Early Christian Literature
Christ and Culture in the Second and Third Centuries
By Helen Rhee
Routledge – 2004 – 284 pages
Helen Rhee’s outstanding work is the first book to bring together The Apologies and the semi-fictional Apocryphal Acts and Martyr Acts in a single study. Filling a significant gap in the scholarship, she looks at Christian self definition and self representation in the context of pagan-Christian conflict.
Using an interdisciplinary approach; historical, literary, theological, sociological, and anthropological, Rhee studies the Christians in the formative period of their religion; from mid first to early third centuries. She examines how the forms of Greco-Roman society were adapted by the Christians to present the superiority of Christian monotheism, Christian sexual morality, and Christian (dis)loyalty to the Empire.
Tackling broad topics, including theology, asceticism, sexuality and patriotism, this book explores issues of cultural identity and examines how these propagandist writings shaped the theological, moral and political trajectories of Christian faith and contributed largely to the definition of orthodoxy.
This thorough study will benefit all students of early Christianity and Greco-Roman literary culture and civilization.