Chapter 1

Adoptionism: The view that Jesus was not divine, but a flesh-and-blood human being who was adopted at baptism to be God’s son.

Apocalypse: A literary genre in which an author, usually pseudonymous, reports symbolic dreams or visions, given or interpreted through an angelic mediator, that reveal the heavenly mysteries that can make sense of earthly realities.

Apocrypha: A Greek term meaning, literally, “hidden things,” used of books on the fringe of the Jewish or Christian canons of Scripture. The Jewish apocrypha comprises books found in the Septuagint but not in the Hebrew Bible, including 1 and 2 Maccabees and 4 Ezra.

Apostle: Generally, one who is commissioned to perform a task, from a Greek word meaning “sent”; in early Christianity, the term was used to designate special emissaries of the faith who were understood to be representatives of Christ. See also Disciple.

Apostolic Fathers: A collection of noncanonical writings penned by proto-orthodox Christians of the second century who were traditionally thought to have been followers of the apostles; some of these works were considered Scripture in parts of the early church.

Athanasius: An influential fourth-century Church Father and bishop of the large and important church in Alexandria, Egypt. Athanasius was the first church writer to list our twenty-seven New Testament books (and only those books) as forming the canon.

B.C.E. / C.E.: Abbreviations for “before the Common Era” and the “Common Era” respectively, used as exact equivalents of the Christian designations “before Christ” (B.C.) and “anno domini” (A.D., a Latin phrase meaning “year of our Lord”).

Canon: From a Greek word meaning “ruler” or “straight edge.” The term came to designate any recognized collection of texts; the canon of the New Testament is thus the collection of books that Christians accept as authoritative.

Ebionites: A group of second-century adoptionists who maintained Jewish practices and Jewish forms of worship.

Epistle: Another designation for a private letter. Some scholars have differentiated between “epistles” as literary writings in the form of a letter, which were meant for general distribution, rather than for an individual recipient, and “letters” that were a nonliterary form of personal correspondence. This differentiation between epistles and letters is not widely held today, however, so that the terms tend to be used synonymously.

Gentile: A Jewish designation for a non-Jew.

Gnosticism: A group of ancient religions, some of them closely related to Christianity, that maintained that elements of the divine had become entrapped in this evil world of matter and could be released only when they acquired the secret gnosis (Greek for “knowledge”) of who they were and how they could escape. Gnosis was generally thought to be brought by an emissary of the divine realm.

Gospel: When this word is capitalized, it refers to a literarygenre: a written account of the “good news”brought by Jesus Christ, including episodes involvinghis words and/or deeds (e.g., the Gospel of Luke or ofPeter).

Heresy: Any worldview or set of beliefs deemed by thosein power to be deviant, from a Greek word meaning“choice” (because “heretics” have “chosen” to deviatefrom the “truth”). See also Orthodoxy.

Law: See Torah.

Manuscript: Any handwritten copy of a literary text.

Marcion: A second-century Christian scholar and evangelist,later labeled a heretic for his docetic Christology andhis belief in two Gods—the harsh legalistic God of the Jewsand the merciful loving God of Jesus—views that heclaimed to have found in the writings of Paul.

Nag Hammadi: Village in upper (southern) Egypt, near the place where a collection of Gnostic writings, including the Gospel of Thomas,were discovered in 1945.

Proto-orthodox Christianity: A form of Christianityendorsed by some Christians of the second and third centuries(including the Apostolic Fathers), which promoteddoctrines that were declared “orthodox” in the fourthand later centuries by the victorious Christian party, inopposition to such groups as the Ebionites, the Marcionites,and the Gnostics.

Torah: A Hebrew word that means “guidance” or “direction” but is usually translated “law.” As a technical term it designates either the Law of God given to Moses or the first five books of the Jewish Bible that Moses was traditionally thought to have written— Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Chapter 2

Autograph: The original manuscript of a literary text,from a Greek word meaning “the writing itself.”

Manuscript: Any handwritten copy of a literary text.

Papyrus: A reed-like plant that grows principally around the Nile, whose stalk was used for the manufacture of a paper-like writing surface in antiquity.

Scribes, Christian: Literate Christians responsible for copying sacred Scripture.

Scriptio Continua: The ancient practice of writingwithout using spaces to separate words.

Textual Criticism: An academic discipline that seeksto establish the original wording of a text based on thesurviving manuscripts.

Chapter 3

Alexander the Great: The great military leader of Macedonia(356–323 B.C.E.) whose armies conquered much ofthe eastern Mediterranean and who was responsible forthe spread of Greek culture (Hellenism) throughout thelands he conquered.

Apollonius of Tyana: A pagan philosopher and holy man of the first century C.E., reported to have done miracles and delivered divinely inspired teachings, a man believed by some of his followers to be a son of God.

Augurs: A group of pagan priests in Rome who couldinterpret the will of the gods by “taking the auspices.” Seealso Auspicy.

Augustus, Caesar: See Octavian.

Auspicy: A form of divination in which speciallyappointed priests could determine the will of the gods byobserving the flight patterns or eating habits of birds. Seealso Divination.

Canon: From a Greek word meaning “ruler” or “straightedge.” The term came to designate any recognized collectionof texts; the canon of the New Testament is thusthe collection of books that Christians accept as authoritative.

Cult: Shortened form of cultus deorum, a Latin phrasethat literally means “care of the gods,” generally used ofany set of religious practices of worship. In pagan religions,these normally involved acts of sacrifice andprayer.

Daimonia: Category of divine beings in the Greco-Roman world. Daimonia were widely thought to be less powerful than the gods but far more powerful than humans and capable of influencing human lives.

Divination: Any practice used to ascertain the will ofthe gods. See also Auspicy; Extispicy.

Epicureans: Ancient group of followers of the Greekphilosopher Epicurus, who maintained that the gods wereremoved from the concerns of human life and so were notto be feared or placated. Happiness came in establishinga peaceful harmony with other like-minded people andenjoying the simple pleasures of daily existence.

Equestrian: The second-highest socioeconomic class of ancient Rome (below the senator class), comprising wealthy aristocrats.

Extispicy: A form of divination in Greek and Romanreligions in which a specially appointed priest (haruspex)would examine the entrails of a sacrificed animalto determine whether it had been accepted by the gods.

Genius: A man’s guardian spirit (that of a woman wascalled Iuno).

Gentile: A Jewish designation for a non-Jew.

Gospel: When this word is capitalized, it refers to a literarygenre: a written account of the “good news”brought by Jesus Christ, including episodes involvinghis words and/or deeds (e.g., the Gospel of Luke or ofPeter).

Greco-Roman World: The lands (and culture) around the Mediterranean from the time of Alexander the Great to the Emperor Constantine, roughly 300 B.C.E. to 300 C.E. (see also Box 3.2).

Haruspex: In Roman religion, a specially trained priestskilled in the practice of extispicy.

Hellenization: The spread of Greek language and culture(Hellenism) throughout the Mediterranean, startingwith the conquests of Alexander the Great.

Isis: Egyptian goddess worshiped in mystery cults throughoutthe Roman world.

Lares: Household deities commonly worshiped in homesthroughout the Roman world, thought to protect thehome and its inhabitants, and often identified with thespirits of the family’s ancestors.

Magic: A term that is notoriously hard to define, “magic”usually refers to religious practices that are not sanctionedby society at large or by the community in which they arefound. Sometimes magic is referred to as the “dark side” ofreligion, involving sacred activities and words that aresocially marginalized.

Mithras: A Persian deity worshiped in a mystery cultspread throughout the Roman world.

Monotheism: The belief that there is only one God (sometimes distinguished from “henotheism,” which acknowledges that other gods exist but insists that only one is to be worshiped).

Mystery Cults: A group of Greco-Roman religions thatfocused on the devotees’ individual needs both in this lifeand in life after death, so named because their initiationrituals and cultic practices involved the disclosure of hiddenthings that were to be kept secret from outsiders.

Octavian: The first Roman emperor, 27 B.C.E.–14 C.E.Octavian was the great-nephew and adopted son of JuliusCaesar, and a great general who brought unity to Romeafter it had experienced prolonged and bloody civil wars.Early in his reign Octavian assumed the name “CaesarAugustus,” which means something like “most reveredemperor.”

Oracle: A sacred place where the gods answered questions brought by their worshipers to the resident holy person—a priest or, more commonly, a priestess—who would often deliver the divine response in a trance-like state; the term can also refer to the divine answer itself.

Paganism: Any of the polytheistic religions of the Greco-Roman world, an umbrella term for ancient Mediterranean religions other than Judaism and Christianity.

Penates: Household deities commonly worshipedthroughout the Roman world, thought to protect thepantry and foodstuffs in the home.

Plato: Famous Greek philosopher from fourth-centuryB.C.E. Athens, many of whose ideas—including the tensionbetween the realms of matters and spirit—influencedChristian thinkers in the early centuries of thechurch.

Polytheism: The belief that there are many gods, a beliefthat lies at the heart of all of the ancient pagan religions.

Roman Empire: All of the lands conquered by Rome and ruled, ultimately, by the Roman emperor, starting with Caesar Augustus in 27 B.C.E.; prior to that, Rome was a republic ruled by the Senate (see also Box 3.3).

Son of God: In most Greco-Roman circles, the designation of a person born to a god, able to perform miraculous deeds and/or to convey superhuman teachings; in Jewish circles, the designation of persons chosen to stand in a special relationship with the God of Israel, including the ancient Jewish kings.

Stoics: Greco-Roman philosophers who urged people tounderstand the way the world worked and to live inaccordance with it, letting nothing outside of themselvesaffect their internal state of well-being.

Chapter 4

Alexander the Great: The great military leader of Macedonia(356–323 B.C.E.) whose armies conquered much ofthe eastern Mediterranean and who was responsible forthe spread of Greek culture (Hellenism) throughout thelands he conquered.

Antiochus Epiphanes: The Syrian monarch whoattempted to force the Jews of Palestine to adopt Greek culture,leading to the Maccabean revolt in 167 B.C.E.

Associations, Voluntary: In the Greco-Roman world, privately organized small groups of people who shared common interests and met periodically to socialize, enjoy a common meal, and conduct business; two of the best-known types were trade associations (composed of members of the same profession) and burial societies.

Covenant: An agreement or treaty between two social or political parties; used by ancient Jews in reference to the pact that God made to protect and preserve them as his chosen people in exchange for their devotion and adherence to his Law.

Cult: Shortened form of cultus deorum, a Latin phrasethat literally means “care of the gods,” generally used ofany set of religious practices of worship. In pagan religions,these normally involved acts of sacrifice andprayer.

Daimonia: Category of divine beings in the Greco-Roman world. Daimonia were widely thought to be less powerful than the gods but far more powerful than humans and capable of influencing human lives.

Day of Atonement: In Hebrew, Yom Kippur, the one day of the year when the high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple, to sacrifice first an animal to atone for his own sins, and then another animal to atone for the sins of the people of Israel.

Dead Sea Scrolls: Ancient Jewish writings discovered in several caves near the northwest edge of the Dead Sea, widely thought to have been produced by a group of apocalyptically minded Essenes who lived in a monastic-like community from Maccabean times through the Jewish War of 66–70 C.E. See also Essenes; Qumran.

Diaspora: Greek for “dispersion,” a term that refers tothe dispersion of Jews away from Palestine into otherparts of the Mediterranean, beginning with the Babylonianconquests in the sixth century B.C.E.

Essenes: An apocalyptic and ascetic Jewish sect startedduring the Maccabean period, members of which are generallythought to have produced the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Fourth Philosophy: A group of Jews that Josephus mentionsbut leaves unnamed, characterized by their insistenceon violent opposition to the foreign domination of thePromised Land. See also Sicarii; Zealots.

Greco-Roman World: The lands (and culture) around the Mediterranean from the time of Alexander the Great to the Emperor Constantine, roughly 300 B.C.E. to 300 C.E. (see also Box 3.2).

Hanina ben Dosa: A well-known Galilean rabbi of the first century who was reputed to have done miracles comparable to those of Jesus.

Hasmoneans: An alternative name for the Maccabeans,the family of Jewish priests that began the revolt againstSyria in 167 B.C.E. and that ruled Israel prior to theRoman conquest of 63 B.C.E.

Hellenization: The spread of Greek language and culture(Hellenism) throughout the Mediterranean, startingwith the conquests of Alexander the Great.

Herod Antipas: Son of Herod the Great, and ruler of Galilee from 4 to 39 C.E.; this is the Herod who executed John the Baptist and who was involved with the trial of Jesus according to the Gospel of Luke (and the Gospel of Peter).

Herod the Great: Ruler of all of Galilee, Samaria, and Judea (and so “king of the Jews”) from 40 to 4 B.C.E.; this Herod was allegedly ruling when Jesus was born and is known in Christian history for killing all the baby boys of Bethlehem in an attempt to destroy the infant Jesus (based on the account in Matthew).

Holy of Holies: The innermost part of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, which was completely empty but in which God’s presence on earth was believed to dwell. No one could enter this room except the high priest on the Day of Atonement, to make a sacrifice for the sins of the people.

Honi the “Circle-Drawer”: A first-century B.C.E.Galilean who was reputed to have done miracles and hadexperiences similar to those of Jesus.

Josephus: First-century Jewish historian appointed court historian by the Roman Emperor Vespasian, whose works The Jewish War and The Antiquities of the Jews are principal resources for information about life in first-century Palestine.

Judas Maccabeus: Jewish patriot who led the familyresponsible for spearheading the Maccabean revolt. Seealso Hasmoneans.

Law: See Torah.

Maccabean Revolt: The Jewish uprising against the Syriansand their king, Antiochus Epiphanes, starting in 167B.C.E., in protest against the forced imposition of Hellenisticculture and the proscription of Jewish practices such ascircumcision. See also Hasmoneans.

Messiah: From a Hebrew word that literally means “anointed one,” translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations about whom this anointed one might be, with some Jews anticipating a future warrior-king like David, others a cosmic redeemer from heaven, others an authoritative priest, and still others a powerful spokesperson from God like Moses.

Mishnah:A collection of oral traditions passed on bygenerations of Jewish rabbis who saw themselves as thedescendants of the Pharisees, finally put into writingaround 200 C.E. See also Talmud.

Monotheism: The belief that there is only one God (sometimes distinguished from “henotheism,” which acknowledges that other gods exist but insists that only one is to be worshiped).

Paganism: Any of the polytheistic religions of the Greco-Roman world, an umbrella term for ancient Mediterranean religions other than Judaism and Christianity.

Pentateuch: Literally, the “five scrolls” in Greek, a termused to designate the first five books of the Hebrew Bible,also known as the Torah or the Law of Moses.

Pesher: An ancient Jewish way of interpreting Scripture, frequently used in the commentaries from the Dead Sea Scrolls, in which a text was explained as having its fulfillment in persons or events of the present day.

Pharisees: A Jewish sect, which may have originatedduring the Maccabean period, that emphasized strictadherence to the purity laws set forth in the Torah. Seealso Mishnah.

Qumran: Place near the northwest shore of the DeadSea, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1946,evidently home to the group of Essenes who had used theScrolls as part of their library.

Resurrection: The doctrine originally devised within circles of apocalyptic Judaism that maintained that at the end of the present age those who had died would be brought back to life in order to face judgment: either torment for those who had opposed God or reward for those who had sided with God. The earliest Christians believed that Jesus had been raised and concluded therefore that the end of the age had already begun (see Firstfruits of the Resurrection). In Christian apocalyptic thought it was believed that the rewards and punishments of the future resurrection would hinge on one’s relationship to Christ, as either a believer or a nonbeliever.

Sadducees: A Jewish party associated with the Temple cult and the Jewish priests who ran it, comprising principally the Jewish aristocracy in Judea. The party leader, the high priest, served as the highest-ranking local official and chief liaison with the Roman governor.

Sanhedrin: A council of Jewish leaders headed by the high priest that played an advisory role in matters of religious and civil policy.

Septuagint: The translation of the Hebrew Scripturesinto Greek, so named because of a tradition that seventy(Latin: septuaginta) Jewish scholars had produced it.

Sicarii: A Latin term meaning, literally, “daggermen,” adesignation for a group of first-century Jews responsible forthe assassination of Jewish aristocrats thought to have collaboratedwith the Romans. See also Fourth Philosophy.

Synagogue: Jewish place of worship and prayer, from aGreek word that literally means “being broughttogether.”

Talmud: The great collection of ancient Jewish traditions that comprises the Mishnah and the later commentaries on the Mishnah, called the Gemarah. There are two collections of the Talmud, one made in Palestine during the early fifth century C.E. and the other made in Babylon perhaps a century later. The Babylonian Talmud is generally considered the more authoritative.

