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Is Early Christianity A Religion Or A Philosophy? Reflections On The Importance Of 'Knowledge' And 'Truth' In The Letters Of Paul And Peter

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Chapter Summary

This chapter comments on the question whether early Christianity was a religion or a philosophy. First, it addresses the question of whether we should define early Christianity as a religion or as a philosophy, and comments on the nature of ancient philosophy. Second, against strongly fideistic readings of the New Testament letters which focus on 'faith', the chapter draws attention to the concept of 'knowing God and/or Christ' in the letters of Paul and Peter, and compares this to the importance which ancient philosophers such as Epictetus attach to the insight that there is a God, and what the gods are like. Finally, it explores the way in which religion, conversion, and the purpose of Christian leadership are defined by Paul and Peter in terms of knowledge and truth.

Keywords: ancient philosophy; Christian religion; Epictetus; knowledge; New Testament letters; Paul; Peter; truth



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