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By Helen Rhee

Helen Rhee’s amazing paintings is the 1st booklet to compile The Apologies and the semi-fictional Apocryphal Acts and Martyr Acts in one learn. Filling an important hole within the scholarship, she appears to be like at Christian self definition and self illustration within the context of pagan-Christian clash. utilizing an interdisciplinary method; old, literary, theological, sociological, and anthropological, Rhee reports the Christians within the formative interval in their faith; from mid first to early 3rd centuries. She examines how the varieties of Greco-Roman society were tailored by means of the Christians to offer the prevalence of Christian monotheism, Christian sexual morality, and Christian (dis)loyalty to the Empire. Tackling wide themes, together with theology, asceticism, sexuality and patriotism, this publication explores problems with cultural identification and examines how those propagandist writings formed the theological, ethical and political trajectories of Christian religion and contributed mostly to the definition of orthodoxy. This thorough examine will profit all scholars of early Christianity and Greco-Roman literary tradition and civilization.

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The first systematic literary indictment of Christianity came from a Platonist named Celsus. 43 Celsus’ philosophical and theological criticisms of Christian doctrines were fundamentally based on the Platonic notion of divine transcendence and immutability; they targeted the Christian claim of exclusive monotheism, especially in relation to the doctrines of 16 HISTORICAL-CULTURAL CONTEXT 111 111 111 0111 1 111 0111 0111 0111 1111 olio incarnation and resurrection and worship of Jesus. His rational monotheism combined a belief in the Supreme God, incorporeal and impassible, with an affirmation of traditional gods as the intermediaries, including the Demiurge, who created the physical world (henotheism).

155 Furthermore, some recent studies poignantly examined the transformation or reversal of the erotic theme156 of the ideal romances – sexual fidelity and consummation in marriage – in each of the Apocryphal Acts in the continence stories of upper-class women who forsake their husbands (or fiancé) and renounce their conjugal responsibilities to follow the apostle’s teaching, most famously in the Acts of Paul and Thecla. These features are certainly significant points of contact and parallel;157 however, similar motifs alone do not account for a characterization or model, and the fundamentally biographical and missionary focus of the Acts delimits the ideal romances as the main literary model for the Acts.

117 Even the Acts of Paul reveals a striking lack of parallels with the Lucan Acts: there is no correlation between 30 HISTORICAL-CULTURAL CONTEXT 111 111 111 0111 1 111 0111 0111 0111 1111 olio them in Paul’s itinerary, specific incidents, and other characters. 118 Thus the Apocryphal Acts disclose a rather limited relationship with and influence by the Lucan Acts. The question of the Acts’ genre in a broader Greco-Roman literary context has been a perennial topic in scholarly discussions. 119 However, on the definition, nature, purpose, forms, and origins of the ancient novel itself, there has been a bewildering range of differences and variations in proposed theories, especially because the ancients had no genre of novel as such.

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