Bonds and Boundaries among the Early Churches: Community Maintenance in the Letter of James and the Didache
Yu, Chun Ling
Turnhout: Brepols, 2018 pp. xxi + 313. $91.00
Studia Traditionis Theologiae: Explorations in Early and Medieval Theology, 29
Description: This book explores the group conflicts within early Christian communities reflected in the letter of James and the Didache, and then analyzes the community maintenance strategies of these two writings. With the tools from social science, it shows that community conflict is an important background for biblical interpretation and the understanding of the early church.
This book is a text-based study on social dynamics of early Christian communities. By combining modern social-scientific theories with careful exegesis, it investigates the tensions, especially intra-communal tensions that confronted early communities of Jesus-followers. It contributes to both biblical studies and the understanding of the early church by showing that two early Christian compositions, the letter of James and the Didache reflect similar discords among early Christians, and they show similar concerns for community solidarity. It also offers an analysis of their community maintenance strategies with the frameworks of social identity theory and conflict theories. Through observing both similarities and differences between James and the Didache, this book highlights the different perspectives and attitudes of the two compositions on group conflicts and their resolution, and provides new insights into the significance of these two writings for the early church as well as for the Christian communities today.
Subjects: Early Christian Literature, Literature, Methods, Social-Scientific Approaches
Review by Kyle R. Hughes
Citation: Kyle R. Hughes, review of Chun Ling Yu, Bonds and Boundaries among the Early Churches: Community Maintenance in the Letter of James and the Didache, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2020).
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