First Century Christian Diversity:
Historical Evidence of a Social Phenomenon
Lingelbach holds an M.A.R. and M.Div. in Biblical Studies from Liberty University. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in theology and apologetics. He is also an adjunct professor at Grace Christian University where he teaches Old and New Testament Survey.
Author: John F. Lingelbach
Title: "First Century Christian Diversity: Historical Evidence of a Social Phenomenon"
Journal: Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry
Journal Issue: Volume 1, Number 1
Date: Spring 2019
In light of Ken Howard’s recent “religion singularity” phenomenon, this article attempts to ascertain the nature of Christian diversity during the last seventy years of the first century (roughly 30 to 100 CE). It offers an examination of the two largest Christian movements that existed before the second century, as well as when those movements may have begun and the locations they most likely flourished. The article argues that the earliest Christian tradition was the one persecuted by the Apostle Paul and that later, two breakaway movements splintered off from this tradition: the Pauline and Ebionite movements. The paper concludes that during the first century, of these two splinter movements, the Pauline movement likely preceded that of the Ebionite movement, though they both flourished in many of the same locations. Of interest is the finding that all three Christian movements (the pre-Pauline tradition, Pauline, and Ebionite) flourished in Asia Minor, a cosmopolitan sub-continent which appears to have served as a geographic information nucleus through which diverse ideas easily proliferated.
Keywords: Christianity, Church Demographics, Christian Diversity, First Century Church,
(footnote) John F. Lingelbach, “First Century Christian Diversity: Historical Evidence of a Social Phenomenon,” Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry 1, no. 1 (Spring 2019): 11-20, https://doi.org/10.33929/sherm.2019.vol1.no1.02.
(bibliography) Lingelbach, John F. “First Century Christian Diversity: Historical Evidence of a Social Phenomenon,” Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry 1, no. 1 (Spring 2019): 11-20. https://doi.org/10.33929/sherm.2019.vol1.no1.02.
Lingelbach, John F. “First Century Christian Diversity: Historical Evidence of a Social Phenomenon.” Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry, vol. 1, no. 1, Spring 2019, doi.org/10.33929/sherm.2019.vol1.no1.02, pp. 11-20.
Lingelbach, J. F. (2019). First Century Christian Diversity: Historical Evidence of a Social Phenomenon. Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry, 1(1), 11-20. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.33929/sherm.2019.vol1.no1.02.
Bauer, Walter. Rechtgläubigkeit Und Ketzerei Im Ältesten Christentum [Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity]. 2nd ed. Edited by Georg Strecker. Beiträge zur Historischen Theologie 10. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr (Siebeck), 1963.
Champlin, Edward. Nero. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.
de Bruyne, Donatien. “Les plus anciens prologues latins des Evangiles.” Revue bénédictine 40 (1928): 193‒214. https://doi.org/10.1484/j.rb.4.03052.
Ehrman, Bart D. Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. 2012. Pbk. ed. Reprint, New York: HarperOne, 2013.
———. Forged: Writing in the Name of God—Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are (New York: HarperOne, 2011.
———. Lost Christianities: The Battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
———. The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2018.
Eve, Eric. Behind the Gospels: Understanding the Oral Tradition. 2013. Reprint, Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2014.
Ferguson, Everett, ed. “Volume Introduction.” In Doctrinal Diversity: Varieties of Early Christianity. Recent Studies in Early Christianity 4, ix‒xii. New York: Garland Publishing, 1999.
Hengel, Martin. Between Jesus and Paul: Studies in the Earliest History of Christianity. Translated by John Bowden. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1983.
Howard, Kenneth W. Paradoxy: Creating Christian Community Beyond Us and Them. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2010.
———. “The Religion Singularity: A Demographic Crisis Destabilizing and Transforming Institutional Christianity.” International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society 7, no. 2 (2017): 77‒93. http://dx.doi.org/10.18848/2154-8633/cgp/v07i02/77-93.
Hultgren, Arland J. The Rise of Normative Christianity. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1994.
Hurtado, Larry W. Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003.
Kelly, J. N. D. Early Christian Creeds. 1950. 3rd ed. Reprint, New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2011. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315836720.
Klijn, A. F. J., and G. J. Reinink. Patristic Evidence for Jewish-Christian Sects. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 1973. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004268401.
Luomanen, Petri. Recovering Jewish-Christian Sects and Gospels. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004217430.
Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. 1979. Translated by Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi. Reprint, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.
Pritz, Ray A. Nazarene Jewish Christianity: From the End of the New Testament Period Until Its Disappearance in the Fourth Century. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 1988.
Slade, Darren M. “Arabia Haeresium Ferax (Arabia Bearer of Heresies): Schismatic Christianity’s Potential Influence On Muhammad and the Qur’an.” American Theological Inquiry 7, no. 1 (January 2014): 43‒53.
Stark, Rodney. Cities of God: The Real Story of How Christianity Became an Urban Movement and Conquered Rome. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.
———. The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion. New York: HarperOne, 2011.