Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as "The Way" (ἡ ὁδός), probably coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord."[web 1][web 2][note 1] Since, the former was actually a quote of John the Baptizer about Yeshua, Jesus, more likely it connected to Yeshua's (Jesus') own words, declaring Himself the following, saying, "I am the WAY, the Truth, and the Life no one comes to the Father but by Me." (John 14:6) Other Jews also called them "the Nazarenes," while another Jewish-Christian sect called themselves "Ebionites" (lit. "the poor"). According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" (Greek: Χριστιανός) was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" (Greek: Χριστιανισμός) was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD.
A central concern in 1st century Judaism was the covenant with God, and the status of the Jews as the chosen people of God. Many Jews believed that this covenant would be renewed with the coming of the Messiah. Jews believed the Law was given by God to guide them in their worship of the Lord and in their interactions with each other, "the greatest gift God had given his people."
Non-Christian sources that are used to study and establish the historicity of Jesus include Jewish sources such as Josephus, and Roman sources such as Tacitus. These sources are compared to Christian sources such as the Pauline epistles and the Synoptic Gospels. These sources are usually independent of each other (e.g. Jewish sources do not draw upon Roman sources), and similarities and differences between them are used in the authentication process.
There is widespread disagreement among scholars on the details of the life of Jesus mentioned in the gospel narratives, and on the meaning of his teachings. Scholars often draw a distinction between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, and two different accounts can be found in this regard.
Critical scholarship has discounted most of the narratives about Jesus as legendary, and the mainstream historical view is that while the gospels include many legendary elements, these are religious elaborations added to the accounts of a historical Jesus who was crucified under the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate in the 1st-century Roman province of Judea. His remaining disciples later believed that he was resurrected.
The Synoptics present different views on the Kingdom of God.[web 13] While the Kingdom is essentially described as eschatological (relating to the end of the world), becoming reality in the near future, some texts present the Kingdom as already being present, while other texts depict the Kingdom as a place in heaven that one enters after death, or as the presence of God on earth.[web 13][note 7]. Jesus talks as expecting the coming of the "Son of Man" from heaven, an apocalyptic figure who would initiate "the coming judgment and the redemption of Israel."[web 13] According to Davies, the Sermon on the Mount presents Jesus as the new Moses who brings a New Law (a reference to the Law of Moses, the Messianic Torah.
The resurrection of Jesus gave the impetus in certain Christian sects to the exaltation of Jesus to the status of divine Son and Lord of God's Kingdom[web 16] and the resumption of their missionary activity. His followers expected Jesus to return within a generation and begin the Kingdom of God.[web 13]
The Jerusalem community consisted of "Hebrews," Jews speaking both Aramaic and Greek, and "Hellenists," Jews speaking only Greek, possibly diaspora Jews who had resettled in Jerusalem. According to Dunn, Paul's initial persecution of Christians probably was directed against these Greek-speaking "Hellenists" due to their anti-Temple attitude. Within the early Jewish Christian community, this also set them apart from the "Hebrews" and their Tabernacle observance.
 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,  and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,[note 12]  and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.[web 17]
Two fundamentally different Christologies developed in the early Church, namely a "low" or adoptionist Christology, and a "high" or "incarnation Christology." The chronology of the development of these early Christologies is a matter of debate within contemporary scholarship.[web 18]
The "low Christology" or "adoptionist Christology" is the belief "that God exalted Jesus to be his Son by raising him from the dead," thereby raising him to "divine status."[web 19] According to the "evolutionary model" c.q. "evolutionary theories," the Christological understanding of Christ developed over time, as witnessed in the Gospels, with the earliest Christians believing that Jesus was a human who was exalted, c.q. adopted as God's Son, when he was resurrected. Later beliefs shifted the exaltation to his baptism, birth, and subsequently to the idea of his eternal existence, as witnessed in the Gospel of John. This evolutionary model was very influential, and the "low Christology" has long been regarded as the oldest Christology.[web 19][note 13]
The other early Christology is "high Christology," which is "the view that Jesus was a pre-existent divine being who became a human, did the Father’s will on earth, and then was taken back up into heaven whence he had originally come,"[web 19] and from where he appeared on earth. According to Hurtado, a proponent of an Early High Christology, the devotion to Jesus as divine originated in early Jewish Christianity, and not later or under the influence of pagan religions and Gentile converts. The Pauline letters, which are the earliest Christian writings, already show "a well-developed pattern of Christian devotion [...] already conventionalized and apparently uncontroversial."
