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Establishing Short-Term Communities in Eucharistic Celebrations of Antiquity

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Despite traces of their self-conceptualisation as long-term groups, Christian community meetings established groups with a presumably small and stable long-term core group and with a certainly instable group of other participants. In this respect, Christian groups abided by group-styles of other social bodies in their cities. Gatherings of Christians were as stable and unstable as other fellowships at a banquet or as the group of clients who met a certain patron in a morning salutatio. In the fourth century, the celebration of Eucharists becomes embedded in a performance sui generis, which contemporary preachers cannot explain by analogies to contemporary institutions. They have recourse to far-fetched and highly metaphorical notions in order to describe and legitimise these performances. Current sociological studies about the developments of groups thus provide important analytical categories for the reconstruction of the early history of Christian liturgies.
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Keywords: CHRISTIANITY; DIDACHE; EUCHARIST; GROUP-STYLE; LITURGY; MASS; MEALS; MORNING SALUTATIO

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2017

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  • Religion in the Roman Empire (RRE) is bold in the sense that it intends to further and document new and integrative perspectives on religion in the Ancient World combining multidisciplinary methodologies. Starting from the notion of "lived religion" it will offer a space to take up recent, but still incipient, research to modify and cross the disciplinary boundaries of History of Religion, Archaeology, Anthropology, Classics, Ancient History, Jewish History, Rabbinics, New Testament, Early Christianity, Patristics, Coptic Studies, Gnostic and Manichean Studies, Late Antiquity and Oriental Languages. We hope to stimulate the development of new approaches that can encompass the local and global trajectories of the multidimensional pluralistic religions of antiquity.

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    The first issues will deal with "Lived Religion: Appropriations of Religion and Meanings in Situations," "Understanding Objects in Religious Contexts" and with "Practices and Groups," bringing together studies on textual and archaeological material from all areas of the Mediterranean.

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