Temple: In pagan circles, a temple was any holy placedevoted to one or more divine beings where sacrificescould be made in accordance with established religiousprinciples. For Judaism there was only one legitimateTemple, the one in Jerusalem, an enormous complexthat contained the holy sanctuary and, within it, theHoly of Holies, where God’s presence on earth wasbelieved to dwell.

Torah: A Hebrew word that means “guidance” or “direction” but is usually translated “law.” As a technical term it designates either the Law of God given to Moses or the first five books of the Jewish Bible that Moses was traditionally thought to have written— Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Tradition: Any doctrine, idea, practice, or custom thathas been handed down from one person to another.

Zealots: A group of Galilean Jews who fled to Jerusalem during the uprising against Rome in 66–70 C.E., where they overthrew the reigning aristocracy in the city and urged violent resistance to the bitter end. See also Fourth Philosophy.

Chapter 5

Apostle: Generally, one who is commissioned to performa task, from a Greek word meaning “sent”; in earlyChristianity, the term was used to designate special emissariesof the faith who were understood to be representativesof Christ. See also Disciple.

Asclepius: A popular Greek god known in particular forhis ability to heal the sick.

Baptism: From the Greek term baptizo, which means “to immerse.” The earliest Christian practice of baptism in water appears to have been an initiation rite (i.e., a ritual that one underwent when joining the Christian community); it probably derived from the practice of John the Baptist, who baptized Jews, including Jesus, in anticipation of the imminent arrival of the end of this age and the coming of the Kingdom of God. (Jewish cleansing rituals were repeated as the need arose; John’s baptism, like that of later Christians, appears to have been a one-time occurrence.) Later Christians assigned other meanings to the rite: the apostle Paul, for example, saw it as the mystical act of dying with Christ to sin. See Participationist Model.

Gospel: When this word is capitalized, it refers to a literarygenre: a written account of the “good news”brought by Jesus Christ, including episodes involvinghis words and/or deeds (e.g., the Gospel of Luke or ofPeter).

Greco-Roman World: The lands (and culture) around the Mediterranean from the time of Alexander the Great to the Emperor Constantine, roughly 300 B.C.E. to 300 C.E. (see also Box 3.2).

Paganism: Any of the polytheistic religions of the Greco-Roman world, an umbrella term for ancient Mediterranean religions other than Judaism and Christianity.

Passover: The most important and widely celebrated annual festival of Jews in Roman times, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt.

Pontius Pilate: Roman aristocrat who served as the governorof Judea from 26 to 36 C.E., and who was responsiblefor ordering Jesus’ crucifixion.

Roman Empire: All of the lands conquered by Rome and ruled, ultimately, by the Roman emperor, starting with Caesar Augustus in 27 B.C.E.; prior to that, Rome was a republic ruled by the Senate (see also Box 3.3).

Sanhedrin: A council of Jewish leaders headed by the high priest that played an advisory role in matters of religious and civil policy.

Temple: In pagan circles, a temple was any holy placedevoted to one or more divine beings where sacrificescould be made in accordance with established religiousprinciples. For Judaism there was only one legitimateTemple, the one in Jerusalem, an enormous complexthat contained the holy sanctuary and, within it, theHoly of Holies, where God’s presence on earth wasbelieved to dwell.

Tradition: Any doctrine, idea, practice, or custom thathas been handed down from one person to another.

Chapter 6

Alexander the Great: The great military leader of Macedonia(356–323 B.C.E.) whose armies conquered much ofthe eastern Mediterranean and who was responsible forthe spread of Greek culture (Hellenism) throughout thelands he conquered.

Apollonius of Tyana: A pagan philosopher and holy man of the first century C.E., reported to have done miracles and delivered divinely inspired teachings, a man believed by some of his followers to be a son of God.

Biography (Ancient): A literary genre consisting of a narrative of an individual’s life, often within a chronological framework, employing numerous subgenres (e.g., sayings, speeches, anecdotes, and conflict stories) in order to reflect important aspects of his or her character, principally for purposes of instruction, exhortation, or propaganda.

Genre: A kind of literature with specific literary features; in the modern world, for example, there are short stories, novels, and limericks (each with their own distinctive features); in the ancient world there were biographies, epic poems, general histories, and many others. The major genres of the New Testament are Gospels (which are most like religious biographies), Acts (most like general histories), epistles, and apocalypses.

Gospel: When this word is capitalized, it refers to a literarygenre: a written account of the “good news”brought by Jesus Christ, including episodes involvinghis words and/or deeds (e.g., the Gospel of Luke or ofPeter).

Paganism: Any of the polytheistic religions of the Greco-Roman world, an umbrella term for ancient Mediterranean religions other than Judaism and Christianity.

Plutarch: Famous philosopher, historian, and biographerof the second century (46–120 C.E.), known particularlyfor his essays on moral philosophy and the biographies hewrote of famous Greek and Roman men.

Suetonius: A Roman historian of the early second century C.E., best known for a multivolume collection of biographies of the Roman emperors, The Lives of the Caesars.

Tacitus: Roman historian of the early second centuryC.E., whose multivolume work The Annals of Rome providessubstantial information about Roman history fromthe beginning down to his own time.

Tradition: Any doctrine, idea, practice, or custom thathas been handed down from one person to another.

Chapter 7

Baptism: From the Greek term baptizo, which means “to immerse.” The earliest Christian practice of baptism in water appears to have been an initiation rite (i.e., a ritual that one underwent when joining the Christian community); it probably derived from the practice of John the Baptist, who baptized Jews, including Jesus, in anticipation of the imminent arrival of the end of this age and the coming of the Kingdom of God. (Jewish cleansing rituals were repeated as the need arose; John’s baptism, like that of later Christians, appears to have been a one-time occurrence.) Later Christians assigned other meanings to the rite: the apostle Paul, for example, saw it as the mystical act of dying with Christ to sin. See Participationist Model.

Biography (Ancient): A literary genre consisting of a narrative of an individual’s life, often within a chronological framework, employing numerous subgenres (e.g., sayings, speeches, anecdotes, and conflict stories) in order to reflect important aspects of his or her character, principally for purposes of instruction, exhortation, or propaganda.

Chief Priests: The leaders of the priests in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Many of them would have been actively involved in the Sanhedrin; their ultimate leader was the high priest.

Christ: See Messiah.

Cult: Shortened form of cultus deorum, a Latin phrasethat literally means “care of the gods,” generally used ofany set of religious practices of worship. In pagan religions,these normally involved acts of sacrifice andprayer.

Day of Atonement: In Hebrew, Yom Kippur, the one day of the year when the high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple, to sacrifice first an animal to atone for his own sins, and then another animal to atone for the sins of the people of Israel.

Gentile: A Jewish designation for a non-Jew.

Gospel: When this word is capitalized, it refers to a literarygenre: a written account of the “good news”brought by Jesus Christ, including episodes involvinghis words and/or deeds (e.g., the Gospel of Luke or ofPeter).

Greco-Roman World: The lands (and culture) around the Mediterranean from the time of Alexander the Great to the Emperor Constantine, roughly 300 B.C.E. to 300 C.E. (see also Box 3.2).

Hanina ben Dosa: A well-known Galilean rabbi of the first century who was reputed to have done miracles comparable to those of Jesus.

Herodians: A group of Jewish leaders, according to the Gospel of Mark, who were allegedly allied closely with the family of Herod and were therefore thought to be collaborators with the Romans.

Holy of Holies: The innermost part of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, which was completely empty but in which God’s presence on earth was believed to dwell. No one could enter this room except the high priest on the Day of Atonement, to make a sacrifice for the sins of the people.

Honi the “Circle-Drawer”: A first-century B.C.E.Galilean who was reputed to have done miracles and hadexperiences similar to those of Jesus.

Law: See Torah.

Messiah: From a Hebrew word that literally means “anointed one,” translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations about whom this anointed one might be, with some Jews anticipating a future warrior-king like David, others a cosmic redeemer from heaven, others an authoritative priest, and still others a powerful spokesperson from God like Moses.

Messianic Secret: A technical term used for one of the intriguing literary features of the Gospel of Mark, which is that even though Jesus is shown to be the messiah, he tries to keep his identity a secret (e.g., by silencing those who recognize him and by hushing up the reports of his miracles).

Paganism: Any of the polytheistic religions of the Greco-Roman world, an umbrella term for ancient Mediterranean religions other than Judaism and Christianity.

Passion: From a Greek word that means “suffering,”used as a technical term to refer to the traditions of Jesus’last days, up to and including his crucifixion (hence the“Passion narrative”).

Pharisees: A Jewish sect, which may have originatedduring the Maccabean period, that emphasized strictadherence to the purity laws set forth in the Torah. Seealso Mishnah.

Sadducees: A Jewish party associated with the Temple cult and the Jewish priests who ran it, comprising principally the Jewish aristocracy in Judea. The party leader, the high priest, served as the highest-ranking local official and chief liaison with the Roman governor.

Sanhedrin: A council of Jewish leaders headed by the high priest that played an advisory role in matters of religious and civil policy.

Scribes, Jewish: Highly educated experts in Jewish Law(and possibly its copyists) during the Greco-Romanperiod.

Septuagint: The translation of the Hebrew Scripturesinto Greek, so named because of a tradition that seventy(Latin: septuaginta) Jewish scholars had produced it.

Son of God: In most Greco-Roman circles, the designation of a person born to a god, able to perform miraculous deeds and/or to convey superhuman teachings; in Jewish circles, the designation of persons chosen to stand in a special relationship with the God of Israel, including the ancient Jewish kings.

Son of Man: A term whose meaning is much disputedamong modern scholars, used in some ancient apocalyptictexts to refer to a cosmic judge sent from heaven at theend of time.

Synagogue: Jewish place of worship and prayer, from aGreek word that literally means “being broughttogether.”

Temple: In pagan circles, a temple was any holy placedevoted to one or more divine beings where sacrificescould be made in accordance with established religiousprinciples. For Judaism there was only one legitimateTemple, the one in Jerusalem, an enormous complexthat contained the holy sanctuary and, within it, theHoly of Holies, where God’s presence on earth wasbelieved to dwell.

Chapter 8

Beatitudes: A Latin word meaning, literally, “blessings,” used as a technical term for the sayings of Jesus that begin the Sermon on the Mount (e.g., “Blessed are the poor in spirit . . .”; Matt 5:3–12).

Biography (Ancient): A literary genre consisting of a narrative of an individual’s life, often within a chronological framework, employing numerous subgenres (e.g., sayings, speeches, anecdotes, and conflict stories) in order to reflect important aspects of his or her character, principally for purposes of instruction, exhortation, or propaganda.

Four-Source Hypothesis: A solution to the “Synoptic Problem” that maintains that there are four sources that lie behind the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke: (1) Mark was the source for much of the narrative of Matthew and Luke; (2) Q was the source for the sayings found in Matthew and Luke but not in Mark; (3) M provided the material found only in Matthew’s Gospel; and (4) L provided the material found only in Luke.

Genre: A kind of literature with specific literary features; in the modern world, for example, there are short stories, novels, and limericks (each with their own distinctive features); in the ancient world there were biographies, epic poems, general histories, and many others. The major genres of the New Testament are Gospels (which are most like religious biographies), Acts (most like general histories), epistles, and apocalypses.

Genre Criticism: A method used to study a literary text by asking how its genre functioned in its historical context and thereby exploring its historical meaning (i.e., seeing how its meaning would have been understood to its earliest readers) in light of its literary characteristics.

L: A document (or documents, written or oral) that nolonger survives, but that evidently provided Luke withtraditions that are not found in Matthew or Mark. Seealso Four-Source Hypothesis.

M: A document (or documents, written or oral) that nolonger survives, but that evidently provided Matthewwith traditions that are not found in Mark or Luke. Seealso Four-Source Hypothesis.

Markan Priority: The view that Mark was the first ofthe Synoptic Gospels to be written and was one of thesources used by Matthew and Luke.

Q: The source used by both Matthew and Luke for the stories they share, principally sayings, that are not found in Mark; from the German word Quelle, “source.” The document no longer exists but can be reconstructed on the basis of Matthew and Luke.

Redaction Criticism: The study of how authors modified or edited (i.e., redacted) their sources in view of their own vested interests and concerns.

Synoptic Gospels: The Gospels of Matthew, Mark,and Luke, which narrate so many of the same storiesthat they can be placed side by side in parallel columnsand so “be seen together” (the literal meaning of“synoptic”).

Synoptic Problem: The problem of explaining the similaritiesand differences between the three SynopticGospels. See also Markan Priority; Q.

Chapter 9

Antitheses: Literally, “contrary statements,” used as a technical term to designate six sayings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:21–48) in which he states a Jewish law (“You have heard it said . . .”) and then sets his own interpretation over it (“But I say to you . . .”).

Apocalypticism: A worldview held by many ancient Jews and Christians that maintained that the present age is controlled by forces of evil, but that these will be destroyed at the end of time when God intervenes in history to bring in his Kingdom, an event thought to be imminent.

Baptism: From the Greek term baptizo, which means “to immerse.” The earliest Christian practice of baptism in water appears to have been an initiation rite (i.e., a ritual that one underwent when joining the Christian community); it probably derived from the practice of John the Baptist, who baptized Jews, including Jesus, in anticipation of the imminent arrival of the end of this age and the coming of the Kingdom of God. (Jewish cleansing rituals were repeated as the need arose; John’s baptism, like that of later Christians, appears to have been a one-time occurrence.) Later Christians assigned other meanings to the rite: the apostle Paul, for example, saw it as the mystical act of dying with Christ to sin. See Participationist Model.

Beatitudes: A Latin word meaning, literally, “blessings,” used as a technical term for the sayings of Jesus that begin the Sermon on the Mount (e.g., “Blessed are the poor in spirit . . .”; Matt 5:3–12).

Biography (Ancient): A literary genre consisting of a narrative of an individual’s life, often within a chronological framework, employing numerous subgenres (e.g., sayings, speeches, anecdotes, and conflict stories) in order to reflect important aspects of his or her character, principally for purposes of instruction, exhortation, or propaganda.

Fulfillment Citations: A literary device used byMatthew in which he states that something experiencedor done by Jesus “fulfilled” what was spoken of by aHebrew prophet in Scripture.

Gentile: A Jewish designation for a non-Jew.

Genre Criticism: A method used to study aliterary text by asking how its genre functioned in itshistorical context and thereby exploring its historicalmeaning (i.e., seeing how its meaning would have beenunderstood to its earliest readers) in light of its literarycharacteristics.

Golden Rule: Found in Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, this is Jesus’ saying that you should “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” A similar teaching can be found in a range of pagan and Jewish ethical teachings both before and after Jesus.

Gospel: When this word is capitalized, it refers to a literarygenre: a written account of the “good news”brought by Jesus Christ, including episodes involvinghis words and/or deeds (e.g., the Gospel of Luke or ofPeter).

Herod the Great: Ruler of all of Galilee, Samaria, and Judea (and so “king of the Jews”) from 40 to 4 B.C.E.; this Herod was allegedly ruling when Jesus was born and is known in Christian history for killing all the baby boys of Bethlehem in an attempt to destroy the infant Jesus (based on the account in Matthew).

Law: See Torah.

Marcion: A second-century Christian scholar and evangelist,later labeled a heretic for his docetic Christology andhis belief in two Gods—the harsh legalistic God of the Jewsand the merciful loving God of Jesus—views that heclaimed to have found in the writings of Paul.

Messiah: From a Hebrew word that literally means “anointed one,” translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations about whom this anointed one might be, with some Jews anticipating a future warrior-king like David, others a cosmic redeemer from heaven, others an authoritative priest, and still others a powerful spokesperson from God like Moses.

Paganism: Any of the polytheistic religions of the Greco-Roman world, an umbrella term for ancient Mediterranean religions other than Judaism and Christianity.

Passion: From a Greek word that means “suffering,”used as a technical term to refer to the traditions of Jesus’last days, up to and including his crucifixion (hence the“Passion narrative”).

Pharisees: A Jewish sect, which may have originatedduring the Maccabean period, that emphasized strictadherence to the purity laws set forth in the Torah. Seealso Mishnah.

Pontius Pilate: Roman aristocrat who served as the governorof Judea from 26 to 36 C.E., and who was responsiblefor ordering Jesus’ crucifixion.

Prophet: In ancient Israelite religion, a prophet was a person who delivered God’s message to his people; eventually the term came to refer to writers who produced literary accounts of God’s word (e.g., Isaiah and Jeremiah). In Christian circles prophets were those who spoke God’s message in the community’s services of worship, possibly, on occasion, in a state of ecstasy.

