Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
July 22nd, 2015 by Joel Watts

In the Mail: @OUPAcademic’s “Roman Faith and Christian Faith: Pistis and Fides in the Early Roman Empire and Early Churches”

From Oxford’s site:

This study investigates why “faith” (pistis/fides) was so important to early Christians that the concept and praxis dominated the writings of the New Testament. It argues that such a study must be interdisciplinary, locating emerging Christianities in the social practices and mentalites of contemporary Judaism and the early Roman empire. This can, therefore, equally be read as a study of the operation of pistis/fides in the world of the early Roman principate, taking one small but relatively well-attested cult as a case study in how micro-societies within that world could treat it distinctively.

Drawing on recent work in sociology and economics, the book traces the varying shapes taken by pistis/fides in Greek and Roman human and divine-human relationships: whom or what is represented as easy or difficult to trust or believe in; where pistis/fides is “deferred” and “reified” in practices such as oaths and proofs; howpistis/fides is related to fear, doubt and scepticism; and which foundations ofpistis/fides are treated as more or less secure.

The book then traces the evolution of representations of human and divine-humanpistis in the Septuagint, before turning to pistis/pisteuein in New Testament writings and their role in the development of early Christologies (incorporating a new interpretation of pistis Christou) and ecclesiologies. It argues for the integration of the study of pistis/pisteuein with that of New Testament ethics. It explores the interiority of Graeco-Roman and early Christian pistis/fides. Finally, it discusses eschatological pistis and the shape of the divine-human community in the eschatological kingdom.

You can see the introduction here.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).


6 Responses to “In the Mail: @OUPAcademic’s “Roman Faith and Christian Faith: Pistis and Fides in the Early Roman Empire and Early Churches””
  1. Know More Than I Should says

    Faith was important to first century Christians because it was just about all they had. It was only after the church began acquiring social status that other things, like works, gained in status.

  2. Yikes! $155. I hope understanding professors don’t stick it to their students, and make this a required text. Pistis may migrate to pis’this.

    • Know More Than I Should says

      College texts are egregiously priced. Consistent with trends in higher education, textbook publishing has become a racket. Much like healthcare, both are pay-to-play games.

  3. So many books I’d love to read if they didn’t cost so doggone much.

  4. Gee, all quiet on the West Virginia front. Joel must have went on vacation.

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