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By Valeriy A. Alikin

Utilizing fresh insights into the character of early Christian groups as non secular institutions, this publication bargains a brand new reconstruction of the origins and improvement of the weekly Christian collecting and its constitutive parts

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Extra info for The Earliest History of the Christian Gathering: Origin, Development and Content of the Christian Gathering in the First to Third Centuries (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae: Texts and Studies of Early Christian Life and Language, Volume 102)

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Ant. 65–80. The episode in question can be dated to ca. 19 CE. 33 Sarah Iles Johnston, “Mysteries,” in Religions of the Ancient World, ed. Sarah I. Johnston (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2004), 103–104; Roger Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire. Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 21–22, 27–28. the origin of the weekly gathering 25 elaborate meals. Cult meals were sumptuous, enjoyable festivities with plenty of food, in contrast to the rather parsimonious meals with which most people had to be content on ordinary days.

3 There were associations for honouring certain gods, guilds of workmen of the same trade such as carpenters or silversmiths, societies for volunteer firemen, music associations and philosophical clubs, etc. In these clubs people tried to find the equality, fellowship and community (κοινωνία, communitas) which society as a whole could not give them. Here, the socially less successful members found some compensation for the lack of recognition which was their part outside of the club. 4 Communal feasts were held at regular intervals, such as each year on the feast-day of the god whom the club venerated or on the anniversary of the club’s foundation.

3) and so forth? There is sufficient reason to assume, therefore, that the Didache, too, presupposes the twofold program that was normal for group banquets at the time. 68 66 Acts 20:7–11. In the next section, 2a, the question of what Luke means by the evening of “the first day of the week” (Acts 20:7) will be discussed in detail. 68 Designated by Tertullian, Apol. 16–18, as cena nostra, agape (as in Jude 12), and convivium. 67 the origin of the weekly gathering 33 From the earliest account of the communal meal in 1 Corinthians 10–14 it is clear that in order to experience the joy of community Christians gathered around the dinner table and partook of a communal meal, in the same manner as the members of other clubs and associations.

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