Proto-orthodox Christianity: A form of Christianityendorsed by some Christians of the second and third centuries(including the Apostolic Fathers), which promoteddoctrines that were declared “orthodox” in the fourthand later centuries by the victorious Christian party, inopposition to such groups as the Ebionites, the Marcionites,and the Gnostics.

Q: The source used by both Matthew and Luke for the stories they share, principally sayings, that are not found in Mark; from the German word Quelle, “source.” The document no longer exists but can be reconstructed on the basis of Matthew and Luke.

Redaction Criticism: The study of how authors modified or edited (i.e., redacted) their sources in view of their own vested interests and concerns.

Sadducees: A Jewish party associated with the Temple cult and the Jewish priests who ran it, comprising principally the Jewish aristocracy in Judea. The party leader, the high priest, served as the highest-ranking local official and chief liaison with the Roman governor.

Scribes, Jewish: Highly educated experts in Jewish Law(and possibly its copyists) during the Greco-Romanperiod.

Sermon on the Mount: The sermon found only in Matthew 5–7, which preserves many of the best-known sayings of Jesus (including Matthew’s form of the Beatitudes, the Antitheses, and the Lord’s Prayer).

Son of God: In most Greco-Roman circles, the designation of a person born to a god, able to perform miraculous deeds and/or to convey superhuman teachings; in Jewish circles, the designation of persons chosen to stand in a special relationship with the God of Israel, including the ancient Jewish kings.

Son of Man: A term whose meaning is much disputedamong modern scholars, used in some ancient apocalyptictexts to refer to a cosmic judge sent from heaven at theend of time.

Temple: In pagan circles, a temple was any holy placedevoted to one or more divine beings where sacrificescould be made in accordance with established religiousprinciples. For Judaism there was only one legitimateTemple, the one in Jerusalem, an enormous complexthat contained the holy sanctuary and, within it, theHoly of Holies, where God’s presence on earth wasbelieved to dwell.

Torah: A Hebrew word that means “guidance” or “direction” but is usually translated “law.” As a technical term it designates either the Law of God given to Moses or the first five books of the Jewish Bible that Moses was traditionally thought to have written— Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Tradition: Any doctrine, idea, practice, or custom thathas been handed down from one person to another.

Chapter 10

Apology: A reasoned explanation and justification ofone’s beliefs and/or practices, from a Greek word meaning“defense.”

Augustus, Caesar: See Octavian.

Biography (Ancient): A literary genre consisting of a narrative of an individual’s life, often within a chronological framework, employing numerous subgenres (e.g., sayings, speeches, anecdotes, and conflict stories) in order to reflect important aspects of his or her character, principally for purposes of instruction, exhortation, or propaganda.

Comparative Method: A method used to study a literarytext by noting its similarities to and differences fromother, related, texts, whether or not any of these othertexts was used as a source for the text in question.

General History: A genre of ancient literature thattraced the significant events in the history of a people toshow how their character (as a people) was established.Examples of the genre include Josephus’s Antiquities of theJews and the Acts of the Apostles.

Genre: A kind of literature with specific literary features; in the modern world, for example, there are short stories, novels, and limericks (each with their own distinctive features); in the ancient world there were biographies, epic poems, general histories, and many others. The major genres of the New Testament are Gospels (which are most like religious biographies), Acts (most like general histories), epistles, and apocalypses.

Genre Criticism: A method used to study a literary text by asking how its genre functioned in its historical context and thereby exploring its historical meaning (i.e., seeing how its meaning would have been understood to its earliest readers) in light of its literary characteristics.

Gentile: A Jewish designation for a non-Jew.

Gospel: When this word is capitalized, it refers to a literarygenre: a written account of the “good news”brought by Jesus Christ, including episodes involvinghis words and/or deeds (e.g., the Gospel of Luke or ofPeter).

Herod the Great: Ruler of all of Galilee, Samaria, and Judea (and so “king of the Jews”) from 40 to 4 B.C.E.; this Herod was allegedly ruling when Jesus was born and is known in Christian history for killing all the baby boys of Bethlehem in an attempt to destroy the infant Jesus (based on the account in Matthew).

Historiography: The literary reconstruction of historical events; the writing of history; and the study and analysis of historical narrative.

Kingdom of God: In the teachings of Jesus, the Kingdom of God (or God’s reign) appears to refer to an actual kingdom that will come to earth to replace the wicked kingdoms that are now in control of affairs, and of God’s people, here. This would be a utopian kingdom through which truth, peace, and justice were restored; it would be ruled by God’s anointed one (i.e., the messiah).

Law: See Torah.

Manuscript: Any handwritten copy of a literary text.

Markan Priority: The view that Mark was the first ofthe Synoptic Gospels to be written and was one of thesources used by Matthew and Luke.

Martyr: From the Greek word martus,which literally means “witness.” Christian martyrs are those who “bear witness” to Christ, even to the point of death.

Messiah: From a Hebrew word that literally means “anointed one,” translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations about whom this anointed one might be, with some Jews anticipating a future warrior-king like David, others a cosmic redeemer from heaven, others an authoritative priest, and still others a powerful spokesperson from God like Moses.

Passion: From a Greek word that means “suffering,”used as a technical term to refer to the traditions of Jesus’last days, up to and including his crucifixion (hence the“Passion narrative”).

Pontius Pilate: Roman aristocrat who served as the governorof Judea from 26 to 36 C.E., and who was responsiblefor ordering Jesus’ crucifixion.

Prophet: In ancient Israelite religion, a prophet was a person who delivered God’s message to his people; eventually the term came to refer to writers who produced literary accounts of God’s word (e.g., Isaiah and Jeremiah). In Christian circles prophets were those who spoke God’s message in the community’s services of worship, possibly, on occasion, in a state of ecstasy.

Q: The source used by both Matthew and Luke for the stories they share, principally sayings, that are not found in Mark; from the German word Quelle, “source.” The document no longer exists but can be reconstructed on the basis of Matthew and Luke.

Redaction Criticism: The study of how authors modified or edited (i.e., redacted) their sources in view of their own vested interests and concerns.

Son of God: In most Greco-Roman circles, the designation of a person born to a god, able to perform miraculous deeds and/or to convey superhuman teachings; in Jewish circles, the designation of persons chosen to stand in a special relationship with the God of Israel, including the ancient Jewish kings.

Son of Man: A term whose meaning is much disputedamong modern scholars, used in some ancient apocalyptictexts to refer to a cosmic judge sent from heaven at theend of time.

Temple: In pagan circles, a temple was any holy placedevoted to one or more divine beings where sacrificescould be made in accordance with established religiousprinciples. For Judaism there was only one legitimateTemple, the one in Jerusalem, an enormous complexthat contained the holy sanctuary and, within it, theHoly of Holies, where God’s presence on earth wasbelieved to dwell.

Theophilus: The person to whom “Luke” addresses both of his volumes, the Gospel and the book of Acts. Scholars debate whether Theophilus was a real person—possibly a highly placed Roman administrator—or whether the name is instead symbolic. It literally means either “beloved of God” or “lover of God.” If symbolic, it would refer to the Christian individuals or communities who were the author’s intended audience.

Tradition: Any doctrine, idea, practice, or custom thathas been handed down from one person to another.

Chapter 11

Apocalypticism: A worldview held by many ancient Jews and Christians that maintained that the present age is controlled by forces of evil, but that these will be destroyed at the end of time when God intervenes in history to bring in his Kingdom, an event thought to be imminent.

Apollonius of Tyana: A pagan philosopher and holy man of the first century C.E., reported to have done miracles and delivered divinely inspired teachings, a man believed by some of his followers to be a son of God.

Beloved Disciple: Nickname for the “disciple whom Jesusloved” in the Gospel of John, who plays a prominent rolein the Passion narrative but is never named. Older traditionidentified him as John the son of Zebedee and claimedthat it was he who wrote the Gospel.

Biography (Ancient): A literary genre consisting of a narrative of an individual’s life, often within a chronological framework, employing numerous subgenres (e.g., sayings, speeches, anecdotes, and conflict stories) in order to reflect important aspects of his or her character, principally for purposes of instruction, exhortation, or propaganda.

Christology: Any teaching about the nature of Christ.See also Adoptionism; Docetism.

Comparative Method: A method used to study a literarytext by noting its similarities to and differences fromother, related, texts, whether or not any of these othertexts was used as a source for the text in question.

Farewell Discourse: The final discourse that Jesus deliversin the Gospel of John (and not found in the Synoptics),chaps. 13–16 (sometimes thought to include Jesus’prayer of chapter 17 as well); this discourse may havebeen created by combining two different accounts ofJesus’ last words to his disciples before his arrest.

Genre: A kind of literature with specific literary features; in the modern world, for example, there are short stories, novels, and limericks (each with their own distinctive features); in the ancient world there were biographies, epic poems, general histories, and many others. The major genres of the New Testament are Gospels (which are most like religious biographies), Acts (most like general histories), epistles, and apocalypses.

Genre Criticism: A method used to study a literary text by asking how its genre functioned in its historical context and thereby exploring its historical meaning (i.e., seeing how its meaning would have been understood to its earliest readers) in light of its literary characteristics.

“I Am” Sayings: A group of sayings found only in the Gospel of John in which Jesus identifies himself. In some of the sayings he speaks in metaphor (“I am the bread of life”; “I am the light of the world”; “I am the way, the truth, and the life”), and other times he identifies himself simply by saying “I am”—a possible reference to the name of God from Exodus 3 (“Before Abraham was, I am”; John 8:58).

Johannine Community: The community of Christians inwhich the Gospel of John and the Johannine epistles werewritten. We do not know where the community waslocated, but we can reconstruct some of its history usingthe socio-historical method.

Messiah: From a Hebrew word that literally means “anointed one,” translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations about whom this anointed one might be, with some Jews anticipating a future warrior-king like David, others a cosmic redeemer from heaven, others an authoritative priest, and still others a powerful spokesperson from God like Moses.

Paganism: Any of the polytheistic religions of the Greco-Roman world, an umbrella term for ancient Mediterranean religions other than Judaism and Christianity.

Passion: From a Greek word that means “suffering,”used as a technical term to refer to the traditions of Jesus’last days, up to and including his crucifixion (hence the“Passion narrative”).

Passover: The most important and widely celebrated annual festival of Jews in Roman times, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt.

Redaction Criticism: The study of how authors modified or edited (i.e., redacted) their sources in view of their own vested interests and concerns.

Sanhedrin: A council of Jewish leaders headed by the high priest that played an advisory role in matters of religious and civil policy.

Signs Source: A document, which no longer survives,thought by many scholars to have been used as one of thesources of Jesus’ ministry in the Fourth Gospel; it reputedlynarrated a number of the miraculous deeds of Jesus.

Socio-Historical Method: A method used to study a literarytext that seeks to reconstruct the social history ofthe community that lay behind it.

Son of God: In most Greco-Roman circles, the designation of a person born to a god, able to perform miraculous deeds and/or to convey superhuman teachings; in Jewish circles, the designation of persons chosen to stand in a special relationship with the God of Israel, including the ancient Jewish kings.

Synagogue: Jewish place of worship and prayer, from aGreek word that literally means “being brought together.”

Synoptic Gospels: The Gospels of Matthew, Mark,and Luke, which narrate so many of the same storiesthat they can be placed side by side in parallel columnsand so “be seen together” (the literal meaning of“synoptic”).

Tradition: Any doctrine, idea, practice, or custom thathas been handed down from one person to another.

Chapter 12

Aeons: In Gnostic myth, divine beings who are offspringof the one true, unknowable God.

Catholic: From a Greek word meaning “universal” or “general,” used of the New Testament epistles James; 1 and 2 Peter; 1, 2, and 3 John; Jude; and sometimes Hebrews (the “catholic” epistles) to differentiate them from the letters of Paul.

Christology: Any teaching about the nature of Christ.See also Adoptionism; Docetism.

Contextual Method: A method used to study a literarytext first by determining its social and historical contextand then using that context to help explain the text’smeaning.

Docetism: The view that Jesus was not a human beingbut only appeared to be, from a Greek word meaning “toseem” or “to appear.”

Epistle: Another designation for a private letter. Some scholars have differentiated between “epistles” as literary writings in the form of a letter, which were meant for general distribution, rather than for an individual recipient, and “letters” that were a nonliterary form of personal correspondence. This differentiation between epistles and letters is not widely held today, however, so that the terms tend to be used synonymously.

Gnosticism: A group of ancient religions, some of them closely related to Christianity, that maintained that elements of the divine had become entrapped in this evil world of matter and could be released only when they acquired the secret gnosis (Greek for “knowledge”) of who they were and how they could escape. Gnosis was generally thought to be brought by an emissary of the divine realm.

Gospel: When this word is capitalized, it refers to a literarygenre: a written account of the “good news”brought by Jesus Christ, including episodes involvinghis words and/or deeds (e.g., the Gospel of Luke or ofPeter).

Greco-Roman World: The lands (and culture) around the Mediterranean from the time of Alexander the Great to the Emperor Constantine, roughly 300 B.C.E. to 300 C.E. (see also Box 3.2).

Heracleon: Gnostic living around 170 C.E. who wrote acommentary on the Gospel of John, the first known tohave been written by a Christian on any part of the Bible.

House Churches: Private homes where, for centuries, Christian communities met for worship, instruction, fellowship, and the celebration of rituals such as baptism and Eucharist. Often it was the owner of the home who was the leader of the church.

Ialdabaoth: In Gnostic texts, the name of the Creator-God (i.e., the “Demiurge”).

Ignatius: The bishop of Antioch, Syria, in the early second century. He was arrested by the Roman authorities for Christian activities and sent to Rome in order to be thrown to the wild beasts in the arena. On his journey to martyrdom, he wrote seven letters, which still survive. These letters are included among the writings of the Apostolic Fathers.

Irenaeus: Famous proto-orthodox Church Father and “heresiologist” (i.e., “heresy-hunter”) of the second century, whose five-volume work Against Heresies, written around 180 C.E., is a major source of information for Gnostic and other “heretical” groups.

Johannine Community: The community of Christians inwhich the Gospel of John and the Johannine epistles werewritten. We do not know where the community waslocated, but we can reconstruct some of its history usingthe socio-historical method.

Justin Martyr: One of the earliest “apologists,” who lived in Rome in the mid-second century.

Marcion: A second-century Christian scholar and evangelist,later labeled a heretic for his docetic Christology andhis belief in two Gods—the harsh legalistic God of the Jewsand the merciful loving God of Jesus—views that heclaimed to have found in the writings of Paul.

Messiah: From a Hebrew word that literally means “anointed one,” translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations about whom this anointed one might be, with some Jews anticipating a future warrior-king like David, others a cosmic redeemer from heaven, others an authoritative priest, and still others a powerful spokesperson from God like Moses.

Nag Hammadi: Village in upper (southern) Egypt, near the place where a collection of Gnostic writings, including the Gospel of Thomas,were discovered in 1945.

Papyrus: A reed-like plant that grows principallyaround the Nile, whose stalk was used for the manufactureof a paper-like writing surface in antiquity.

Proto-orthodox Christianity: A form of Christianityendorsed by some Christians of the second and third centuries(including the Apostolic Fathers), which promoteddoctrines that were declared “orthodox” in the fourthand later centuries by the victorious Christian party, inopposition to such groups as the Ebionites, the Marcionites,and the Gnostics.

Secessionists: Members of the Johannine community who, according to the author of 1 John, “seceded” from (i.e., left) the community to form a community of their own. First John, which calls these people “antichrists,” suggests that they had adopted a docetic Christology, not allowing that Christ was fully human.

Sethians: A prominent group of Gnostics known from second- and third-century sources, who told complicated myths about how the divine realm and the material world came into being in order to explain both how individuals souls had come to be entrapped here and how these souls could escape by acquiring gnosis. See also Gnosticism; Valentinians.

Socio-Historical Method: A method used to study a literarytext that seeks to reconstruct the social history ofthe community that lay behind it.

Sophia: In Gnostic mythology, the final (female) aeonwho fell from the divine realm, leading to the birth of theDemiurge (Ialdabaoth), who then created the materialworld as a place to imprison her.

Synagogue: Jewish place of worship and prayer, from aGreek word that literally means “being broughttogether.”

Tertullian: A brilliant and acerbic Christian author from the late second and early third centuries. Tertullian, who was from North Africa and wrote in Latin, is one of the best-known early Christian apologists.

Valentinians: A group of second- and third-century Gnostics who followed the teachings of Valentinus using a set of myths comparable to that used by the Sethians but more closely aligned with proto-orthodox Christians, in whose churches they worshiped and from whom it was difficult to distinguish them. See also Gnostics; Sethians; Valentinus.

