Community and Worship

Authored by: Everett Ferguson

The Routledge Companion to Early Christian Thought

Print publication date:  December  2009
Online publication date:  December  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415442251
eBook ISBN: 9780203864517
Adobe ISBN: 9781135193430


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Christians shared with Jews, but unlike most other religious groups in Greco-Roman antiquity, a strong sense of community life. Others had a sense of common identity and shared rituals, but none, it seems, had the solidarity of a strong community organization exhibited in Judaism and Christianity. A possible exception is Mithraism, but it lacked the exclusiveness characteristic of the biblical religions. Some philosophical schools, like the Epicureans and possibly the Neopythagoreans, exhibited a community life built around adherence to a founder that included some practices characteristic of a religion. Nonetheless, the sense of “church” was a distinctive feature of early Christian faith and practice.

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