Ehrman and other scholars believe that Jesus' early followers expected the immediate installment of the Kingdom of God, but that as time went on without this occurring, it led to a change in beliefs.[web 21] In time, the belief that Jesus' resurrection signaled the imminent coming of the Kingdom of God changed into a belief that the resurrection confirmed the Messianic status of Jesus, and the belief that Jesus would return at some indeterminate time in the future, the Second Coming, heralding the expected endtime.[web 21] When the Kingdom of God did not arrive, Christians' beliefs gradually changed into the expectation of an immediate reward in heaven after death, rather than to a future divine kingdom on Earth, despite the churches' continuing to use the major creeds' statements of belief in a coming resurrection day and world to come.
Angels and Devils
Coming from a Jewish background, early Christians believed in angels (derived from the Greek word for "messengers"). Specifically, early Christians wrote in the New Testament books that angels "heralded Jesus' birth, Resurrection, and Ascension; ministered to Him while He was on Earth; and sing the praises of God through all eternity." Early Christians also believed that protecting angels—assigned to each nation and even to each individual—would herald the Second Coming, lead the saints into Paradise, and cast the damned into Hell."Satan ("the adversary"), similar to descriptions in the Old Testament, appears in the New Testament "to accuse men of sin and to test their fidelity, even to the point of tempting Jesus."
Early Christian beliefs regarding baptism probably predate the New Testament writings. It seems certain that numerous Jewish sects and certainly Jesus's disciples practised baptism. John the Baptist had baptized many people, before baptisms took place in the name of Jesus Christ. Paul likened baptism to being buried with Christ in his death.[note 14]
Early Christian rituals included communal meals. The Eucharist was often a part of the Lovefeast, but between the latter part of the 1st century AD and 250 AD the two became separate rituals. Thus, in modern times the Lovefeast refers to a Christian ritual meal distinct from the Lord's Supper.
According to Fredriksen, when early Christians broadened their missionary efforts, they also came into contact with Gentiles attracted to the Jewish religion. Eventually, the Gentiles came to be included in the missionary effort of Hellenised Jews, bringing "all nations" into the house of God. The "Hellenists," Greek-speaking diaspora Jews belonging to the early Jerusalem Jesus-movement, played an important role in reaching a Gentile, Greek audience, notably at Antioch, which had a large Jewish community and significant numbers of Gentile "God-fearers." From Antioch, the mission to the Gentiles started, including Paul's, which would fundamentally change the character of the early Christian movement, eventually turning it into a new, Gentile religion. According to Dunn, within 10 years after Jesus' death, "the new messianic movement focused on Jesus began to modulate into something different ... it was at Antioch that we can begin to speak of the new movement as 'Christianity'."
Paul was in contact with the early Christian community in Jerusalem, led by James the Just. According to Mack, he may have been converted to another early strand of Christianity, with a High Christology. Fragments of their beliefs in an exalted and deified Jesus, what Mack called the "Christ cult," can be found in the writings of Paul.[note 18] Yet, Hurtado notes that Paul valued the linkage with "Jewish Christian circles in Roman Judea," which makes it likely that his Christology was in line with, and indebted to, their views. Hurtado further notes that "[i]t is widely accepted that the tradition that Paul recites in 1 Corinthians 15:1-7 must go back to the Jerusalem Church."
