mode Priests of My People: Levitical Paradigms for Early Christian Ministers (Patristic Studies) (Hardcover) by Stewart Bryan A. Iu6umwwb

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This book offers an innovative examination of the question: why did early Christians begin calling their ministerial leaders priests (using the terms 'hiereus/sacerdos')? Scholarly consensus has typically suggested that a Christian priesthood emerged either from an imitation of pagan priesthood or in connection with seeing the Eucharist as a sacrifice over which a priest must preside. This work challenges these claims by exploring texts of the third and fourth century where Christian bishops and ministers are first designated priests Tertullian and Cyprian of Carthage Origen of Alexandria Eusebius of Caesarea and the church orders 'Apostolic Tradition' and 'Didascalia Apostolorum.' Such an examination demonstrates that the rise of a Christian ministerial priesthood grew more broadly out of a developing religio-political ecclesiology. As early Christians began to understand themselves culturally as a unique 'polis' in their own right in the Greco-Roman world they also saw themselves theologically and historically connected with ancient biblical Israel. This religio-political ecclesiology sharpened by an emerging Christian material culture and a growing sense of Christian sacred space influenced the way Christians interpreted the Jewish Scriptures typologically. In seeing the nation of Israel as a divine nation corresponding to themselves Christians began appropriating the Levitical priesthood as a figure or type of the Christian ministerial office. Such a study helpfully broadens our understanding of the emergence of a Christian priesthood beyond pagan imitation or narrow focus on the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist and instead offers a more comprehensive explanation in connection with early Christian ecclesiology.