The World’s Oldest Church: Bible, Art, and Ritual at Dura-Europos, Syria
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016 pp. xi + 320. $50.00
Description: Michael Peppard provides a historical and theological reassessment of the oldest Christian building ever discovered, the third-century house-church at Dura-Europos. Contrary to commonly held assumptions about Christian initiation, Peppard contends that rituals here did not primarily embody notions of death and resurrection. Rather, he portrays the motifs of the church’s wall paintings as those of empowerment, healing, marriage, and incarnation, while boldly reidentifying the figure of a woman formerly believed to be a repentant sinner as the Virgin Mary. This richly illustrated volume is a breakthrough work that enhances our understanding of early Christianity at the nexus of Bible, art, and ritual.
Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Greco-Roman Period, Early Church Origins, Archaeology
Review by Ralph K. Hawkins
Citation: Ralph K. Hawkins, review of Michael Peppard, The World’s Oldest Church: Bible, Art, and Ritual at Dura-Europos, Syria, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).
Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.