The Earliest Christian Meeting Places: Almost Exclusively Houses?

Edward Adams

The Earliest Christian Meeting Places: Almost Exclusively Houses?
The Earliest Christian Meeting Places: Almost Exclusively Houses?

Book Information

Edward Adams challenges a strong consensus in New Testament and Early Christian studies: that the early Christians met 'almost exclusively' in houses. This assumption has been foundational for research on the social formation of the early churches, the origins and early development of church architecture, and early Christian worship. Recent years have witnessed increased scholarly interest in the early 'house church'.

Adams re-examines the New Testament and other literary data, as well as archaeological and comparative evidence, showing that explicit evidence for assembling in houses is not nearly as extensive as is usually thought. He also shows that there is literary and archaeological evidence for meeting in non-house settings. Adams makes the case that during the first two centuries, the alleged period of the 'house church', it is plausible to imagine the early Christians gathering in a range of venues rather than almost entirely in private houses. His thesis has wide-ranging implications.

  • Table Of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Part One: Evidence for Houses as Meeting Places
    • 1. New Testament Evidence: Epistles
    • 2. New Testament Evidence: Gospels and Acts
    • 3. Literary Evidence from 100 to 313CE
    • 4. Archaeological Evidence
    • 5. Comparative Evidence
  • Part Two: Evidence and Possibilities for Non-House Meeting Places
    • 6. Retail, Industrial and Storage Spaces
    • 7. Commercial Hospitality and Leisure Spaces
    • 8. Outdoor Spaces and Burial Places
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix: The Setting of the Corinthian Communal Meal


Pages: 280
Publisher: T&T Clark
Published: 2015
ISBN-10: 0567663140
ISBN-13: 9780567663146

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