Paul objected strongly to the insistence on keeping all of the Jewish commandments, considering it a great threat to his doctrine of salvation through faith in Christ. According to Paula Fredriksen, Paul's opposition to male circumcison for Gentiles is in line with the Old Testament predictions that "in the last days the gentile nations would come to the God of Israel, as gentiles (e.g., Zechariah 8:20–23), not as proselytes to Israel."[web 16] For Paul, Gentile male circumcision was therefore an affront to God's intentions.[web 16] According to Larry Hurtado, "Paul saw himself as what Munck called a salvation-historical figure in his own right", who was "personally and singularly deputized by God to bring about the predicted ingathering (the "fullness") of the nations (Romans 11:25)."[web 16]
For Paul, Jesus' death and resurrection solved the problem of the exclusion of Gentiles from God's covenant, since the faithful are redeemed by participation in Jesus' death and rising. In the Jerusalem ekklēsia, from which Paul received the creed of 1 Corinthians 15:1–7, the phrase "died for our sins" probably was an apologetic rationale for the death of Jesus as being part of God's plan and purpose, as evidenced in the Scriptures. For Paul, it gained a deeper significance, providing "a basis for the salvation of sinful Gentiles apart from the Torah." According to E. P. Sanders, Paul argued that "those who are baptized into Christ are baptized into his death, and thus they escape the power of sin [...] he died so that the believers may die with him and consequently live with him."[web 27] By this participation in Christ's death and rising, "one receives forgiveness for past offences, is liberated from the powers of sin, and receives the Spirit." Paul insists that salvation is received by the grace of God; according to Sanders, this insistence is in line with Second Temple Judaism of c. 200 BC until 200 AD, which saw God's covenant with Israel as an act of grace of God. Observance of the Law is needed to maintain the covenant, but the covenant is not earned by observing the Law, but by the grace of God.[web 28]
These divergent interpretations have a prominent place in both Paul's writings and in Acts. According to Galatians 2:1–10 and Acts chapter 15, fourteen years after his conversion Paul visited the "Pillars of Jerusalem", the leaders of the Jerusalem ekklēsia. His purpose was to compare his Gospel[clarification needed] with theirs, an event known as the Council of Jerusalem. According to Paul, in his letter to the Galatians,[note 19] they agreed that his mission was to be among the Gentiles. According to Acts, Paul made an argument that circumcision was not a necessary practice, vocally supported by Peter.[note 20]
While the Council of Jerusalem was described as resulting in an agreement to allow Gentile converts exemption from most Jewish commandments, in reality a stark opposition from "Hebrew" Jewish Christians remained, as exemplified by the Ebionites. The relaxing of requirements in Pauline Christianity opened the way for a much larger Christian Church, extending far beyond the Jewish community. The inclusion of Gentiles is reflected in Luke-Acts, which is an attempt to answer a theological problem, namely how the Messiah of the Jews came to have an overwhelmingly non-Jewish church; the answer it provides, and its central theme, is that the message of Christ was sent to the Gentiles because the Jews rejected it.
Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire occurred sporadically over a period of over two centuries. For most of the first three hundred years of Christian history, Christians were able to live in peace, practice their professions, and rise to positions of responsibility. Sporadic persecution took place as the result of local pagan populations putting pressure on the imperial authorities to take action against the Christians in their midst, who were thought to bring misfortune by their refusal to honour the gods.
In an ancient culture before the printing press and the majority of the population illiterate, most early Christians likely did not own any Christian texts. Much of the original church liturgical services functioned as a means of learning Christian theology. A final uniformity of liturgical services may have become solidified after the church established a Biblical canon, possibly based on the Apostolic Constitutions and Clementine literature. Clement (d. 99) writes that liturgies are "to be celebrated, and not carelessly nor in disorder" but the final uniformity of liturgical services only came later, though the Liturgy of St James is traditionally associated with James the Just.