Chapter 13

Canon: From a Greek word meaning “ruler” or “straightedge.” The term came to designate any recognized collectionof texts; the canon of the New Testament is thusthe collection of books that Christians accept as authoritative.

Christology: Any teaching about the nature of Christ.See also Adoptionism; Docetism.

Diatesseron: A “Gospel harmony” produced by the mid-second-century Syrian Christian Tatian, who took the Four Gospels and combined their stories into one long narrative (Diatesseron literally means “through the four”: this, then, is the one long narrative told through the four accounts).

Docetism: The view that Jesus was not a human beingbut only appeared to be, from a Greek word meaning “toseem” or “to appear.”

Ebionites: A group of second-century adoptionists who maintained Jewish practices and Jewish forms of worship.

Eusebius: Early-fourth-century Church Father known as the “Father of Church History,” as his ten-volume book, History of the Christian Church, was the first to provide an extensive chronicle of Christianity’s early years, from the days of Jesus down to Eusebius’s own time (the early part of the reign of Constantine). Eusebius is the primary source of information for many of the events and writers of the first three centuries of the church.

Gnosticism: A group of ancient religions, some of them closely related to Christianity, that maintained that elements of the divine had become entrapped in this evil world of matter and could be released only when they acquired the secret gnosis (Greek for “knowledge”) of who they were and how they could escape. Gnosis was generally thought to be brought by an emissary of the divine realm.

Gospel Harmony: Any literary attempt to take several Gospels and combine them into a longer, more complete Gospel by incorporating the various accounts into one, such as Tatian’s Diatesseron.

Herod Antipas: Son of Herod the Great, and ruler of Galilee from 4 to 39 C.E.; this is the Herod who executed John the Baptist and who was involved with the trial of Jesus according to the Gospel of Luke (and the Gospel of Peter).

Ialdabaoth: In Gnostic texts, the name of the Creator-God (i.e., the “Demiurge”).

Irenaeus: Famous proto-orthodox Church Father and “heresiologist” (i.e., “heresy-hunter”) of the second century, whose five-volume work Against Heresies, written around 180 C.E., is a major source of information for Gnostic and other “heretical” groups.

L: A document (or documents, written or oral) that nolonger survives, but that evidently provided Luke withtraditions that are not found in Matthew or Mark. Seealso Four-Source Hypothesis.

Law: See Torah.

M: A document (or documents, written or oral) that nolonger survives, but that evidently provided Matthewwith traditions that are not found in Mark or Luke. Seealso Four-Source Hypothesis.

Marcion: A second-century Christian scholar and evangelist,later labeled a heretic for his docetic Christology andhis belief in two Gods—the harsh legalistic God of the Jewsand the merciful loving God of Jesus—views that heclaimed to have found in the writings of Paul.

Messiah: From a Hebrew word that literally means “anointed one,” translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations about whom this anointed one might be, with some Jews anticipating a future warrior-king like David, others a cosmic redeemer from heaven, others an authoritative priest, and still others a powerful spokesperson from God like Moses.

Nag Hammadi: Village in upper (southern) Egypt, near the place where a collection of Gnostic writings, including the Gospel of Thomas,were discovered in 1945.

Passion: From a Greek word that means “suffering,”used as a technical term to refer to the traditions of Jesus’last days, up to and including his crucifixion (hence the“Passion narrative”).

Pontius Pilate: Roman aristocrat who served as the governorof Judea from 26 to 36 C.E., and who was responsiblefor ordering Jesus’ crucifixion.

Proto-orthodox Christianity: A form of Christianityendorsed by some Christians of the second and third centuries(including the Apostolic Fathers), which promoteddoctrines that were declared “orthodox” in the fourthand later centuries by the victorious Christian party, inopposition to such groups as the Ebionites, the Marcionites,and the Gnostics.

Q: The source used by both Matthew and Luke for the stories they share, principally sayings, that are not found in Mark; from the German word Quelle, “source.” The document no longer exists but can be reconstructed on the basis of Matthew and Luke.

Signs Source: A document, which no longer survives,thought by many scholars to have been used as one of thesources of Jesus’ ministry in the Fourth Gospel; it reputedlynarrated a number of the miraculous deeds of Jesus.

Son of God: In most Greco-Roman circles, the designation of a person born to a god, able to perform miraculous deeds and/or to convey superhuman teachings; in Jewish circles, the designation of persons chosen to stand in a special relationship with the God of Israel, including the ancient Jewish kings.

Son of Man: A term whose meaning is much disputedamong modern scholars, used in some ancient apocalyptictexts to refer to a cosmic judge sent from heaven at theend of time.

Synoptic Gospels: The Gospels of Matthew, Mark,and Luke, which narrate so many of the same storiesthat they can be placed side by side in parallel columnsand so “be seen together” (the literal meaning of“synoptic”).

Tertullian: A brilliant and acerbic Christian author from the late second and early third centuries. Tertullian, who was from North Africa and wrote in Latin, is one of the best-known early Christian apologists.

Chapter 14

Criterion of Contextual Credibility: One of the criteria commonly used by scholars to establish historically reliable material; with respect to the historical Jesus, the criterion maintains that if a saying or deed of Jesus cannot be credibly fit into his own first-century Palestinian context, then it cannot be regarded as authentic.

Criterion of Dissimilarity: One of the criteria commonly used by scholars to establish historically reliable material; the criterion maintains that if a saying or deed of Jesus does not coincide with (or works against) the agenda of the early Christians, it is more likely to be authentic.

Criterion of Independent Attestation: One of the criteria commonly used by scholars to establish historically reliable material; with respect to the historical Jesus, the criterion maintains that if a saying or deed of Jesus is attested independently by more than one source, it is more likely to be authentic.

Herod Antipas: Son of Herod the Great, and ruler of Galilee from 4 to 39 C.E.; this is the Herod who executed John the Baptist and who was involved with the trial of Jesus according to the Gospel of Luke (and the Gospel of Peter).

Josephus: First-century Jewish historian appointed court historian by the Roman Emperor Vespasian, whose works The Jewish War and The Antiquities of the Jews are principal resources for information about life in first-century Palestine.

L: A document (or documents, written or oral) that nolonger survives, but that evidently provided Luke withtraditions that are not found in Matthew or Mark. Seealso Four-Source Hypothesis.

M: A document (or documents, written or oral) that nolonger survives, but that evidently provided Matthewwith traditions that are not found in Mark or Luke. Seealso Four-Source Hypothesis.

Mishnah: A collection of oral traditions passed on bygenerations of Jewish rabbis who saw themselves as thedescendants of the Pharisees, finally put into writingaround 200 C.E. See also Talmud.

Paganism: Any of the polytheistic religions of the Greco-Roman world, an umbrella term for ancient Mediterranean religions other than Judaism and Christianity.

Passion: From a Greek word that means “suffering,”used as a technical term to refer to the traditions of Jesus’last days, up to and including his crucifixion (hence the“Passion narrative”).

Pliny the Younger: Roman aristocrat who ruled the province of Bithynia-Pontus in the early second century C.E., and whose correspondence with the Emperor Trajan contains the earliest reference to Christ in a pagan source.

Pontius Pilate: Roman aristocrat who served as the governorof Judea from 26 to 36 C.E., and who was responsiblefor ordering Jesus’ crucifixion.

Q: The source used by both Matthew and Luke for the stories they share, principally sayings, that are not found in Mark; from the German word Quelle, “source.” The document no longer exists but can be reconstructed on the basis of Matthew and Luke.

Son of God: In most Greco-Roman circles, the designation of a person born to a god, able to perform miraculous deeds and/or to convey superhuman teachings; in Jewish circles, the designation of persons chosen to stand in a special relationship with the God of Israel, including the ancient Jewish kings.

Suetonius: A Roman historian of the early second century C.E., best known for a multivolume collection of biographies of the Roman emperors, The Lives of the Caesars.

Superstition: In the ancient world, superstition was understoodby the highly educated upper classes as an excessivefear of the gods that drove a person to be excessively scrupulousin trying to avoid their displeasure.

Tacitus: Roman historian of the early second centuryC.E., whose multivolume work The Annals of Rome providessubstantial information about Roman history fromthe beginning down to his own time.

Talmud: The great collection of ancient Jewish traditions that comprises the Mishnah and the later commentaries on the Mishnah, called the Gemarah. There are two collections of the Talmud, one made in Palestine during the early fifth century C.E. and the other made in Babylon perhaps a century later. The Babylonian Talmud is generally considered the more authoritative.

Tradition: Any doctrine, idea, practice, or custom thathas been handed down from one person to another.

Chapter 15

Apollonius of Tyana: A pagan philosopher and holy man of the first century C.E., reported to have done miracles and delivered divinely inspired teachings, a man believed by some of his followers to be a son of God.

Asclepius: A popular Greek god known in particular forhis ability to heal the sick.

Hanina ben Dosa: A well-known Galilean rabbi of the first century who was reputed to have done miracles comparable to those of Jesus.

Chapter 16

Antiochus Epiphanes: The Syrian monarch whoattempted to force the Jews of Palestine to adopt Greek culture,leading to the Maccabean revolt in 167 B.C.E.

Apocalypse: A literary genre in which an author, usually pseudonymous, reports symbolic dreams or visions, given or interpreted through an angelic mediator, that reveal the heavenly mysteries that can make sense of earthly realities.

Apocalypticism: A worldview held by many ancient Jews and Christians that maintained that the present age is controlled by forces of evil, but that these will be destroyed at the end of time when God intervenes in history to bring in his Kingdom, an event thought to be imminent.

Covenant: An agreement or treaty between two social or political parties; used by ancient Jews in reference to the pact that God made to protect and preserve them as his chosen people in exchange for their devotion and adherence to his Law.

Criterion of Contextual Credibility: One of the criteria commonly used by scholars to establish historically reliable material; with respect to the historical Jesus, the criterion maintains that if a saying or deed of Jesus cannot be credibly fit into his own first-century Palestinian context, then it cannot be regarded as authentic.

Criterion of Dissimilarity: One of the criteria commonly used by scholars to establish historically reliable material; the criterion maintains that if a saying or deed of Jesus does not coincide with (or works against) the agenda of the early Christians, it is more likely to be authentic.

Criterion of Independent Attestation: One of the criteria commonly used by scholars to establish historically reliable material; with respect to the historical Jesus, the criterion maintains that if a saying or deed of Jesus is attested independently by more than one source, it is more likely to be authentic.

Cult: Shortened form of cultus deorum, a Latin phrasethat literally means “care of the gods,” generally used ofany set of religious practices of worship. In pagan religions,these normally involved acts of sacrifice andprayer.

Egyptian, The: A Jewish apocalyptic prophet of thefirst century C.E. who predicted the destruction of thewalls of Jerusalem, mentioned by Josephus.

Essenes: An apocalyptic and ascetic Jewish sect startedduring the Maccabean period, members of which are generallythought to have produced the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Fourth Philosophy: A group of Jews that Josephus mentionsbut leaves unnamed, characterized by their insistenceon violent opposition to the foreign domination of thePromised Land. See also Sicarii; Zealots.

Hasmoneans: An alternative name for the Maccabeans,the family of Jewish priests that began the revolt againstSyria in 167 B.C.E. and that ruled Israel prior to theRoman conquest of 63 B.C.E.

Herod Antipas:Son of Herod the Great, and ruler ofGalilee from 4 to 39 C.E.; this is the Herod who executedJohn the Baptist and who was involved with the trial ofJesus according to the Gospel of Luke (and the Gospel of Peter).

Josephus: First-century Jewish historian appointed court historian by the Roman Emperor Vespasian, whose works The Jewish War and The Antiquities of the Jews are principal resources for information about life in first-century Palestine.

Kingdom of God: In the teachings of Jesus, the Kingdom of God (or God’s reign) appears to refer to an actual kingdom that will come to earth to replace the wicked kingdoms that are now in control of affairs, and of God’s people, here. This would be a utopian kingdom through which truth, peace, and justice were restored; it would be ruled by God’s anointed one (i.e., the messiah).

L: A document (or documents, written or oral) that nolonger survives, but that evidently provided Luke withtraditions that are not found in Matthew or Mark. Seealso Four-Source Hypothesis.

Law: See Torah.

M: A document (or documents, written or oral) that nolonger survives, but that evidently provided Matthewwith traditions that are not found in Mark or Luke. Seealso Four-Source Hypothesis.

Maccabean Revolt: The Jewish uprising against the Syriansand their king, Antiochus Epiphanes, starting in 167B.C.E., in protest against the forced imposition of Hellenisticculture and the proscription of Jewish practices such ascircumcision. See also Hasmoneans.

Messiah: From a Hebrew word that literally means “anointed one,” translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations about whom this anointed one might be, with some Jews anticipating a future warrior-king like David, others a cosmic redeemer from heaven, others an authoritative priest, and still others a powerful spokesperson from God like Moses.

Mishnah: A collection of oral traditions passed on bygenerations of Jewish rabbis who saw themselves as thedescendants of the Pharisees, finally put into writingaround 200 C.E. See also Talmud.

Passover: The most important and widely celebrated annual festival of Jews in Roman times, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt.

Pharisees: A Jewish sect, which may have originatedduring the Maccabean period, that emphasized strictadherence to the purity laws set forth in the Torah. Seealso Mishnah.

Pontius Pilate: Roman aristocrat who served as the governorof Judea from 26 to 36 C.E., and who was responsiblefor ordering Jesus’ crucifixion.

Prophet: In ancient Israelite religion, a prophet was a person who delivered God’s message to his people; eventually the term came to refer to writers who produced literary accounts of God’s word (e.g., Isaiah and Jeremiah). In Christian circles prophets were those who spoke God’s message in the community’s services of worship, possibly, on occasion, in a state of ecstasy.

Q: The source used by both Matthew and Luke for the stories they share, principally sayings, that are not found in Mark; from the German word Quelle, “source.” The document no longer exists but can be reconstructed on the basis of Matthew and Luke.

Qumran: Place near the northwest shore of the DeadSea, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1946,evidently home to the group of Essenes who had used theScrolls as part of their library.

Resurrection:The doctrine originally devised within circlesof apocalyptic Judaism that maintained that at theend of the present age those who had died would be broughtback to life in order to face judgment: either torment forthose who had opposed God or reward for those who had sided withGod. The earliest Christians believed that Jesus had beenraised and concluded therefore that the end of the age hadalready begun (seeFirstfruits of the Resurrection). InChristian apocalyptic thought it was believed that therewards and punishments of the future resurrection wouldhinge on one’s relationship to Christ, as either a believer or a nonbeliever.

Sadducees: A Jewish party associated with the Temple cult and the Jewish priests who ran it, comprising principally the Jewish aristocracy in Judea. The party leader, the high priest, served as the highest-ranking local official and chief liaison with the Roman governor.

Sepphoris: One of the two major Greek cities in Galilee,just four miles from Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. Scholarsdebate whether Jesus was influenced by the culture ofSepphoris or if, indeed, he ever went there.

Son of Man: A term whose meaning is much disputedamong modern scholars, used in some ancient apocalyptictexts to refer to a cosmic judge sent from heaven at theend of time.

Temple: In pagan circles, a temple was any holy placedevoted to one or more divine beings where sacrificescould be made in accordance with established religiousprinciples. For Judaism there was only one legitimateTemple, the one in Jerusalem, an enormous complexthat contained the holy sanctuary and, within it, theHoly of Holies, where God’s presence on earth wasbelieved to dwell.

Theudas: (1) A first-century Jewish apocalypticprophet (mentioned by Josephus) who predicted theparting of the Jordan River and, evidently, the reconquestof the Promised Land by the chosen people. (2)An early Gnostic Christian, allegedly the disciple ofPaul and the teacher of Valentinus.

Torah: A Hebrew word that means “guidance” or “direction” but is usually translated “law.” As a technical term it designates either the Law of God given to Moses or the first five books of the Jewish Bible that Moses was traditionally thought to have written— Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Zealots: A group of Galilean Jews who fled to Jerusalem during the uprising against Rome in 66–70 C.E., where they overthrew the reigning aristocracy in the city and urged violent resistance to the bitter end. See also Fourth Philosophy.

Chapter 17

Apocalypticism: A worldview held by many ancient Jews and Christians that maintained that the present age is controlled by forces of evil, but that these will be destroyed at the end of time when God intervenes in history to bring in his Kingdom, an event thought to be imminent.

Apollonius of Tyana: A pagan philosopher and holy man of the first century C.E., reported to have done miracles and delivered divinely inspired teachings, a man believed by some of his followers to be a son of God.

