Christianity was, sociologically speaking, a sect.
This volume aims to offer a comprehensive overview of the development of Christian theology from the subapostolic
era to the time of the Arian controversy.
203-21, and "Wealth in the Subapostolic
102) that "the 'hymn of universal faith'," which follows the dismissal, "is undoubtedly the Nicene Creed." If, without ambiguity and without dissimulation, Pseudo-Dionysus indeed was referring to the Nicene Creed, then the multiple anachronisms which that reference must connote ought to have been so apparent to such early critics as Hypatius of Ephesus as to have impugned the subapostolic
reputation of The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy on grounds quite independent of those alleging heresy.
differentiates the role of those who elect and those who acclaim, but, like Duval, he defends the idea that local groups had a role in elections well beyond the subapostolic
Africa has a continuous Christian history since subapostolic
times, a history that antedates not only Western missions to Africa but also the Islamic presence there.
Thus we can identify two main hypotheses, together with various branch points, with which to approach the historical data, data whose classical loci are the immediate subapostolic
writings of 1 Clement and the letters of Ignatius of Antioch.
His findings are summarized in thirteen short and readable chapters, divided into five sections, which move chronologically from the Jewish mission, with its (much-debated) terminology, through the New Testament usage of the term "apostolic," to the early church and the subapostolic
period, ending with an analysis of the emergence of the Nicene "notes." He concludes, as indicated by the title of the book, that it is crucial that the church today, as it was for the Nicene church, to regain the primary sense of apostolicity as the church's faithful continuation of the missionary vocation of the initial apostolic community.
The topics covered are geopolitics and ethnic culture ("The Context"); the apostolic and subapostolic
period ("Christian Origins and Development"); internal organization ("Community Formation and Maintenance"); life as usual ("Everyday Christian Experience"); theology ("The Intellectual Heritage"); material culture ("The Artistic Heritage"); social pressures and persecutions ("External Challenges"); non-conformity, diversity, and what I would provocatively call heresy ("Internal Challenges"); and notable figures ("Profiles").
One finds evidence in the Gospels of both Matthew and Luke that already in the subapostolic
era, church leaders were beginning to succumb to the allure of "clericalism." By clericalism I mean the sinful abuse of a position of responsible leadership in the Church for the purpose either of self-aggrandizement or of oppressing others through some form of coercion.
Discussing the various pilgrimages to Rome itself, they write "The Roman pilgrimage was prototypical in that it represented the genesis and fast growth, in the apostolic and subapostolic
age, of the Roman structuration of the original Christian message."(65) The significance of this is that even so structured a reality as the Catholic Church is only a liminal once even a "ludic" (playful) structure--over against the state, which has all the economic and political power.