James S. Jeffers offers a penetrating glimpse into the economic, social, and theological tensions of early Roman Christianity. Clement and the Shepherd of Hermas are shown to represent two decidedly conflicting conceptions of Christianity and hierarchy: Clement represents the social elite and a more structured approach to church organization, and Hermas displays a tendency toward sectarianism. Photographs and line drawings illustrate archeological evidence.

Excerpt

An interdisciplinary work of this nature would not be possible without the active assistance of a number of persons. I wish to thank Richard I. Frank and Lamar M. Hill of the University of California, Irvine, for their helpful contributions. Professor Frank, whom I am proud to call mentor and friend, has provided encouragement and invaluable insights during each phase of this project. The close readings given early versions of this manuscript by Ronald F. Hock of the University of Southern California have helped me strengthen both prose and argument. S. Scott Bartchy of the University of California, Los Angeles, helped direct my thinking during early stages of the research. Bryan R. Wilson helped me understand his sociological model of religious orientations and how it might apply to antiquity. Thanks are also due to the University of California for providing a research grant. I want to thank Fr. Paul Lawlor, resident archaeologist at the Basilica of San Clemente, for helping me better understand the significance of the remains under the basilica, and for his hospitality during my 1985 trip to Rome. Philippe Pergola of the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology provided valuable assistance in my research of the Christian catacombs of Rome, and particularly in my study of the Catacomb of Domitilla. I am grateful to Theodore F. Brunner for assisting my use of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae computer database of ancient Greek literature at the University of California, Irvine. My contact with scholars through the Social History of Early Christianity Study Group and the Social Sciences and the New Testament Section, both part of the Society of Biblical Literature, has stimulated my thinking and forced me to probe deeper into the true nature of early Roman Christianity. In particular, I would like to thank Peter Lampe, Carolyn Osiek, David L. Balch, L. Michael White, and Bruce Malina.

Quotations from ancient authors are rendered in accordance with standard English translations when available, and with the Loeb . . .

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