Caiaphas: The Jewish high priest at the time of Jesus’death.

Chief Priests: The leaders of the priests in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Many of them would have been actively involved in the Sanhedrin; their ultimate leader was the high priest.

Christology: Any teaching about the nature of Christ.See also Adoptionism; Docetism.

Criterion of Dissimilarity: One of the criteria commonly used by scholars to establish historically reliable material; the criterion maintains that if a saying or deed of Jesus does not coincide with (or works against) the agenda of the early Christians, it is more likely to be authentic.

Cult: Shortened form of cultus deorum, a Latin phrasethat literally means “care of the gods,” generally used ofany set of religious practices of worship. In pagan religions,these normally involved acts of sacrifice andprayer.

Cynics: Greco-Roman philosophers, commonly portrayed as street preachers who harangued their audiences and urged them to find true freedom by liberating themselves from all social conventions. The Cynics’ decision to live “according to nature,” with none of the niceties of life, led their opponents to call them “dogs” (in Greek, cynes).

Disciple: A follower, one who is “taught” (as opposed toan apostle, one who is “sent” as an emissary).

Egyptian, The: A Jewish apocalyptic prophet of thefirst century C.E. who predicted the destruction of thewalls of Jerusalem, mentioned by Josephus.

Essenes: An apocalyptic and ascetic Jewish sect startedduring the Maccabean period, members of which are generallythought to have produced the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Hanina ben Dosa: A well-known Galilean rabbi of thefirst century who was reputed to have done miraclescomparable to those of Jesus.

Honi the “Circle-Drawer”: A first-century B.C.E.Galilean who was reputed to have done miracles and hadexperiences similar to those of Jesus.

Jesus the Son of Ananias: A Palestinian Jew (discussed by Josephus) who, like Jesus of Nazareth, was an apocalyptic preacher; like Jesus, he was arrested and prosecuted for his revolutionary proclamation, although he was not executed for his crimes. He was inadvertently killed during the siege of Jerusalem in the First Jewish Revolt of 66–70 C.E.

Johannine Community: The community of Christians inwhich the Gospel of John and the Johannine epistles werewritten. We do not know where the community waslocated, but we can reconstruct some of its history usingthe socio-historical method.

Josephus: First-century Jewish historian appointed court historian by the Roman Emperor Vespasian, whose works The Jewish War and The Antiquities of the Jews are principal resources for information about life in first-century Palestine.

Kingdom of God: In the teachings of Jesus, the Kingdom of God (or God’s reign) appears to refer to an actual kingdom that will come to earth to replace the wicked kingdoms that are now in control of affairs, and of God’s people, here. This would be a utopian kingdom through which truth, peace, and justice were restored; it would be ruled by God’s anointed one (i.e., the messiah).

L: A document (or documents, written or oral) that nolonger survives, but that evidently provided Luke withtraditions that are not found in Matthew or Mark. Seealso Four-Source Hypothesis.

M: A document (or documents, written or oral) that nolonger survives, but that evidently provided Matthewwith traditions that are not found in Mark or Luke. Seealso Four-Source Hypothesis.

Messiah: From a Hebrew word that literally means “anointed one,” translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations about whom this anointed one might be, with some Jews anticipating a future warrior-king like David, others a cosmic redeemer from heaven, others an authoritative priest, and still others a powerful spokesperson from God like Moses.

Passover: The most important and widely celebrated annual festival of Jews in Roman times, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt.

Pharisees: A Jewish sect, which may have originatedduring the Maccabean period, that emphasized strictadherence to the purity laws set forth in the Torah. Seealso Mishnah.

Pontius Pilate: Roman aristocrat who served as the governorof Judea from 26 to 36 C.E., and who was responsiblefor ordering Jesus’ crucifixion.

Prophet:In ancient Israelite religion, a prophet was aperson who delivered God’s message to his people; eventuallythe term came to refer to writers who produced literaryaccounts of God’s word (e.g., Isaiah andJeremiah). In Christian circles prophets were those whospoke God’s message in the community’s services of worship,possibly, on occasion, in a state of ecstasy.

Q: The source used by both Matthew and Luke for the stories they share, principally sayings, that are not found in Mark; from the German word Quelle, “source.” The document no longer exists but can be reconstructed on the basis of Matthew and Luke.

Sadducees: A Jewish party associated with the Temple cult and the Jewish priests who ran it, comprising principally the Jewish aristocracy in Judea. The party leader, the high priest, served as the highest-ranking local official and chief liaison with the Roman governor.

Sanhedrin: A council of Jewish leaders headed by the high priest that played an advisory role in matters of religious and civil policy.

Son of Man: A term whose meaning is much disputedamong modern scholars, used in some ancient apocalyptictexts to refer to a cosmic judge sent from heaven at theend of time.

Temple: In pagan circles, a temple was any holy placedevoted to one or more divine beings where sacrificescould be made in accordance with established religiousprinciples. For Judaism there was only one legitimateTemple, the one in Jerusalem, an enormous complexthat contained the holy sanctuary and, within it, theHoly of Holies, where God’s presence on earth wasbelieved to dwell.

Theudas: (1) A first-century Jewish apocalypticprophet (mentioned by Josephus) who predicted theparting of the Jordan River and, evidently, the reconquestof the Promised Land by the chosen people. (2)An early Gnostic Christian, allegedly the disciple ofPaul and the teacher of Valentinus.

Chapter 18

Apocalypticism: A worldview held by many ancient Jews and Christians that maintained that the present age is controlled by forces of evil, but that these will be destroyed at the end of time when God intervenes in history to bring in his Kingdom, an event thought to be imminent.

Canon: From a Greek word meaning “ruler” or “straightedge.” The term came to designate any recognized collectionof texts; the canon of the New Testament is thusthe collection of books that Christians accept as authoritative.

Ebionites: A group of second-century adoptionists who maintained Jewish practices and Jewish forms of worship.

Kingdom of God: In the teachings of Jesus, the Kingdom of God (or God’s reign) appears to refer to an actual kingdom that will come to earth to replace the wicked kingdoms that are now in control of affairs, and of God’s people, here. This would be a utopian kingdom through which truth, peace, and justice were restored; it would be ruled by God’s anointed one (i.e., the messiah).

Maccabean Revolt: The Jewish uprising against the Syriansand their king, Antiochus Epiphanes, starting in 167B.C.E., in protest against the forced imposition of Hellenisticculture and the proscription of Jewish practices such ascircumcision. See also Hasmoneans.

Messiah: From a Hebrew word that literally means “anointed one,” translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations about whom this anointed one might be, with some Jews anticipating a future warrior-king like David, others a cosmic redeemer from heaven, others an authoritative priest, and still others a powerful spokesperson from God like Moses.

Prophet: In ancient Israelite religion, a prophet was a person who delivered God’s message to his people; eventually the term came to refer to writers who produced literary accounts of God’s word (e.g., Isaiah and Jeremiah). In Christian circles prophets were those who spoke God’s message in the community’s services of worship, possibly, on occasion, in a state of ecstasy.

Resurrection: The doctrine originally devised within circles of apocalyptic Judaism that maintained that at the end of the present age those who had died would be brought back to life in order to face judgment: either torment for those who had opposed God or reward for those who had sided with God. The earliest Christians believed that Jesus had been raised and concluded therefore that the end of the age had already begun (see Firstfruits of the Resurrection). In Christian apocalyptic thought it was believed that the rewards and punishments of the future resurrection would hinge on one’s relationship to Christ, as either a believer or a nonbeliever.

Son of God: In most Greco-Roman circles, the designation of a person born to a god, able to perform miraculous deeds and/or to convey superhuman teachings; in Jewish circles, the designation of persons chosen to stand in a special relationship with the God of Israel, including the ancient Jewish kings.

Son of Man: A term whose meaning is much disputedamong modern scholars, used in some ancient apocalyptictexts to refer to a cosmic judge sent from heaven at theend of time.

Songs of the Suffering Servant: A set of four poemsor songs found in Isaiah 40–55, in which the prophetspeaks of a “Servant of the Lord” who suffers for thesake of the people of God. Jewish interpreters typicallyunderstood this to refer to the Jews who were sent intoexile to Babylon; later Christians claimed that the passagesreferred to a suffering messiah, Jesus. (The term“messiah” is not used in these passages.)

Tradition: Any doctrine, idea, practice, or custom thathas been handed down from one person to another.

Vicarious Suffering: The notion that one person’s sufferingoccurs in the place of or for the sake of another.

Chapter 19

Apology: A reasoned explanation and justification ofone’s beliefs and/or practices, from a Greek word meaning“defense.”

Apostle: Generally, one who is commissioned to performa task, from a Greek word meaning “sent”; in earlyChristianity, the term was used to designate special emissariesof the faith who were understood to be representativesof Christ. See also Disciple.

Atonement: The doctrine that indicates how a personwho is condemned by sin can be placed in a right standingbefore God by means of a sacrifice. In traditionalChristian teaching, it is Christ’s death that bringsatonement.

Biography (Ancient): A literary genre consisting of a narrative of an individual’s life, often within a chronological framework, employing numerous subgenres (e.g., sayings, speeches, anecdotes, and conflict stories) in order to reflect important aspects of his or her character, principally for purposes of instruction, exhortation, or propaganda.

Comparative Method: A method used to study a literarytext by noting its similarities to and differences fromother, related, texts, whether or not any of these othertexts was used as a source for the text in question.

General History: A genre of ancient literature thattraced the significant events in the history of a people toshow how their character (as a people) was established.Examples of the genre include Josephus’s Antiquities of theJews and the Acts of the Apostles.

Genre: A kind of literature with specific literary features; in the modern world, for example, there are short stories, novels, and limericks (each with their own distinctive features); in the ancient world there were biographies, epic poems, general histories, and many others. The major genres of the New Testament are Gospels (which are most like religious biographies), Acts (most like general histories), epistles, and apocalypses.

Genre Criticism: A method used to study a literary text by asking how its genre functioned in its historical context and thereby exploring its historical meaning (i.e., seeing how its meaning would have been understood to its earliest readers) in light of its literary characteristics.

Gentile: A Jewish designation for a non-Jew.

Gospel: When this word is capitalized, it refers to a literarygenre: a written account of the “good news”brought by Jesus Christ, including episodes involvinghis words and/or deeds (e.g., the Gospel of Luke or ofPeter).

Josephus: F First-century Jewish historian appointed court historian by the Roman Emperor Vespasian, whose works The Jewish War and The Antiquities of the Jews are principal resources for information about life in first-century Palestine.

Martyr: From the Greek word martus,which literally means “witness.” Christian martyrs are those who “bear witness” to Christ, even to the point of death.

Messiah: From a Hebrew word that literally means “anointed one,” translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations about whom this anointed one might be, with some Jews anticipating a future warrior-king like David, others a cosmic redeemer from heaven, others an authoritative priest, and still others a powerful spokesperson from God like Moses.

Novel: Ancient genre of literature. Novels in the Greek and Roman worlds were fictionalized narratives that normally told of the tragic separation of lovers and of the various mishaps they experienced in their attempts to become reunited. Novels typically included stories of travels, shipwrecks, piracy, banditry, enslavement, and persecution and contained dialogues, speeches, and private letters. Some scholars have argued that the book of Acts is very much like an ancient novel.

Paganism: Any of the polytheistic religions of the Greco-Roman world, an umbrella term for ancient Mediterranean religions other than Judaism and Christianity.

Pentecost: A Jewish agricultural festival, celebrated fiftydays after the feast of the Passover, from the Greek wordfor fifty (pentakosia).

Pontius Pilate: Roman aristocrat who served as the governorof Judea from 26 to 36 C.E., and who was responsiblefor ordering Jesus’ crucifixion.

Prophet: In ancient Israelite religion, a prophet was a person who delivered God’s message to his people; eventually the term came to refer to writers who produced literary accounts of God’s word (e.g., Isaiah and Jeremiah). In Christian circles prophets were those who spoke God’s message in the community’s services of worship, possibly, on occasion, in a state of ecstasy.

Redaction Criticism: The study of how authors modified or edited (i.e., redacted) their sources in view of their own vested interests and concerns.

Sanhedrin: A council of Jewish leaders headed by the high priest that played an advisory role in matters of religious and civil policy.

Thematic Method: A method used to study a literary text by isolating its leading ideas, or themes, and exploring them, seeing how they are developed in the text, in order to understand the author’s overarching emphases.

Theophilus: The person to whom “Luke” addresses both of his volumes, the Gospel and the book of Acts. Scholars debate whether Theophilus was a real person—possibly a highly placed Roman administrator—or whether the name is instead symbolic. It literally means either “beloved of God” or “lover of God.” If symbolic, it would refer to the Christian individuals or communities who were the author’s intended audience.

Thucydides: Famous historian of Athens of the fifth century B.C.E., best known for his account of the twenty-seven-year Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. Thucydides’ account, like those of other Greek historians after him, contained a large number of speeches, which he frankly admitted to have composed himself as appropriate for the occasion (cf. the speeches in Acts in the New Testament).

Tiberius: The second Roman emperor, succeeding Caesar Augustus, and ruling from 14 to 37 C.E. It was under his rule that Jesus was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

Tradition: Any doctrine, idea, practice, or custom thathas been handed down from one person to another.

“We” Passages: Term used to describe a set of four passages in the book of Acts in which the author stops speaking in the third person about what Paul and his companions (“they”) were doing and speaks instead in the first person about what “we” were doing. Some scholars take these passages as evidence that the author of Luke-Acts was a companion of Paul; others believe that in these passages the author of Luke-Acts utilized a travel narrative as a source (much as he utilized other sources, such as Mark and Q, for his Gospel).

Chapter 20

Apocalypticism: A worldview held by many ancient Jews and Christians that maintained that the present age is controlled by forces of evil, but that these will be destroyed at the end of time when God intervenes in history to bring in his Kingdom, an event thought to be imminent.

Apostle: Generally, one who is commissioned to performa task, from a Greek word meaning “sent”; in earlyChristianity, the term was used to designate special emissariesof the faith who were understood to be representativesof Christ. See also Disciple.

Canon: From a Greek word meaning “ruler” or “straightedge.” The term came to designate any recognized collectionof texts; the canon of the New Testament is thusthe collection of books that Christians accept as authoritative.

Contextual Method: A method used to study a literarytext first by determining its social and historical contextand then using that context to help explain the text’smeaning.

Covenant: An agreement or treaty between two social or political parties; used by ancient Jews in reference to the pact that God made to protect and preserve them as his chosen people in exchange for their devotion and adherence to his Law.

Deutero-Pauline Epistles: The letters of Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians, which have a “secondary” (Deutero) standing in the Pauline Corpus because scholars debate whether they were written by Paul.

Diaspora: Greek for “dispersion,” a term that refers tothe dispersion of Jews away from Palestine into otherparts of the Mediterranean, beginning with the Babylonianconquests in the sixth century B.C.E.

Epistle: Another designation for a private letter. Some scholars have differentiated between “epistles” as literary writings in the form of a letter, which were meant for general distribution, rather than for an individual recipient, and “letters” that were a nonliterary form of personal correspondence. This differentiation between epistles and letters is not widely held today, however, so that the terms tend to be used synonymously.

Essenes: An apocalyptic and ascetic Jewish sect startedduring the Maccabean period, members of which are generallythought to have produced the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Firstfruits of the Resurrection: A phrase used by theapostle Paul to refer to Jesus as the first one to be raisedfrom the dead. It is an agricultural image referring tothe celebration held at the end of the first day of theharvest, in anticipation of going out to bring in the restof the crops (the next day). If Jesus is the “firstfruits,”then the rest of the resurrection (i.e., everyone else’sresurrection) will happen very soon.

Gentile: A Jewish designation for a non-Jew.

gospel: When this word is not capitalized, it refers not toa book but to the proclamation of the “good news” (fromthe Greek word euaggelion) of Christ’s salvation (e.g., thegospel of Paul is his message, not a book that he used).

Law: See Torah.

Messiah: From a Hebrew word that literally means “anointed one,” translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations about whom this anointed one might be, with some Jews anticipating a future warrior-king like David, others a cosmic redeemer from heaven, others an authoritative priest, and still others a powerful spokesperson from God like Moses.

Paganism: Any of the polytheistic religions of the Greco-Roman world, an umbrella term for ancient Mediterranean religions other than Judaism and Christianity.

Pastoral Epistles: New Testament letters that Paulallegedly wrote to two pastors, Timothy (1 and 2 Timothy)and Titus, concerning their pastoral duties.

Pauline Corpus: All of the letters of the New Testament that claim to be written by Paul, including the Deutero-Pauline and Pastoral epistles.