Taken as a whole, the collection is notable for its literary simplicity, religious zeal and lack of Hellenistic philosophy or rhetoric. They contain early thoughts on the organisation of the Christian ekklēsia, and are historical sources for the development of an early Church structure.
In his letter 1 Clement, Clement of Rome calls on the Christians of Corinth to maintain harmony and order. Some see his epistle as an assertion of Rome's authority over the church in Corinth and, by implication, the beginnings of papal supremacy.[web 32] Clement refers to the leaders of the Corinthian church in his letter as bishops and presbyters interchangeably, and likewise states that the bishops are to lead God's flock by virtue of the chief shepherd (presbyter), Jesus Christ.
The Didache (late 1st century) is an anonymous Jewish-Christian work. It is a pastoral manual dealing with Christian lessons, rituals, and Church organization, parts of which may have constituted the first written catechism, "that reveals more about how Jewish-Christians saw themselves and how they adapted their Judaism for Gentiles than any other book in the Christian Scriptures."
There was a slowly growing chasm between Gentile Christians, and Jews and Jewish Christians, rather than a sudden split. Even though it is commonly thought that Paul established a Gentile church, it took a century for a complete break to manifest. Growing tensions led to a starker separation that was virtually complete by the time Jewish Christians refused to join in the Bar Kokhba Jewish revolt of 132. Certain events are perceived as pivotal in the growing rift between Christianity and Judaism.
The destruction of Jerusalem and the consequent dispersion of Jews and Jewish Christians from the city (after the Bar Kokhba revolt) ended any pre-eminence of the Jewish-Christian leadership in Jerusalem. Early Christianity grew further apart from Judaism to establish itself as a predominantly Gentile religion, and Antioch became the first Gentile Christian community with stature.
The hypothetical Council of Jamnia c. 85 is often stated to have condemned all who claimed the Messiah had already come, and Christianity in particular, excluding them from attending synagogue.[need quotation to verify] However, the formulated prayer in question (birkat ha-minim) is considered by other scholars to be unremarkable in the history of Jewish and Christian relations.
There is a paucity of evidence for Jewish persecution of "heretics" in general, or Christians in particular, in the period between 70 and 135. It is probable that the condemnation of Jamnia included many groups, of which the Christians were but one, and did not necessarily mean excommunication. That some of the later church fathers only recommended against synagogue attendance makes it improbable that an anti-Christian prayer was a common part of the synagogue liturgy. Jewish Christians continued to worship in synagogues for centuries.
During the late 1st century, Judaism was a legal religion with the protection of Roman law, worked out in compromise with the Roman state over two centuries (see Anti-Judaism in the Roman Empire for details). In contrast, Christianity was not legalized until the 313 Edict of Milan. Observant Jews had special rights, including the privilege of abstaining from civic pagan rites. Christians were initially identified with the Jewish religion by the Romans, but as they became more distinct, Christianity became a problem for Roman rulers. Around the year 98, the emperor Nerva decreed that Christians did not have to pay the annual tax upon the Jews, effectively recognizing them as distinct from Rabbinic Judaism. This opened the way to Christians being persecuted for disobedience to the emperor, as they refused to worship the state pantheon.
From c. 98 onwards a distinction between Christians and Jews in Roman literature becomes apparent. For example, Pliny the Younger postulates that Christians are not Jews since they do not pay the tax, in his letters to Trajan.
Later rejection of Jewish Christianity
Jewish Christians constituted a separate community from the Pauline Christians but maintained a similar faith. In Christian circles, Nazarene later came to be used as a label for those faithful to Jewish Law, in particular for a certain sect. These Jewish Christians, originally the central group in Christianity, generally holding the same beliefs except in their adherence to Jewish law, were not deemed heretical until the dominance of orthodoxy in the 4th century. The Ebionites may have been a splinter group of Nazarenes, with disagreements over Christology and leadership. They were considered by Gentile Christians to have unorthodox beliefs, particularly in relation to their views of Christ and Gentile converts. After the condemnation of the Nazarenes, Ebionite was often used as a general pejorative for all related "heresies".
