The Making of the Abrahamic Religions in Late Antiquity

Hardcover | August 30, 2015

byGuy G. Stroumsa

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This book presents how ancient Christianity must be understood from the viewpoint of the history of religions in late antiquity. The continuation of biblical prophecy runs like a thread from Jesus through Mani to Muhammad. And yet this thread, arguably the single most important characteristicof the Abrahamic movement, often remains outside the mainstream, hidden, as it were, since it generates heresy. The figures of the Gnostic, the holy man, and the mystic are all sequels of the Israelite prophet. They reflect a mode of religiosity that is characterized by high intensity. It iscentripetal and activist by nature and emphasizes sectarianism and polemics, esoteric knowledge, or gnosis and charisma. The other mode of religiosity, much more common than the first, is centrifugal and irenic. It favours an ecumenical attitude, contents itself with a widely shared faith, orpistis, and reflects, in Weberian parlance, the routinisation of the new religious movement. This is the mode of priests and bishops, rather than that of martyrs and holy men. These two main modes of religion, high versus low intensity, exist simultaneously, and cross the boundaries of religious communities. They offer a tool permitting us to follow the transformations of religion in late antiquity in general, and in ancient Christianity in particular, without becomingprisoners of the traditional categories of patristic literature. Through the dialectical relationship between these two modes of religiosity, one can follow the complex transformations of ancient Christianity in its broad religious context.

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This book presents how ancient Christianity must be understood from the viewpoint of the history of religions in late antiquity. The continuation of biblical prophecy runs like a thread from Jesus through Mani to Muhammad. And yet this thread, arguably the single most important characteristicof the Abrahamic movement, often remains out...

Guy G. Stroumsa is Professor Emeritus of the Study of the Abrahamic Religions at the University of Oxford and Martin Buber Professor of Comparative Religion Emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He obtained his PhD from Harvard in 1978. Professor Stroumsa received a Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Zurich in 2004,...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.8 inPublished:August 30, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198738862

ISBN - 13:9780198738862

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Table of Contents

Introduction: From Qumran to Qur'an: The Religious Worlds of Late AntiquityPart I: Transformations of Religion in Late Antiquity1. The End of Sacrifice2. Patterns of RationalizationPart II: The True Prophet3. False Prophets of Early Christianity4. False Prophet and False Messiah5. Seal of the ProphetsPart III: Religious Communities and God's Law6. Religious Dynamics between Jews and Christians7. God's Rule in Late AntiquityPart IV: The Way to Mecca8. Jewish-Christians and Islamic Origins9. Christian Memories and Dreams of Jerusalem10. Barbarians or Heretics?Envoi: Athens, Jerusalem, Mecca: praeparatio coranica