Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

Get access Subject: Biblical Studies and Early Christianity
General Editors: David G. Hunter, Boston College, United States, Paul J.J. van Geest, Tilburg University, Netherlands, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity focuses on the history of early Christian texts, authors, ideas. Its content is intended to bridge the gap between the fields of New Testament studies and patristics, covering the whole period of early Christianity up to 600 CE. The BEEC aims to provide a critical review of the methods used in Early Christian Studies and to update the historiography.

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(3,265 words)

Author(s): Jöris, Steffen
In the early Christian period, the motif of fire became part of the eschatological vocabulary of divine judgment. While it initially described the eschatological (Eschatology) torments at the final judgment, the idea of an expiatory fire developed in the early church, which existed either in a postmortal space between death and judgment day or at the eschaton. In some instances, fire was also regarded as a divine attribute as part of a theophany, which was applied to the eschatological figure of Jesus Christ.Characterizations of Fire prior to the New TestamentApart from various prof…
Date: 2020-12-17

Firmicus Maternus

(1,673 words)

Author(s): Mace, Hannah
Details about the life of Firmicus Maternus (fl. mid-4th cent. CE) are rare and found only within his own texts. The manuscripts state his full name as Julius Firmicus Maternus, and he is noted to be of senatorial rank ( vir clarissimus). He does not appear to be from an old senatorial family, and he may have been promoted to the rank of senator for the new capital at Constantinople (Bram, 1975, 2). Although no family members are mentioned, he has a patron, the senator Lollianus Mavortius. Firmicus states that he is from and lives in S…
Date: 2020-12-17

Firmilian of Caesarea

(1,418 words)

Author(s): Brennecke, Hanns Christof
Firmilian (d. 268 CE), a well-known bishop of the Cappadocian metropolis Caesarea (from c. 230 CE), appears according to Eusebius of Caesarea ( Hist. eccl. 6.7) to have taken part in almost all of the significant debates in the formation of una sancta et catholica ecclesia (one holy and catholic church) and its standardized structures in the middle of the 3rd century CE as a representative of an episcopally organized church. The institution of synods and intensive epistolary communication between the churches appear to be for him a fundamental element in the structure of the ecclesia cath…
Date: 2020-12-17

First Thought, Three Forms of (Trimorphic Protennoia)

(2,490 words)

Author(s): Turner (†), John D.
The 16 papyrus pages containing the Coptic text of Three Forms of First Thought (or Trimorphic Protennoia) and the first ten lines of another copy of On the Origin of the World – discovered inside the front cover of NHC 6 – constitute the remains of what would have been an entire Nag Hammadi Codex (13). Since the center of the papyrus quire is found between the sixth and seventh pages of Trimorphic Protennoia, and since the text of On the Origin of the World would have occupied another 30 pages, the original 80 pages of Codex 13 would have begun with treatise of 34 pages, quite…
Date: 2020-12-17


(2,788 words)

Author(s): Dresken-Weiland, Jutta
The fish is one of the earliest images that acquired a Christian sense, together with the anchor. The acrostic ΙΧΘΥΣ marks the first use of the fish as a symbol of Christ, that is, a Christian meaning is attributed to an already existing image. The letters ΙΧΘΥΣ are in fact a confession of faith, with the advantage of being short and memorable: ̕Ιησου̃ς Χριστὸς, Θεου̃ Υἱὸς, Σωτὴρ (“Jesus Christ, son of God, savior”). It is highly probable that Greek-speaking Christians “invented” this acrostic i…
Date: 2020-12-17


(1,521 words)

Author(s): Villegas Marín, Raúl
Virius Nicomachus Flavianus (c. 335–September 394 CE) was the son of Venustus (Macr. Sat. 1.5.13). His mother may have belonged to the powerful Roman aristocratic family of the Anicii (Chausson, 1996). Flavianus had also family ties with the orator and politician Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, which became stronger through the marriage of his son, Nicomachus Flavianus iunior, with Symmachus’ daughter (387 CE); after Flavianus’ death, one of his granddaughters married Memmius Symmachus, son of the great orator (401 CE).Flavianus’ first steps in a political career were those …
Date: 2020-12-17

Flavius Clemens

(1,625 words)

Author(s): Ramelli, Ilaria L.E.
Titus Flavius Clemens (d. c. 95 CE; Flavius Clement) was a Christian aristocrat of the Flavian family, a nephew of the Roman emperor Vespasian. His Roman three names ( tria nomina: praenomen, nomen, cognomen) are the same as those which the Christian Platonist Clement of Alexandria bore later, in the late 2nd – early 3rd century CE – not without possible connections with the same family. Flavius Clement was the son of Titus Flavius Sabinus, consul in 52 CE and prefect of Rome ( praefectus urbi) during the reign of Nero, and a brother of Titus Flavius Sabinus, consul in 82 CE. Th…
Date: 2020-12-17

Flavius Josephus

(6,624 words)

Author(s): Mason, Steve
“The prophecies of the Lord and the narrative of Josephus combine to form one picture,” wrote New Testament scholar B.F. Westcott, bishop of Durham (see Knight, 1896, 12). This was in the introduction to a book on the Arch of Titus – erected by in 81 CE to honor his late brother as destroyer of Jerusalem and restored by Pope Pius VII in 1823 as Titus’ conscious successor. The bishop stood in a long line of Christian figures, from the gospel writers through Justin Martyr ( Dial. 40), Hippolytus of Rome ( Jud. 1.1), Tertullian ( Apol. 21), Origen ( Cels. 4.22), Eusebius of Caesarea ( Hist. eccl. 1.1; 3…
Date: 2020-12-17