Pharisees: A Jewish sect, which may have originatedduring the Maccabean period, that emphasized strictadherence to the purity laws set forth in the Torah. Seealso Mishnah.

Polytheism: The belief that there are many gods, a beliefthat lies at the heart of all of the ancient pagan religions.

Pseudepigrapha: From the Greek, literally meaning“false writings” and commonly referring to ancient noncanonicalJewish and Christian literary texts, many ofwhich were written pseudonymously.

Pseudonymity: The practice of writing under a fictitiousname, evident in a large number of pagan, Jewish, andChristian writings from antiquity.

Resurrection: The doctrine originally devised within circles of apocalyptic Judaism that maintained that at the end of the present age those who had died would be brought back to life in order to face judgment: either torment for those who had opposed God or reward for those who had sided with God. The earliest Christians believed that Jesus had been raised and concluded therefore that the end of the age had already begun (see Firstfruits of the Resurrection). In Christian apocalyptic thought it was believed that the rewards and punishments of the future resurrection would hinge on one’s relationship to Christ, as either a believer or a nonbeliever.

Sadducees: A Jewish party associated with the Temple cult and the Jewish priests who ran it, comprising principally the Jewish aristocracy in Judea. The party leader, the high priest, served as the highest-ranking local official and chief liaison with the Roman governor.

Seneca: Probably the greatest Roman philosopher of thesecond half of the first century C.E. and tutor to the youngNero, later thought to have entered into a prolonged correspondencewith the apostle Paul.

Septuagint: The translation of the Hebrew Scripturesinto Greek, so named because of a tradition that seventy(Latin: septuaginta) Jewish scholars had produced it.

Tarsus: City in southeast Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) that, according to Acts, was home to the apostle Paul. The city was known as one of the great philosophical centers in the Roman Empire, leading some scholars to suspect that Luke located Paul there in order to further his credentials (Paul never mentions his hometown in his letters).

Torah: A Hebrew word that means “guidance” or “direction” but is usually translated “law.” As a technical term it designates either the Law of God given to Moses or the first five books of the Jewish Bible that Moses was traditionally thought to have written— Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Tradition: Any doctrine, idea, practice, or custom thathas been handed down from one person to another.

Undisputed Pauline Epistles: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians,Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, andPhilemon—letters that scholars overwhelmingly judge tobe have been written by Paul. See also Deutero-PaulineEpistles; Pastoral Epistles.

Chapter 21

Apocalypticism: A worldview held by many ancient Jews and Christians that maintained that the present age is controlled by forces of evil, but that these will be destroyed at the end of time when God intervenes in history to bring in his Kingdom, an event thought to be imminent.

Apostle: Generally, one who is commissioned to performa task, from a Greek word meaning “sent”; in earlyChristianity, the term was used to designate special emissariesof the faith who were understood to be representativesof Christ. See also Disciple.

Associations, Voluntary: In the Greco-Roman world, privately organized small groups of people who shared common interests and met periodically to socialize, enjoy a common meal, and conduct business; two of the best-known types were trade associations (composed of members of the same profession) and burial societies.

Cult: Shortened form of cultus deorum, a Latin phrasethat literally means “care of the gods,” generally used ofany set of religious practices of worship. In pagan religions,these normally involved acts of sacrifice andprayer.

Cynics: Greco-Roman philosophers, commonly portrayed as street preachers who harangued their audiences and urged them to find true freedom by liberating themselves from all social conventions. The Cynics’ decision to live “according to nature,” with none of the niceties of life, led their opponents to call them “dogs” (in Greek, cynes).

Epistle: Another designation for a private letter. Some scholars have differentiated between “epistles” as literary writings in the form of a letter, which were meant for general distribution, rather than for an individual recipient, and “letters” that were a nonliterary form of personal correspondence. This differentiation between epistles and letters is not widely held today, however, so that the terms tend to be used synonymously.

Gentile: A Jewish designation for a non-Jew.

gospel: When this word is not capitalized, it refers not toa book but to the proclamation of the “good news” (fromthe Greek word euaggelion) of Christ’s salvation (e.g., thegospel of Paul is his message, not a book that he used).

Greco-Roman World: The lands (and culture) around the Mediterranean from the time of Alexander the Great to the Emperor Constantine, roughly 300 B.C.E. to 300 C.E. (see also Box 3.2).

House Churches: Private homes where, for centuries, Christian communities met for worship, instruction, fellowship, and the celebration of rituals such as baptism and Eucharist. Often it was the owner of the home who was the leader of the church.

Insula: Ancient apartment buildings in which the ground floor was used for shops and businesses, and the upper floors for residences. The apostle Paul evidently set up his (leather goods?) business and stayed in insula in the various towns he evangelized.

Marcus Aurelius: Roman emperor from 161 to 80 C.E.,best known for his writings of Stoic philosophy, but knownin Christian sources for ruling when some of the most violentpersecutions against Christians occurred.

Messiah: From a Hebrew word that literally means “anointed one,” translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations about whom this anointed one might be, with some Jews anticipating a future warrior-king like David, others a cosmic redeemer from heaven, others an authoritative priest, and still others a powerful spokesperson from God like Moses.

Paganism: Any of the polytheistic religions of the Greco-Roman world, an umbrella term for ancient Mediterranean religions other than Judaism and Christianity.

Philosophy: In the Roman world of the New Testament,philosophy (which literally means “love of wisdom”)involved trying to understand the world and humans’place in it, so as to promote individual happiness throughproper behavior and right thinking. Leading philosophicalschools at the time were the Epicureans, Platonists,Stoics, and Cynics.

Resurrection: The doctrine originally devised within circles of apocalyptic Judaism that maintained that at the end of the present age those who had died would be brought back to life in order to face judgment: either torment for those who had opposed God or reward for those who had sided with God. The earliest Christians believed that Jesus had been raised and concluded therefore that the end of the age had already begun (see Firstfruits of the Resurrection). In Christian apocalyptic thought it was believed that the rewards and punishments of the future resurrection would hinge on one’s relationship to Christ, as either a believer or a nonbeliever.

Son of God: In most Greco-Roman circles, the designation of a person born to a god, able to perform miraculous deeds and/or to convey superhuman teachings; in Jewish circles, the designation of persons chosen to stand in a special relationship with the God of Israel, including the ancient Jewish kings.

Stoics: Greco-Roman philosophers who urged people tounderstand the way the world worked and to live inaccordance with it, letting nothing outside of themselvesaffect their internal state of well-being.

Synagogue: Jewish place of worship and prayer, from aGreek word that literally means “being broughttogether.”

Torah: A Hebrew word that means “guidance” or “direction” but is usually translated “law.” As a technical term it designates either the Law of God given to Moses or the first five books of the Jewish Bible that Moses was traditionally thought to have written— Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Chapter 22

Apocalypticism: A worldview held by many ancient Jews and Christians that maintained that the present age is controlled by forces of evil, but that these will be destroyed at the end of time when God intervenes in history to bring in his Kingdom, an event thought to be imminent.

Apostle: Generally, one who is commissioned to performa task, from a Greek word meaning “sent”; in earlyChristianity, the term was used to designate special emissariesof the faith who were understood to be representativesof Christ. See also Disciple.

Covenant: An agreement or treaty between two social or political parties; used by ancient Jews in reference to the pact that God made to protect and preserve them as his chosen people in exchange for their devotion and adherence to his Law.

Firstfruits of the Resurrection: A phrase used by theapostle Paul to refer to Jesus as the first one to be raisedfrom the dead. It is an agricultural image referring tothe celebration held at the end of the first day of theharvest, in anticipation of going out to bring in the restof the crops (the next day). If Jesus is the “firstfruits,”then the rest of the resurrection (i.e., everyone else’sresurrection) will happen very soon.

Gentile: A Jewish designation for a non-Jew.

gospel: When this word is not capitalized, it refers not toa book but to the proclamation of the “good news” (fromthe Greek word euaggelion) of Christ’s salvation (e.g., thegospel of Paul is his message, not a book that he used).

Insula: Ancient apartment buildings in which the ground floor was used for shops and businesses, and the upper floors for residences. The apostle Paul evidently set up his (leather goods?) business and stayed in insula in the various towns he evangelized.

Justification by Faith: The doctrine found in Paul’s letters (see Judicial Model) that a person is “made right” (justified) with God by trusting in the effects of Christ’s death rather than by doing the works prescribed by the Jewish Law.

Law: See Torah.

Messiah: From a Hebrew word that literally means “anointed one,” translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations about whom this anointed one might be, with some Jews anticipating a future warrior-king like David, others a cosmic redeemer from heaven, others an authoritative priest, and still others a powerful spokesperson from God like Moses.

Paganism: Any of the polytheistic religions of the Greco-Roman world, an umbrella term for ancient Mediterranean religions other than Judaism and Christianity.

Prescript:The formal beginning of an epistle, normally including the name of the sender and addressees, a greeting, and often a prayer or wish for good health.

Resurrection: The doctrine originally devised within circles of apocalyptic Judaism that maintained that at the end of the present age those who had died would be brought back to life in order to face judgment: either torment for those who had opposed God or reward for those who had sided with God. The earliest Christians believed that Jesus had been raised and concluded therefore that the end of the age had already begun (see Firstfruits of the Resurrection). In Christian apocalyptic thought it was believed that the rewards and punishments of the future resurrection would hinge on one’s relationship to Christ, as either a believer or a nonbeliever.

Superapostles: In 2 Corinthians, a group of Paul’s opponents who were rhetorically proficient and able to do spectacular deeds, and who claimed that their remarkable abilities demonstrated that they, rather than Paul, were the true representatives of Christ.

Synagogue: Jewish place of worship and prayer, from aGreek word that literally means “being broughttogether.”

Torah: A Hebrew word that means “guidance” or “direction” but is usually translated “law.” As a technical term it designates either the Law of God given to Moses or the first five books of the Jewish Bible that Moses was traditionally thought to have written— Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Undisputed Pauline Epistles: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians,Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, andPhilemon—letters that scholars overwhelmingly judge tobe have been written by Paul. See also Deutero-PaulineEpistles; Pastoral Epistles.

Chapter 23

Apocalypticism: A worldview held by many ancient Jews and Christians that maintained that the present age is controlled by forces of evil, but that these will be destroyed at the end of time when God intervenes in history to bring in his Kingdom, an event thought to be imminent.

Apostle: Generally, one who is commissioned to performa task, from a Greek word meaning “sent”; in earlyChristianity, the term was used to designate special emissariesof the faith who were understood to be representativesof Christ. See also Disciple.

Atonement:The doctrine that indicates how a personwho is condemned by sin can be placed in a right standingbefore God by means of a sacrifice. In traditionalChristian teaching, it is Christ’s death that bringsatonement.

Baptism: From the Greek term baptizo, which means “to immerse.” The earliest Christian practice of baptism in water appears to have been an initiation rite (i.e., a ritual that one underwent when joining the Christian community); it probably derived from the practice of John the Baptist, who baptized Jews, including Jesus, in anticipation of the imminent arrival of the end of this age and the coming of the Kingdom of God. (Jewish cleansing rituals were repeated as the need arose; John’s baptism, like that of later Christians, appears to have been a one-time occurrence.) Later Christians assigned other meanings to the rite: the apostle Paul, for example, saw it as the mystical act of dying with Christ to sin. See Participationist Model.

Clement of Rome: One of the early leaders (“bishops”)of the church of Rome, around 95 C.E., who is the traditionalauthor of the noncanonical book 1 Clement.

Diatribe: A rhetorical device used by Greek and Latinauthors, including the apostle Paul, in which an imaginaryopponent raises objections to one’s views only to beanswered successfully, so as to move an argument forward.(Paul uses the diatribe, for example, in his letter to theRomans.)

Gentile: A Jewish designation for a non-Jew.

gospel: When this word is not capitalized, it refers not toa book but to the proclamation of the “good news” (fromthe Greek word euaggelion) of Christ’s salvation (e.g., thegospel of Paul is his message, not a book that he used).

Gospel: When this word is capitalized, it refers to a literarygenre: a written account of the “good news”brought by Jesus Christ, including episodes involvinghis words and/or deeds (e.g., the Gospel of Luke or ofPeter).

Judicial Model: One of the two principal ways that Paul understood or conceptualized the relationship between Christ’s death and salvation. According to this model, salvation is comparable to a legal decision in which God, who is both lawmaker and judge, treats humans as “not guilty” for committing acts of transgression (sins) against his law—even though they are guilty—because Jesus’ death has been accepted as a payment. See also Participationist Model.

Justification by Faith: The doctrine found in Paul’s letters (see Judicial Model) that a person is “made right” (justified) with God by trusting in the effects of Christ’s death rather than by doing the works prescribed by the Jewish Law.

Law: See Torah.

Nero: Roman emperor from 54 to 68 C.E. It was underhis reign that both Peter and Paul were allegedly martyredin Rome, as part of his persecution of Christians forthe fire that destroyed much of the city (the Roman historianTacitus indicates that Nero himself was responsiblefor the fire).

Participationist Model: One of the two principal waysthat Paul understood or conceptualized the relationshipbetween Christ’s death and salvation. This model understoodsin to be a cosmic force that enslaved people; salvation(liberation from bondage) came by participating inChrist’s death through baptism. See also Judicial Model.

Resurrection: The doctrine originally devised within circles of apocalyptic Judaism that maintained that at the end of the present age those who had died would be brought back to life in order to face judgment: either torment for those who had opposed God or reward for those who had sided with God. The earliest Christians believed that Jesus had been raised and concluded therefore that the end of the age had already begun (see Firstfruits of the Resurrection). In Christian apocalyptic thought it was believed that the rewards and punishments of the future resurrection would hinge on one’s relationship to Christ, as either a believer or a nonbeliever.

Suetonius: A Roman historian of the early second century C.E., best known for a multivolume collection of biographies of the Roman emperors, The Lives of the Caesars.

Chapter 24

Apocalypticism: A worldview held by many ancient Jews and Christians that maintained that the present age is controlled by forces of evil, but that these will be destroyed at the end of time when God intervenes in history to bring in his Kingdom, an event thought to be imminent.

Baptism: From the Greek term baptizo, which means “to immerse.” The earliest Christian practice of baptism in water appears to have been an initiation rite (i.e., a ritual that one underwent when joining the Christian community); it probably derived from the practice of John the Baptist, who baptized Jews, including Jesus, in anticipation of the imminent arrival of the end of this age and the coming of the Kingdom of God. (Jewish cleansing rituals were repeated as the need arose; John’s baptism, like that of later Christians, appears to have been a one-time occurrence.) Later Christians assigned other meanings to the rite: the apostle Paul, for example, saw it as the mystical act of dying with Christ to sin. See Participationist Model.

Covenant: An agreement or treaty between two social or political parties; used by ancient Jews in reference to the pact that God made to protect and preserve them as his chosen people in exchange for their devotion and adherence to his Law.

Gentile: A Jewish designation for a non-Jew.

Gnosticism:A group of ancient religions, some of themclosely related to Christianity, that maintained thatelements of the divine had become entrapped in this evilworld of matter and could be released only when theyacquired the secret gnosis (Greek for “knowledge”) ofwho they were and how they could escape. Gnosis wasgenerally thought to be brought by an emissary of thedivine realm.

gospel: When this word is not capitalized, it refers not toa book but to the proclamation of the “good news” (fromthe Greek word euaggelion) of Christ’s salvation (e.g., thegospel of Paul is his message, not a book that he used).

Gospel: When this word is capitalized, it refers to a literarygenre: a written account of the “good news”brought by Jesus Christ, including episodes involvinghis words and/or deeds (e.g., the Gospel of Luke or ofPeter).

Justification by Faith: The doctrine found in Paul’s letters (see Judicial Model) that a person is “made right” (justified) with God by trusting in the effects of Christ’s death rather than by doing the works prescribed by the Jewish Law.

Kingdom of God: In the teachings of Jesus, the Kingdom of God (or God’s reign) appears to refer to an actual kingdom that will come to earth to replace the wicked kingdoms that are now in control of affairs, and of God’s people, here. This would be a utopian kingdom through which truth, peace, and justice were restored; it would be ruled by God’s anointed one (i.e., the messiah).

Law: See Torah.

Marcion: A second-century Christian scholar and evangelist,later labeled a heretic for his docetic Christology andhis belief in two Gods—the harsh legalistic God of the Jewsand the merciful loving God of Jesus—views that heclaimed to have found in the writings of Paul.

Pharisees: A Jewish sect, which may have originatedduring the Maccabean period, that emphasized strictadherence to the purity laws set forth in the Torah. Seealso Mishnah.

