To some readers, perhaps some who are particularly interested in ancient Christian intellectual engagement with culture or the formation of Christian doctrines about the Trinity, to end this analysis with Justin is to break off just when things start getting interesting. But I contend that the period I have characterized here as "earliest Christianity" is not only fascinating in its own right but is also crucial for what comes thereafter.
"What comes thereafter" includes, of course, great figures such as the influential bishop of Lyons, Irenaeus (with whom Bousset concluded his classic study of earliest belief in Jesus); the prolific and broad-minded Clement of Alexandria; Tertullian (that combative father of Latin-writing Christianity); and Origen (who perhaps most fully represents the best of early Christian scholarship). Other interesting, though somewhat less imposing, figures of the same period could be mentioned as well, such as Melito of Sardis and Hippolytus. There were also further noteworthy efforts at religious innovation in the late second and in the third centuries beyond those we studied here, among which Montanism is particularly important.1
But I contend that what we have examined in these chapters, "earliest Christianity" (ca. 30-170), provided the major convictions, and the parameters of belief and devotional practice as well, that shaped the subsequent developments in Christian tradition, which in turn came to be dominant and which form our picture of classical Christian faith. The devotional practice of earliest Christianity was particularly foundational for doctrinal developments. Though beliefs, or at least fundamental convictions, were certainly there from the out-
1. Most recently, Christine Trevett, Montanism: Gender, Authority, and the New Prophecy
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).