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Archaeology of Early Christianity: A History
William H. C. Frend
From The Publisher:
Spectacular recent discoveries and a stream of material artifacts have heightened interest in what archaeology can tell us about early Christianity. The first of its kind, William Frend's important and engaging work tells the full story of the archaeological search for early Christianity. He reveals how, despite nationalisms, religious rivalry, and personal ambition, archaeology since Napoleon's time has excavated important sites and developed scientific methods to explore them. The important light archaeology sheds on the art, architecture, and social world of Christians in the Roman Empire becomes clear.
Frend shows how archaeology enriches our understanding of Jewish-Christian relations in the first centuries, and provides clues to long-ignored popular religion and non-orthodox traditions of the Donatists, Manichees, and Monophysites. And he demonstrates how archaeology decisively corrects and modifies text-based scholarly consensus on the mission of Christianity in the Roman Empire.
Frend opens this vast reliquary to reveal a fascinating and enlightening picture of the rise of Christianity. With a wealth of color and black-and-white images, maps, plans, and a glossary, Frend's comprehensive history unearths for the first time the full triumph and folly of Christianity's search for its own past.
"One of the most distinguished historians of the history of ancient Christianity provides an illuminating and fascinating account of the history of archaeological discoveries about the Christians and their churches in antiquity. When did the quest for archaeological evidence begin? What were its successes and failures? What is the significance of these discoveries? From the shores of the Lake of Galilee to Greece, Numidia, Rome, and the lands of the barbarians in western Europe--everything is discussed in this learned volume. The readers will not only find information about the history of the exploration of every important archaeological site, they will also learn about the people who ventured out on such explorations, political intrigues, and prejudices and controversies. This book will be an indispensable tool for all students of ancient Christianity; but it is also a book that can captivate any reader who wants to know how worshippers of reliquaries, pilgrims, travelers, excavators, and scholars have found and understood whatever archaeological remains here are from the time of ancient Christianity."
Helmut Koester Harvard Divinity School
"William Frend provides a fascinating account not simply of the archaeological evidence for early Christianity during the Roman period but, equally revealing, the story of how the search for this evidence developed from the determined piety of Saint Helena . . . up to the evolution of modern archaeology. . . . Archaeology buffs will find here a wealth of information entwined in Frend's lively historical interpretation.""
The Bible Today
"Many will think of it as a summing up of Frend's life and bless the author's name." --Henry Chadwick "A vivid account of the digs themselves and the personalities and rivalries involved in salvaging the remains of the Christian past.""
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About the Author
William H. C. Frend, FBA, is Professor Emeritus of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. Among his many publications are The Early Church, Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church, and the Rise of Christianity, his monumental account of the social, institutional, and doctrinal history of early Christianity.
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