Proto-orthodox Christianity: A form of Christianityendorsed by some Christians of the second and third centuries(including the Apostolic Fathers), which promoteddoctrines that were declared “orthodox” in the fourthand later centuries by the victorious Christian party, inopposition to such groups as the Ebionites, the Marcionites,and the Gnostics.

Resurrection: The doctrine originally devised within circles of apocalyptic Judaism that maintained that at the end of the present age those who had died would be brought back to life in order to face judgment: either torment for those who had opposed God or reward for those who had sided with God. The earliest Christians believed that Jesus had been raised and concluded therefore that the end of the age had already begun (see Firstfruits of the Resurrection). In Christian apocalyptic thought it was believed that the rewards and punishments of the future resurrection would hinge on one’s relationship to Christ, as either a believer or a nonbeliever.

Sanhedrin: A council of Jewish leaders headed by the high priest that played an advisory role in matters of religious and civil policy.

Son of God: In most Greco-Roman circles, the designation of a person born to a god, able to perform miraculous deeds and/or to convey superhuman teachings; in Jewish circles, the designation of persons chosen to stand in a special relationship with the God of Israel, including the ancient Jewish kings.

Son of Man: A term whose meaning is much disputedamong modern scholars, used in some ancient apocalyptictexts to refer to a cosmic judge sent from heaven at theend of time.

Thecla: A (legendary) female disciple of Paul whose adventures are narrated in the novel-like work of the second century The Acts of Paul and Thecla.

Theudas: (1) A first-century Jewish apocalypticprophet (mentioned by Josephus) who predicted theparting of the Jordan River and, evidently, the reconquestof the Promised Land by the chosen people. (2)An early Gnostic Christian, allegedly the disciple ofPaul and the teacher of Valentinus.

Torah: A Hebrew word that means “guidance” or “direction” but is usually translated “law.” As a technical term it designates either the Law of God given to Moses or the first five books of the Jewish Bible that Moses was traditionally thought to have written— Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Tradition: Any doctrine, idea, practice, or custom thathas been handed down from one person to another.

Valentinus: Second-century Gnostic Christian whotraced his intellectual lineage through his teacherTheudas back to the apostle Paul.

Chapter 25

Apocalypse: A literary genre in which an author, usually pseudonymous, reports symbolic dreams or visions, given or interpreted through an angelic mediator, that reveal the heavenly mysteries that can make sense of earthly realities.

Apocalypticism: A worldview held by many ancient Jews and Christians that maintained that the present age is controlled by forces of evil, but that these will be destroyed at the end of time when God intervenes in history to bring in his Kingdom, an event thought to be imminent.

Apostle: Generally, one who is commissioned to performa task, from a Greek word meaning “sent”; in earlyChristianity, the term was used to designate special emissariesof the faith who were understood to be representativesof Christ. See also Disciple.

Baptism: From the Greek term baptizo, which means “to immerse.” The earliest Christian practice of baptism in water appears to have been an initiation rite (i.e., a ritual that one underwent when joining the Christian community); it probably derived from the practice of John the Baptist, who baptized Jews, including Jesus, in anticipation of the imminent arrival of the end of this age and the coming of the Kingdom of God. (Jewish cleansing rituals were repeated as the need arose; John’s baptism, like that of later Christians, appears to have been a one-time occurrence.) Later Christians assigned other meanings to the rite: the apostle Paul, for example, saw it as the mystical act of dying with Christ to sin. See Participationist Model.

Bishop: Translation of a Greek term, episkopos, which literallymeans “overseer.” Early in the history of the Christian church,bishops were the leaders who had oversight of the life of thecommunity.

Canon: From a Greek word meaning “ruler” or “straightedge.” The term came to designate any recognized collectionof texts; the canon of the New Testament is thusthe collection of books that Christians accept as authoritative.

Charismatic Communities: Communities of believers that were led not by appointed leaders but by the Spirit of God, which had bestowed a particular gift (Greek: charisma), useful for the functioning of the entire group, upon each member of the community. According to Paul (see 1 Cor 12–14), the gifts (charismata) included such abilities as teaching, preaching, healing, prophesying, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues.

Deacon: A Greek word that literally means “one whoministers.” In the early church deacons were Christianchurch leaders given the responsibility of tending to thephysical needs of the community (e.g., through the distributionof alms).

Deutero-Pauline Epistles: The letters of Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians, which have a “secondary” (Deutero) standing in the Pauline Corpus because scholars debate whether they were written by Paul.

Elder: See Presbyter.

Gentile: A Jewish designation for a non-Jew.

Gnosticism: A group of ancient religions, some of them closely related to Christianity, that maintained that elements of the divine had become entrapped in this evil world of matter and could be released only when they acquired the secret gnosis (Greek for “knowledge”) of who they were and how they could escape. Gnosis was generally thought to be brought by an emissary of the divine realm.

Heresy: Any worldview or set of beliefs deemed by thosein power to be deviant, from a Greek word meaning“choice” (because “heretics” have “chosen” to deviatefrom the “truth”). See also Orthodoxy.

Ignatius: The bishop of Antioch, Syria, in the early second century. He was arrested by the Roman authorities for Christian activities and sent to Rome in order to be thrown to the wild beasts in the arena. On his journey to martyrdom, he wrote seven letters, which still survive. These letters are included among the writings of the Apostolic Fathers.

Irenaeus: Famous proto-orthodox Church Father and “heresiologist” (i.e., “heresy-hunter”) of the second century, whose five-volume work Against Heresies, written around 180 C.E., is a major source of information for Gnostic and other “heretical” groups.

Law: See Torah.

Manuscript: Any handwritten copy of a literary text.

Parousia: A Greek word meaning “presence” or “coming,” used as a technical term to refer to the second coming of Jesus in judgment at the end of time.

Pastoral Epistles: New Testament letters that Paulallegedly wrote to two pastors, Timothy (1 and 2 Timothy)and Titus, concerning their pastoral duties.

Pauline Corpus: All of the letters of the New Testament that claim to be written by Paul, including the Deutero-Pauline and Pastoral epistles.

Presbyter: From a Greek word that literally means “elder.” The term came to apply not only to older men, but in particular to the leaders of the Christian churches who were principally in charge of spiritual (as opposed to material) affairs (contrast Deacon); eventually the lead presbyter came to be known as the “overseer” (i.e., the bishop).

Proto-orthodox Christianity: A form of Christianityendorsed by some Christians of the second and third centuries(including the Apostolic Fathers), which promoteddoctrines that were declared “orthodox” in the fourthand later centuries by the victorious Christian party, inopposition to such groups as the Ebionites, the Marcionites,and the Gnostics.

Pseudepigrapha: From the Greek, literally meaning“false writings” and commonly referring to ancient noncanonicalJewish and Christian literary texts, many ofwhich were written pseudonymously.

Resurrection: The doctrine originally devised within circles of apocalyptic Judaism that maintained that at the end of the present age those who had died would be brought back to life in order to face judgment: either torment for those who had opposed God or reward for those who had sided with God. The earliest Christians believed that Jesus had been raised and concluded therefore that the end of the age had already begun (see Firstfruits of the Resurrection). In Christian apocalyptic thought it was believed that the rewards and punishments of the future resurrection would hinge on one’s relationship to Christ, as either a believer or a nonbeliever.

Scribes, Christian: Literate Christians responsible for copying sacred Scripture.

Seneca: Probably the greatest Roman philosopher of thesecond half of the first century C.E. and tutor to the youngNero, later thought to have entered into a prolonged correspondencewith the apostle Paul.

Temple: In pagan circles, a temple was any holy placedevoted to one or more divine beings where sacrificescould be made in accordance with established religiousprinciples. For Judaism there was only one legitimateTemple, the one in Jerusalem, an enormous complexthat contained the holy sanctuary and, within it, theHoly of Holies, where God’s presence on earth wasbelieved to dwell.

Chapter 26

Apocalypticism: A worldview held by many ancient Jews and Christians that maintained that the present age is controlled by forces of evil, but that these will be destroyed at the end of time when God intervenes in history to bring in his Kingdom, an event thought to be imminent.

Apostle: Generally, one who is commissioned to performa task, from a Greek word meaning “sent”; in earlyChristianity, the term was used to designate special emissariesof the faith who were understood to be representativesof Christ. See also Disciple.

Associations, Voluntary: In the Greco-Roman world, privately organized small groups of people who shared common interests and met periodically to socialize, enjoy a common meal, and conduct business; two of the best-known types were trade associations (composed of members of the same profession) and burial societies.

Baptism: From the Greek term baptizo, which means “to immerse.” The earliest Christian practice of baptism in water appears to have been an initiation rite (i.e., a ritual that one underwent when joining the Christian community); it probably derived from the practice of John the Baptist, who baptized Jews, including Jesus, in anticipation of the imminent arrival of the end of this age and the coming of the Kingdom of God. (Jewish cleansing rituals were repeated as the need arose; John’s baptism, like that of later Christians, appears to have been a one-time occurrence.) Later Christians assigned other meanings to the rite: the apostle Paul, for example, saw it as the mystical act of dying with Christ to sin. See Participationist Model.

Criterion of Contextual Credibility: One of the criteria commonly used by scholars to establish historically reliable material; with respect to the historical Jesus, the criterion maintains that if a saying or deed of Jesus cannot be credibly fit into his own first-century Palestinian context, then it cannot be regarded as authentic.

Criterion of Dissimilarity: One of the criteria commonly used by scholars to establish historically reliable material; the criterion maintains that if a saying or deed of Jesus does not coincide with (or works against) the agenda of the early Christians, it is more likely to be authentic.

Criterion of Independent Attestation: One of the criteria commonly used by scholars to establish historically reliable material; with respect to the historical Jesus, the criterion maintains that if a saying or deed of Jesus is attested independently by more than one source, it is more likely to be authentic.

Cynics: Greco-Roman philosophers, commonly portrayed as street preachers who harangued their audiences and urged them to find true freedom by liberating themselves from all social conventions. The Cynics’ decision to live “according to nature,” with none of the niceties of life, led their opponents to call them “dogs” (in Greek, cynes).

Deacon: A Greek word that literally means “one whoministers.” In the early church deacons were Christianchurch leaders given the responsibility of tending to thephysical needs of the community (e.g., through the distributionof alms).

Epicureans: Ancient group of followers of the Greekphilosopher Epicurus, who maintained that the gods wereremoved from the concerns of human life and so were notto be feared or placated. Happiness came in establishinga peaceful harmony with other like-minded people andenjoying the simple pleasures of daily existence.

Gnosticism: A group of ancient religions, some of them closely related to Christianity, that maintained that elements of the divine had become entrapped in this evil world of matter and could be released only when they acquired the secret gnosis (Greek for “knowledge”) of who they were and how they could escape. Gnosis was generally thought to be brought by an emissary of the divine realm.

Herod the Great: Ruler of all of Galilee, Samaria, and Judea (and so “king of the Jews”) from 40 to 4 B.C.E.; this Herod was allegedly ruling when Jesus was born and is known in Christian history for killing all the baby boys of Bethlehem in an attempt to destroy the infant Jesus (based on the account in Matthew).

Kingdom of God: In the teachings of Jesus, the Kingdom of God (or God’s reign) appears to refer to an actual kingdom that will come to earth to replace the wicked kingdoms that are now in control of affairs, and of God’s people, here. This would be a utopian kingdom through which truth, peace, and justice were restored; it would be ruled by God’s anointed one (i.e., the messiah).

Law: See Torah.

Pastoral Epistles: New Testament letters that Paulallegedly wrote to two pastors, Timothy (1 and 2 Timothy)and Titus, concerning their pastoral duties.

Pharisees: A Jewish sect, which may have originatedduring the Maccabean period, that emphasized strictadherence to the purity laws set forth in the Torah. Seealso Mishnah.

Prophet: In ancient Israelite religion, a prophet was a person who delivered God’s message to his people; eventually the term came to refer to writers who produced literary accounts of God’s word (e.g., Isaiah and Jeremiah). In Christian circles prophets were those who spoke God’s message in the community’s services of worship, possibly, on occasion, in a state of ecstasy.

Son of Man: A term whose meaning is much disputedamong modern scholars, used in some ancient apocalyptictexts to refer to a cosmic judge sent from heaven at theend of time.

Synagogue: Jewish place of worship and prayer, from aGreek word that literally means “being broughttogether.”

Thecla: A (legendary) female disciple of Paul whose adventures are narrated in the novel-like work of the second century The Acts of Paul and Thecla.

Chapter 27

Adoptionism: The view that Jesus was not divine, but a flesh-and-blood human being who was adopted at baptism to be God’s son.

Apocalypticism: A worldview held by many ancient Jews and Christians that maintained that the present age is controlled by forces of evil, but that these will be destroyed at the end of time when God intervenes in history to bring in his Kingdom, an event thought to be imminent.

Canon: From a Greek word meaning “ruler” or “straightedge.” The term came to designate any recognized collectionof texts; the canon of the New Testament is thusthe collection of books that Christians accept as authoritative.

Catholic: From a Greek word meaning “universal” or “general,” used of the New Testament epistles James; 1 and 2 Peter; 1, 2, and 3 John; Jude; and sometimes Hebrews (the “catholic” epistles) to differentiate them from the letters of Paul.

Christology: Any teaching about the nature of Christ.See also Adoptionism; Docetism.

Cosmos: The Greek word for “world.”

Covenant: An agreement or treaty between two social or political parties; used by ancient Jews in reference to the pact that God made to protect and preserve them as his chosen people in exchange for their devotion and adherence to his Law.

Cult: Shortened form of cultus deorum, a Latin phrasethat literally means “care of the gods,” generally used ofany set of religious practices of worship. In pagan religions,these normally involved acts of sacrifice andprayer.

Ebionites: A group of second-century adoptionists who maintained Jewish practices and Jewish forms of worship.

Epistle: Another designation for a private letter. Some scholars have differentiated between “epistles” as literary writings in the form of a letter, which were meant for general distribution, rather than for an individual recipient, and “letters” that were a nonliterary form of personal correspondence. This differentiation between epistles and letters is not widely held today, however, so that the terms tend to be used synonymously.

Gematria: Jewish method of interpreting a word on thebasis of the numerical value of its letters (in both Greekand Hebrew, the letters of the alphabet also serve asnumerals).

Gentile: A Jewish designation for a non-Jew.

Justification by Faith: The doctrine found in Paul’s letters (see Judicial Model) that a person is “made right” (justified) with God by trusting in the effects of Christ’s death rather than by doing the works prescribed by the Jewish Law.

Justin Martyr: One of the earliest “apologists,” who lived in Rome in the mid-second century.

Kingdom of God:In the teachings of Jesus, the Kingdomof God (or God’s reign) appears to refer to an actual kingdomthat will come to earth to replace the wicked kingdomsthat are now in control of affairs, and of God’s people, here.This would be a utopian kingdom through which truth, peace, andjustice were restored; it would be ruled by God’s anointedone (i.e., the messiah).

Law: See Torah.

Marcion: A second-century Christian scholar and evangelist,later labeled a heretic for his docetic Christology andhis belief in two Gods—the harsh legalistic God of the Jewsand the merciful loving God of Jesus—views that heclaimed to have found in the writings of Paul.

Melchizedek: A shadowy figure first mentioned in Genesis 14 as a king to whom Abraham, the father of the Jews, paid tithes from his spoils of battle. Later Christians, such as the author of Hebrews, understood Melchizedek to be a prefiguration of Christ, who was greater than all things Jewish (and hence worshiped by the father of the Jews).

Melito of Sardis: Second-century Christian leader fromAsia Minor, whose eloquent Easter sermon on the OldTestament story of Exodus casts vitriolic aspersions onthe Jews.

Messiah: From a Hebrew word that literally means “anointed one,” translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations about whom this anointed one might be, with some Jews anticipating a future warrior-king like David, others a cosmic redeemer from heaven, others an authoritative priest, and still others a powerful spokesperson from God like Moses.

Origen: A Christian philosopher and theologian from early-third-century Alexandria, Egypt, who wrote one of the best-known Christian apologies.

Paganism: Any of the polytheistic religions of the Greco-Roman world, an umbrella term for ancient Mediterranean religions other than Judaism and Christianity.

Passover: The most important and widely celebrated annual festival of Jews in Roman times, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt.

Philo: A famous Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, in the first century, and who saw the Jewish Scriptures as completely compatible with the insights of Greek philosophy and worked to interpret them accordingly.

Plato: Famous Greek philosopher from fourth-centuryB.C.E. Athens, many of whose ideas—including the tensionbetween the realms of matters and spirit—influencedChristian thinkers in the early centuries of thechurch.

