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Conversion to ChristianityHistorical and Anthropological Perspectives on a Great Transformation$
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Robert Hefner

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780520078352

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520078352.001.0001

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From the Jesus Movement toward Institutional Church

From the Jesus Movement toward Institutional Church

(p.47) Chapter Two From the Jesus Movement toward Institutional Church
Conversion to Christianity

Robert W. Hefner

University of California Press

This chapter opens with a discussion on the Jewish crisis of social identity. The subsequent development of Judaism and the rise of Christianity are explored. The origins of the Jesus movement are then presented. Mark depicts the gatherings of Jesus' followers as taking place in homes or in public settings. Matthew's transformation of the Jesus tradition from its charismatic, improvisatory origins is quite complete. Socially, conceptually, and structurally, the churches in the Pauline tradition had become by the turn of the second century unmistakably institutional. Although the tradition was to look back to Jesus and his message in the Jewish prophetic and apocalyptic tradition, the patterns that it adopted and adapted were those of the wider Roman world: two centuries later it would provide the emperor Constantine a centralizing and coordinating system.

Keywords:   Jesus movement, Jewish crisis, social identity, Mark, Matthew, Pauline tradition, churches

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