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Introduction: “Why Do You Seek the Living Among the Dead?” (Luke 24: 5)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers the well-known changes that have taken place over the past few academic generations in the work of a sub-group of scholars who refer to themselves as scholars of Christian origins. It debates over what people who are on their own origins quest refer to as "the earliest Christian documents". The chapter finds that scholars studying context-oriented Christian origins are generally not asking such self-implicating questions of historically specific situation and agency. Studying the continual reinvention of this thing we call "the Christian imagination" or "the Christian movement" requires studying identification practices and priorities in the always nimble present, where a text and reader inevitably meet, rather than seeking the living among the ancient dead. The chapter finds that the Christian origins which are important to one's own day are not the Christian origins of history, but the symbolic Christian origins of contemporary discourse.

Keywords: Christian origins; contemporary discourse



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