Notes on Early Christian Churches

Related posts:

From Encountering the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Paleography & New Testament by Philip W. Comfort (see Annotated Bibliography on New Testament Text and Canon).

By the end of the second century, there was a church in almost every major city [in the Greco-Roman world].  [Kindle location 1353]

There were, of course, other churches in villages and the countryside. But these city churches totaled forty-three in the first century and another fifty-four in the second. Roughly, one hundred local churches were in existence by the year 200.  [Kindle location 1369]

From Destroyer of the Gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World by Larry W. Hurtado, Baylor University Press, 2016, page 3.  In his footnote, Hurtado cites as his source Keith Hopkins in “Christian Number and Its Implications (Journal of Early Christian Studies, 1998) for this information.  He also cites two additional sources for this kind of information.

One recent estimate of the number of sites where there were bodies or “communities” of Christians posits a hundred or so (many of these comprising several house-based groups) by 100 AD and two hundred to four hundred sites by 200 AD.

New Evidence on When Bible Was Written: Ancient Shopping Lists 

Excerpt:

…a new analysis of the handwriting suggests that literacy may have been far more widespread than previously known in the Holy Land around 600 B.C., toward the end of the First Temple period. The findings, according to the researchers from Tel Aviv University, could have some bearing on a century-old debate about when the main body of biblical texts was composed.

(a 5-minute read; 1,142 words)

Source: New Evidence on When Bible Was Written: Ancient Shopping Lists – The New York Times (April 11, 2016)

The Reliability of the Oral Tradition That Preceded the New Testament

This 14:49 video discusses the oral tradition about Jesus which preceded, and was the basis for, the written texts we have in the New Testament.

Excerpt (14:14 through 14:35):

Scholars estimate the reliability of an oral tradition can last for over a century before we could expect corruption to seep in.  Gilbert Garraghan says it cannot go past 150 years (A Guide to Historial Method, p. 259-262).  Marelene Ciklamini sets the limit at 200 years (Old Norse Epic and Historical Tradition, p. 21).  This is well within the time frame of when the New Testament was written down even if we take the latest dates for when the books were written.

The Reliability of the New Testament (Oral Tradition) – YouTube. (Source:  Inspiring Philosophy)

What Were the Disciples Saying About Jesus Prior to Writing the Gospels? | J. Warner Wallace

J. Warner Wallace shares a panel discussion with Gary Habermas.

(6 min read; 1,494 words)

What Were the Disciples Saying About Jesus Prior to Writing the Gospels? | Cold Case Christianity.

A Deeper Look at the Reliability of the Bible by Craig Keener

In this post, Craig Keener looks at three different historical periods covered by the Bible – the times of Abraham, Israel’s Kings, and Jesus – and explains how our historical knowledge of each period differs.  In providing this nuance, Keener helps us to see how unwarranted skepticism about the historical reliability of the Bible really is.

(16 min read; 3,897 words)

A Deeper Look at If the Bible Is Reliable.

(HT:  The Poached Egg from Ratio Christi)

Dan Wallace and Darrell Bock on the Formation of the New Testament Canon

The first half of this clip features Dan Wallace; the second half, Darrell Bock.

(Time 5:50)

A Corrective on Orality in Early Christianity from Larry Hurtado

The link below takes you to an abstract of Larry’s full article.  (The article itself is 20 pages and heavily footnoted.)

(1 min read; 253 words)

“Performance Criticism”: A Critique | Larry Hurtado’s Blog.