Prophet: In ancient Israelite religion, a prophet was a person who delivered God’s message to his people; eventually the term came to refer to writers who produced literary accounts of God’s word (e.g., Isaiah and Jeremiah). In Christian circles prophets were those who spoke God’s message in the community’s services of worship, possibly, on occasion, in a state of ecstasy.

Self-definition: Term used in the social sciences to indicate the ways a social group understands itself in terms of the beliefs, rituals, practices, worldviews, shared experiences, and so on that bind it together as a group and differentiate it from those who are not in the group.

Synagogue: Jewish place of worship and prayer, from aGreek word that literally means “being broughttogether.”

Temple: In pagan circles, a temple was any holy placedevoted to one or more divine beings where sacrificescould be made in accordance with established religiousprinciples. For Judaism there was only one legitimateTemple, the one in Jerusalem, an enormous complexthat contained the holy sanctuary and, within it, theHoly of Holies, where God’s presence on earth wasbelieved to dwell.

Tertullian: A brilliant and acerbic Christian author from the late second and early third centuries. Tertullian, who was from North Africa and wrote in Latin, is one of the best-known early Christian apologists.

Two Ways: The doctrine found in the Didache and theEpistle of Barnabas that people must choose between twoways of living, the way of life (or light) and the way ofdeath (or darkness).

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Adoptionism: The view that Jesus was not divine, but a flesh-and-blood human being who was adopted at baptism to be God’s son.

Apology: A reasoned explanation and justification ofone’s beliefs and/or practices, from a Greek word meaning“defense.”

Bishop: Translation of a Greek term, episkopos, whichliterally means “overseer.” Early in the history of theChristian church, bishops were the leaders who had oversightof the life of the community.

Constantine: Roman emperor in the early fourth century, the first emperor to convert to Christianity. Constantine’s conversion played a highly significant role in the spread of Christianity, as it moved the faith from being a persecuted minority religion to becoming the powerful majority religion of the entire empire.

Cult: Shortened form of cultus deorum, a Latin phrasethat literally means “care of the gods,” generally used ofany set of religious practices of worship. In pagan religions,these normally involved acts of sacrifice andprayer.

Gnosticism: A group of ancient religions, some of them closely related to Christianity, that maintained that elements of the divine had become entrapped in this evil world of matter and could be released only when they acquired the secret gnosis (Greek for “knowledge”) of who they were and how they could escape. Gnosis was generally thought to be brought by an emissary of the divine realm.

Ignatius: The bishop of Antioch, Syria, in the early second century. He was arrested by the Roman authorities for Christian activities and sent to Rome in order to be thrown to the wild beasts in the arena. On his journey to martyrdom, he wrote seven letters, which still survive. These letters are included among the writings of the Apostolic Fathers.

Justin Martyr: One of the earliest “apologists,” who lived in Rome in the mid-second century.

Marcus Aurelius: Roman emperor from 161 to 80 C.E.,best known for his writings of Stoic philosophy, but knownin Christian sources for ruling when some of the most violentpersecutions against Christians occurred.

Martyr: From the Greek word martus,which literally means “witness.” Christian martyrs are those who “bear witness” to Christ, even to the point of death.

Nero: Roman emperor from 54 to 68 C.E. It was underhis reign that both Peter and Paul were allegedly martyredin Rome, as part of his persecution of Christians forthe fire that destroyed much of the city (the Roman historianTacitus indicates that Nero himself was responsiblefor the fire).

Origen: A Christian philosopher and theologian from early-third-century Alexandria, Egypt, who wrote one of the best-known Christian apologies.

Paganism: Any of the polytheistic religions of the Greco-Roman world, an umbrella term for ancient Mediterranean religions other than Judaism and Christianity.

Pastoral Epistles: New Testament letters that Paulallegedly wrote to two pastors, Timothy (1 and 2 Timothy)and Titus, concerning their pastoral duties.

Perpetua: An upper-class Christian woman of Carthage,North Africa, who along with her slave Felicitas was martyredby being thrown to the wild beasts in 203 C.E.; wehave an account of their martyrdom that includes a diaryallegedly from Perpetua’s own hand.

Pliny the Younger: Roman aristocrat who ruled the province of Bithynia-Pontus in the early second century C.E., and whose correspondence with the Emperor Trajan contains the earliest reference to Christ in a pagan source.

Polycarp: Bishop of Smyrna in the first half of the second century, and one of the best known of the early proto-orthodox leaders. In addition to a letter written to him by Ignatius, we have a letter written by him to the church in Philippi, and an allegedly eyewitness account of his martyrdom in the arena at Smyrna around 155 C.E.

Pontius Pilate: Roman aristocrat who served as the governorof Judea from 26 to 36 C.E., and who was responsiblefor ordering Jesus’ crucifixion.

Pseudepigrapha: From the Greek, literally meaning“false writings” and commonly referring to ancient noncanonicalJewish and Christian literary texts, many ofwhich were written pseudonymously.

Resident Aliens: In the Roman Empire, persons who took up permanent residence in a place that was not their original home and in which they did not enjoy the benefits of citizenship.

Suetonius: A Roman historian of the early second century C.E., best known for a multivolume collection of biographies of the Roman emperors, The Lives of the Caesars.

Tacitus: Roman historian of the early second centuryC.E., whose multivolume work The Annals of Rome providessubstantial information about Roman history fromthe beginning down to his own time.

Tertullian: A brilliant and acerbic Christian author from the late second and early third centuries. Tertullian, who was from North Africa and wrote in Latin, is one of the best-known early Christian apologists.

Thecla: A (legendary) female disciple of Paul whose adventures are narrated in the novel-like work of the second century The Acts of Paul and Thecla.

Trajan: Roman emperor from 98 to 117 C.E., known, inpart, through his correspondence with Pliny the Younger.

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Apocalypticism: A worldview held by many ancient Jews and Christians that maintained that the present age is controlled by forces of evil, but that these will be destroyed at the end of time when God intervenes in history to bring in his Kingdom, an event thought to be imminent.

Apostle: Generally, one who is commissioned to performa task, from a Greek word meaning “sent”; in earlyChristianity, the term was used to designate special emissariesof the faith who were understood to be representativesof Christ. See also Disciple.

Apostolic Succession: The proto-orthodox claim thatleaders of the major churches had been appointed bythe successors of the apostles themselves, so that theirauthority could be traced back to Jesus’ hand-chosenfollowers.

Bishop: Translation of a Greek term, episkopos, whichliterally means “overseer.” Early in the history of theChristian church, bishops were the leaders who had oversightof the life of the community.

Canon: From a Greek word meaning “ruler” or “straightedge.” The term came to designate any recognized collectionof texts; the canon of the New Testament is thusthe collection of books that Christians accept as authoritative.

Charismatic Communities: Communities of believers that were led not by appointed leaders but by the Spirit of God, which had bestowed a particular gift (Greek: charisma), useful for the functioning of the entire group, upon each member of the community. According to Paul (see 1 Cor 12–14), the gifts (charismata) included such abilities as teaching, preaching, healing, prophesying, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues.

Christology: Any teaching about the nature of Christ.See also Adoptionism; Docetism.

Clement of Rome: One of the early leaders (“bishops”)of the church of Rome, around 95 C.E., who is the traditionalauthor of the noncanonical book 1 Clement.

Deacon: A Greek word that literally means “one whoministers.” In the early church deacons were Christianchurch leaders given the responsibility of tending to thephysical needs of the community (e.g., through the distributionof alms).

Docetism: The view that Jesus was not a human beingbut only appeared to be, from a Greek word meaning “toseem” or “to appear.”

Elder: See Presbyter.

Gnosticism: A group of ancient religions, some of them closely related to Christianity, that maintained that elements of the divine had become entrapped in this evil world of matter and could be released only when they acquired the secret gnosis (Greek for “knowledge”) of who they were and how they could escape. Gnosis was generally thought to be brought by an emissary of the divine realm.

Heresy:Any worldview or set of beliefs deemed by thosein power to be deviant, from a Greek word meaning“choice” (because “heretics” have “chosen” to deviatefrom the “truth”). See also Orthodoxy.

Ignatius: The bishop of Antioch, Syria, in the early second century. He was arrested by the Roman authorities for Christian activities and sent to Rome in order to be thrown to the wild beasts in the arena. On his journey to martyrdom, he wrote seven letters, which still survive. These letters are included among the writings of the Apostolic Fathers.

Judaizer: A Christian who insists that followers of Jesus need to keep (all or parts of) the Jewish Law in order to have a right standing before God (a view held, e.g., by Paul’s opponents in Galatia).

Justification by Faith: The doctrine found in Paul’s letters (see Judicial Model) that a person is “made right” (justified) with God by trusting in the effects of Christ’s death rather than by doing the works prescribed by the Jewish Law.

Marcion: A second-century Christian scholar and evangelist,later labeled a heretic for his docetic Christology andhis belief in two Gods—the harsh legalistic God of the Jewsand the merciful loving God of Jesus—views that heclaimed to have found in the writings of Paul.

Martyr: From the Greek word martus,which literally means “witness.” Christian martyrs are those who “bear witness” to Christ, even to the point of death.

Nero: Roman emperor from 54 to 68 C.E. It was underhis reign that both Peter and Paul were allegedly martyredin Rome, as part of his persecution of Christians forthe fire that destroyed much of the city (the Roman historianTacitus indicates that Nero himself was responsiblefor the fire).

Pastoral Epistles: New Testament letters that Paulallegedly wrote to two pastors, Timothy (1 and 2 Timothy)and Titus, concerning their pastoral duties.

Polycarp: Bishop of Smyrna in the first half of the second century, and one of the best known of the early proto-orthodox leaders. In addition to a letter written to him by Ignatius, we have a letter written by him to the church in Philippi, and an allegedly eyewitness account of his martyrdom in the arena at Smyrna around 155 C.E.

Prophet: In ancient Israelite religion, a prophet was a person who delivered God’s message to his people; eventually the term came to refer to writers who produced literary accounts of God’s word (e.g., Isaiah and Jeremiah). In Christian circles prophets were those who spoke God’s message in the community’s services of worship, possibly, on occasion, in a state of ecstasy.

Proto-orthodox Christianity: A form of Christianityendorsed by some Christians of the second and third centuries(including the Apostolic Fathers), which promoteddoctrines that were declared “orthodox” in the fourthand later centuries by the victorious Christian party, inopposition to such groups as the Ebionites, the Marcionites,and the Gnostics.

Pseudepigrapha: From the Greek, literally meaning“false writings” and commonly referring to ancient noncanonicalJewish and Christian literary texts, many ofwhich were written pseudonymously.

Secessionists: Members of the Johannine community who, according to the author of 1 John, “seceded” from (i.e., left) the community to form a community of their own. First John, which calls these people “antichrists,” suggests that they had adopted a docetic Christology, not allowing that Christ was fully human.

Sermon on the Mount: The sermon found only in Matthew 5–7, which preserves many of the best-known sayings of Jesus (including Matthew’s form of the Beatitudes, the Antitheses, and the Lord’s Prayer).

Simon Magus: Mysterious figure first named in Acts 8 (called there simply “Simon”) who was able to perform magical deeds (hence the sobriquet “Magus”) and was thought to be in competition with the apostles for followers. Later Christians insisted that Simon Magus tried to wrest converts from the apostles by doing magical deeds to convince them of his own power. One later noncanonical text, the Acts of Peter, narrates a series of miracle-working contests between Peter and Simon Magus (Peter, of course, wins). Starting in the second century, Christian heresy-hunters claimed that Simon Magus was the first Gnostic.

Superapostles: In 2 Corinthians, a group of Paul’s opponents who were rhetorically proficient and able to do spectacular deeds, and who claimed that their remarkable abilities demonstrated that they, rather than Paul, were the true representatives of Christ.

Tradition: Any doctrine, idea, practice, or custom thathas been handed down from one person to another.

Two Ways: The doctrine found in the Didache and theEpistle of Barnabas that people must choose between twoways of living, the way of life (or light) and the way ofdeath (or darkness).

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Apocalypse: A literary genre in which an author, usually pseudonymous, reports symbolic dreams or visions, given or interpreted through an angelic mediator, that reveal the heavenly mysteries that can make sense of earthly realities.

Apocalypticism: A worldview held by many ancient Jews and Christians that maintained that the present age is controlled by forces of evil, but that these will be destroyed at the end of time when God intervenes in history to bring in his Kingdom, an event thought to be imminent.

Baptism: From the Greek term baptizo, which means “to immerse.” The earliest Christian practice of baptism in water appears to have been an initiation rite (i.e., a ritual that one underwent when joining the Christian community); it probably derived from the practice of John the Baptist, who baptized Jews, including Jesus, in anticipation of the imminent arrival of the end of this age and the coming of the Kingdom of God. (Jewish cleansing rituals were repeated as the need arose; John’s baptism, like that of later Christians, appears to have been a one-time occurrence.) Later Christians assigned other meanings to the rite: the apostle Paul, for example, saw it as the mystical act of dying with Christ to sin. See Participationist Model.

Canon:From a Greek word meaning “ruler” or “straightedge.” The term came to designate any recognized collectionof texts; the canon of the New Testament is thusthe collection of books that Christians accept as authoritative.

Domitian: Roman emperor from 81 to 96 C.E.; most scholars believe he was the emperor when the book of Revelation, and its attack on the Roman Empire, was composed.

Eusebius: Early-fourth-century Church Father known as the “Father of Church History,” as his ten-volume book, History of the Christian Church, was the first to provide an extensive chronicle of Christianity’s early years, from the days of Jesus down to Eusebius’s own time (the early part of the reign of Constantine). Eusebius is the primary source of information for many of the events and writers of the first three centuries of the church.

Gematria: Jewish method of interpreting a word on thebasis of the numerical value of its letters (in both Greekand Hebrew, the letters of the alphabet also serve asnumerals).

Genre: A kind of literature with specific literary features; in the modern world, for example, there are short stories, novels, and limericks (each with their own distinctive features); in the ancient world there were biographies, epic poems, general histories, and many others. The major genres of the New Testament are Gospels (which are most like religious biographies), Acts (most like general histories), epistles, and apocalypses.

Kingdom of God: In the teachings of Jesus, the Kingdom of God (or God’s reign) appears to refer to an actual kingdom that will come to earth to replace the wicked kingdoms that are now in control of affairs, and of God’s people, here. This would be a utopian kingdom through which truth, peace, and justice were restored; it would be ruled by God’s anointed one (i.e., the messiah).

Maccabean Revolt: The Jewish uprising against the Syriansand their king, Antiochus Epiphanes, starting in 167B.C.E., in protest against the forced imposition of Hellenisticculture and the proscription of Jewish practices such ascircumcision. See also Hasmoneans.

Martyr: From the Greek word martus,which literally means “witness.” Christian martyrs are those who “bear witness” to Christ, even to the point of death.

Muratorian Fragment: A fragmentary text discovered inthe eighteenth century, named after its Italian discoverer,Muratori, which contains, in Latin, a list of Christianbooks that its author considered canonical; the canon isusually considered to have been produced in the late secondcentury, in or around Rome.

Nag Hammadi: Village in upper (southern) Egypt, near the place where a collection of Gnostic writings, including the Gospel of Thomas,were discovered in 1945.

Nero: Roman emperor from 54 to 68 C.E. It was underhis reign that both Peter and Paul were allegedly martyredin Rome, as part of his persecution of Christians forthe fire that destroyed much of the city (the Roman historianTacitus indicates that Nero himself was responsiblefor the fire).

Prophet: In ancient Israelite religion, a prophet was a person who delivered God’s message to his people; eventually the term came to refer to writers who produced literary accounts of God’s word (e.g., Isaiah and Jeremiah). In Christian circles prophets were those who spoke God’s message in the community’s services of worship, possibly, on occasion, in a state of ecstasy.

Pseudepigrapha: From the Greek, literally meaning“false writings” and commonly referring to ancient noncanonicalJewish and Christian literary texts, many ofwhich were written pseudonymously.

Pseudonymity: The practice of writing under a fictitiousname, evident in a large number of pagan, Jewish, andChristian writings from antiquity.

Resurrection: The doctrine originally devised within circles of apocalyptic Judaism that maintained that at the end of the present age those who had died would be brought back to life in order to face judgment: either torment for those who had opposed God or reward for those who had sided with God. The earliest Christians believed that Jesus had been raised and concluded therefore that the end of the age had already begun (see Firstfruits of the Resurrection). In Christian apocalyptic thought it was believed that the rewards and punishments of the future resurrection would hinge on one’s relationship to Christ, as either a believer or a nonbeliever.

Son of Man: A term whose meaning is much disputedamong modern scholars, used in some ancient apocalyptictexts to refer to a cosmic judge sent from heaven at theend of time.