There was a post-Nicene "double rejection" of the Jewish Christians by both Gentile Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. The true end of ancient Jewish Christianity occurred only in the 5th century. Gentile Christianity became the dominant strand of orthodoxy and imposed itself on the previously Jewish Christian sanctuaries, taking full control of those houses of worship by the end of the 5th century.[note 22]
30–36 Jesus is crucified on order of Pontius Pilate. Christians believe he rose from the dead 3 days later. Pentecost, a day in which 3000 Jews from a variety of Mediterranean-basin nations are converted to faith in Jesus Christ.
60 – Paul sent to Rome under Roman guard, evangelizes on Malta after shipwreck
60? Paul in Rome: greeted by many "brothers" (NRSV: "believers"), three days later called together the Jewish leaders, who hadn't received any word from Judea about him, but were curious about "this sect", which everywhere is spoken against; he tried to convince them from the "Law and Prophets", with partial success, said the Gentiles would listen and spent two years proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching the "Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 28:15–31); Epistle to Philemon written?
62 James the Just stoned to death for law transgression by High Priest Ananus ben Artanus, popular opinion against act results in Ananus being deposed by new procurator Lucceius Albinus (JA20.9.1)
^According to E. P. Sanders, Jesus's ideas on healing and forgiveness were in line with Second Temple Jewish thought and would not have been likely to provoke controversy among the Jewish authorities of his day."
^In a review of the state of research, Amy-Jill Levine stated that "no single picture of Jesus has convinced all, or even most scholars" and that all portraits of Jesus are subject to criticism by some group of scholars.
^Sanders and Pelikan: "Besides presenting a longer ministry than do the other Gospels, John also describes several trips to Jerusalem. Only one is mentioned in the Synoptics. Both outlines are plausible, but a ministry of more than two years leaves more questions unanswered than does one of a few months."[web 13]
^The Kingdom is described as both imminent (Mark 1:15) and already present in the ministry of Jesus (Luke 17:21) (Others interpret "Kingdom of God" to mean a way of living, or as a period of evangelization; no overall consensus among scholars has emerged on its meaning.) Jesus promises inclusion in the Kingdom for those who accept his message (Mark 10:13–27)
^According to Shaye J.D. Cohen, Jesus's failure to establish an independent Israel, and his death at the hands of the Romans, caused many Jews to reject him as the Messiah. Jews at that time were expecting a military leader as a Messiah, such as Bar Kohhba.
^Perhaps also Jewish law which was being formalized at the same time
^Hurtado: "She refrains from referring to this earliest stage of the "Jesus-community" as early "Christianity" and comprised of "churches," as the terms carry baggage of later developments of "organized institutions, and of a religion separate from, different from, and hostile to Judaism" (185). So, instead, she renders ekklēsia as "assembly" (quite appropriately in my view, reflecting the quasi-official connotation of the term, often both in the LXX and in wider usage)."[web 16]
"Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him."
See also 2 Kings 20:8:
"Hezekiah said to Isaiah, 'What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord on the third day?'"
^Ehrman: * "The earliest Christians held exaltation Christologies in which the human being Jesus was made the Son of God—for example, at his resurrection or at his baptism—as we examined in the previous chapter." * Here I’ll say something about the oldest Christology, as I understand it. This was what I earlier called a “low” Christology. I may end up in the book describing it as a “Christology from below” or possibly an “exaltation” Christology. Or maybe I’ll call it all three things [...] Along with lots of other scholars, I think this was indeed the earliest Christology.[web 20]
^Catholic Encyclopedia: Proselyte: "The English term "proselyte" occurs only in the New Testament where it signifies a convert to the Jewish religion (Matthew 23:15; Acts 2:11; 6:5; etc.), though the same Greek word is commonly used in the Septuagint to designate a foreigner living in Judea. The term seems to have passed from an original local and chiefly political sense, in which it was used as early as 300 BC, to a technical and religious meaning in the Judaism of the New Testament epoch."
