Hellenisierung des Christentums: Sinn und Unsinn einer historischen Deutungskategorie
Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2012 pp. 141. €16.80
Forum Theologische Literaturzeitung, 25
Description: Not only in the writings of the famous Berlin church historian and organizer of sciences Adolf von Harnack (1851–1930) has the »Hellenization of Christianity« become one of the absolutely central categories for describing the formation of ancient Christianity. As the highly controversial speech held by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 at Regensburg demonstrates, for example, this category plays a central role in theological as well as ancient historical conceptions of Christianity to this day. In most cases the term denotes a transformation of Christianity by the Hellenistic-Roman culture in the »globalized« Imperium Romanum.
Christoph Markschies analyses the history of this term and the highly diverse definitions and ideas associated with it, he provides information on its often forgotten earlier historical significance — for example in French Renaissance humanism —, and in the end suggests how despite its at times problematic earlier history this concept can still be used in a meaningful way.
Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Greco-Roman Period, Early Church Origins
Review by Harold W. Attridge
Citation: Harold W. Attridge, review of Christoph Markschies, Hellenisierung des Christentums: Sinn und Unsinn einer historischen Deutungskategorie, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2015).
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