From Synagogue to Church: Public Services and Offices in the Earliest Christian Communities by James Tunstead BurtchaellFrom Synagogue to Church: Public Services and Offices in the Earliest Christian Communities by James Tunstead Burtchaell

From Synagogue to Church: Public Services and Offices in the Earliest Christian Communities

byJames Tunstead Burtchaell

Paperback | March 11, 2004

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This important work engages with a long historical debate: were the earliest Christians under the direction of ordained ministers, or under the influence of inspired laypeople? Who was in charge: bishops, elders and deacons, or apostles, prophets and teachers? Rather than trace Church offices backwards, Burtchaell examines the contemporary Jewish communities and finds evidence that Christians simply continued the offices of the synagogue. Thus, he asserts that from the very first they were presided over by officers. The author then advances the provocative view that in the first century it was not the officers who spoke with the most authority. They presided, but did not lead, and deferred to more charismatic laypeople. Burtchaell sees the evidence in favor of the Catholic/Orthodox/Anglican view that bishops have always presided in the Christian Church. At the same time he argues alongside the Prostestants that in its formative era the Church deferred most to the judgment of those who were inspired, yet never ordained.
Title:From Synagogue to Church: Public Services and Offices in the Earliest Christian CommunitiesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:396 pages, 8.98 × 5.98 × 0.87 inPublished:March 11, 2004Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521891566

ISBN - 13:9780521891561

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Table of Contents

Preface; 1. The Reformation: challenge to an old consensus; 2. The nineteenth century: a new consensus is formulated; 3. The early twentieth century: the consensus is disputed; 4. The last fifty years: the consensus restated, rechallenged, reused; 5. A search for a new hypothesis; 6. Jewish community organization in the later Second Temple period; 7. The officers of the synagogue; 8. Community organization in the early Christian settlement; 9. A conclusion; Index auctorum; Index locorum.

Editorial Reviews

"Burtchaell's reading of the history of the debate is...convincing....he correctly challenges the idea that ritual and structure are alien to true religion, suggesting that true religion is also found in the institutional expressions of community, even in Christianity." James C. Hanges, Critical Review