^Ecclesiastical historian Henry Hart Milman writes that in much of the first three centuries, even in the Latin-dominated western empire: "the Church of Rome, and most, if not all the Churches of the West, were, if we may so speak, Greek religious colonies [see Greek colonies for the background]. Their language was Greek, their organization Greek, their writers Greek, their scriptures Greek; and many vestiges and traditions show that their ritual, their Liturgy, was Greek."[web 24]
^Despite its mention of bishops, there is no clear evidence in the New Testament that supports the concepts of dioceses and monepiscopacy, i.e. the rule that all the churches in a geographic area should be ruled by a single bishop. According to Ronald Y. K. Fung, scholars point to evidence that Christian communities such as Rome had many bishops, and that the concept of monepiscopacy was still emerging when Ignatius was urging his tri-partite structure on other churches.
^According to Mack, "Paul was converted to a Hellenized form of some Jesus movement that had already developed into a Christ cult. [...] Thus his letters serve as documentation for the Christ cult as well."
^Four years after the Council of Jerusalem, Paul wrote to the Galatians about the issue, which had become a serious controversy in their region. There was a burgeoning movement of Judaizers in the area that advocated adherence to the Mosaic Law, including circumcision. According to McGrath, Paul identified James the Just as the motivating force behind the Judaizing movement. Paul considered it a great threat to his doctrine of salvation through faith and addressed the issue with great detail in Galatians 3.
^According to 19th-century German theologian F. C. Baur early Christianity was dominated by the conflict between Peter who was law-observant, and Paul who advocated partial or even complete freedom from the Law. Scholar James D. G. Dunn has proposed that Peter was the "bridge-man" between the two other prominent leaders: Paul and James the Just. Paul and James were both heavily identified with their own "brands" of Christianity. Peter showed a desire to hold on to his Jewish identity, in contrast with Paul. He simultaneously showed a flexibility towards the desires of the broader Christian community, in contrast to James. Marcion and his followers stated that the polemic against false apostles in Galatians was aimed at Peter, James and John, the "Pillars of the Church", as well as the "false" gospels circulating through the churches at the time. Irenaeus and Tertullian argued against Marcionism's elevation of Paul and stated that Peter and Paul were equals among the apostles. Passages from Galatians were used to show that Paul respected Peter's office and acknowledged a shared faith.
^Three forms are postulated, from Gamble, Harry Y, "18", The Canon Debate, p. 300, note 21, (1) Marcion's collection that begins with Galatians and ends with Philemon; (2) Papyrus 46, dated about 200, that follows the order that became established except for reversing Ephesians and Galatians; and (3) the letters to seven churches, treating those to the same church as one letter and basing the order on length, so that Corinthians is first and Colossians (perhaps including Philemon) is last.
^Jewish Virtual Library: "A major difficulty in tracing the growth of Christianity from its beginnings as a Jewish messianic sect, and its relations to the various other normative-Jewish, sectarian-Jewish, and Christian-Jewish groups is presented by the fact that what ultimately became normative Christianity was originally but one among various contending Christian trends. Once the "gentile Christian" trend won out, and the teaching of Paul became accepted as expressing the doctrine of the Church, the Jewish Christian groups were pushed to the margin and ultimately excluded as heretical. Being rejected both by normative Judaism and the Church, they ultimately disappeared. Nevertheless, several Jewish Christian sects (such as the Nazarenes, Ebionites, Elchasaites, and others) existed for some time, and a few of them seem to have endured for several centuries. Some sects saw in Jesus mainly a prophet and not the "Christ," others seem to have believed in him as the Messiah, but did not draw the christological and other conclusions that subsequently became fundamental in the teaching of the Church (the divinity of the Christ, trinitarian conception of the Godhead, abrogation of the Law). After the disappearance of the early Jewish Christian sects and the triumph of gentile Christianity, to become a Christian meant, for a Jew, to apostatize and to leave the Jewish community.[web 8]
^ abPaul L. Maier "The Date of the Nativity and Chronology of Jesus" in Chronos, kairos, Christos: nativity and chronological studies by Jerry Vardaman, Edwin M. Yamauchi 1989 ISBN0-931464-50-1 pp. 113–29
^Eusebius, Church History 3, 5, 3; Epiphanius, Panarion 29,7,7–8; 30, 2, 7; On Weights and Measures 15. On the flight to Pella see: Bourgel, Jonathan (2010). "The Jewish Christians' Move from Jerusalem as a pragmatic choice". In Dan Jaffe (ed.). Studies in Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity. Leyden: Brill. pp. 107–138.; P. H. R. van Houwelingen, "Fleeing forward: The departure of Christians from Jerusalem to Pella," Westminster Theological Journal 65 (2003), 181–200.
^Coveney, John (2006). Food, Morals and Meaning: The Pleasure and Anxiety of Eating. Routledge. p. 74. ISBN978-1134184484. For the early Christians, the agape signified the importance of fellowship. It was a ritual to celebrate the joy of eating, pleasure and company.
^Burns, Jim (2012). Uncommon Youth Parties. Gospel Light Publications. p. 37. ISBN978-0830762132. During the days of the Early Church, the believers would all gather together to share what was known as an agape feast, or "love feast." Those who could afford to bring food brought it to the feast and shared it with the other believers.
^Walls, Jerry L.; Collins, Kenneth J. (2010). Roman but Not Catholic: What Remains at Stake 500 Years after the Reformation. Baker Academic. p. 169. ISBN978-1493411740. So strong were the overtones of the Eucharist as a meal of fellowship that in its earliest practice it often took place in concert with the Agape feast. By the latter part of the first century, however, as Andrew McGowan points out, this conjoined communal banquet was separated into "a morning sacramental ritual [and a] prosaic communal supper."
^Davies, Horton (1999). Bread of Life and Cup of Joy: Newer Ecumenical Perspectives on the Eucharist. Wipf & Stock Publishers. p. 18. ISBN978-1579102098. Agape (love feast), which ultimately became separate from the Eucharist...
^Daughrity, Dyron (2016). Roots: Uncovering Why We Do What We Do in Church. ACU Press. p. 77. ISBN978-0891126010. Around AD 250 the lovefeast and Eucharist seem to separate, leaving the Eucharist to develop outside the context of a shared meal.
^Neusner, Jacob (1993). Approaches to Ancient Judaism, New Series: Religious and Theological Studies. Scholars Press. p. 149. Circumcised barbarians, along with any others who revealed the glans penis, were the butt of ribald humor. For Greek art portrays the foreskin, often drawn in meticulous detail, as an emblem of male beauty; and children with congenitally short foreskins were sometimes subjected to a treatment, known as epispasm, that was aimed at elongation.
Talbert, Charles H. (2011), The Development of Christology during the First Hundred Years: and Other Essays on Early Christian Christology. Supplements to Novum Testamentum 140., Leiden: Brill Publishers
Taylor, Joan E. (1993), Christians and the Holy Places: The Myth of Jewish-Christian Origins, Oxford University Press, ISBN0198147856
Bockmuehl, Markus N.A. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Jesus. Cambridge University Press (2001). ISBN0-521-79678-4.
Bourgel, Jonathan, From One Identity to Another: The Mother Church of Jerusalem Between the Two Jewish Revolts Against Rome (66–135/6 EC). Paris: Éditions du Cerf, collection Judaïsme ancien et Christianisme primitive, (French). ISBN978-2-204-10068-7