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The Inceptive Ecclesiology of Acts 1-5 and Its Reception in the Patristic Period

MIHOC, JUSTIN-ALEXANDRU (2015) The Inceptive Ecclesiology of Acts 1-5 and Its Reception in the Patristic Period. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The introductory chapters of the Book of Acts record the beginnings of the Church in Jerusalem. Taken as a distinct literary unit and labeled as a history of beginnings, Lukan inceptive theology of Acts 1-5 shows the Church to be metaphysically rooted in the Creation, and it is the communal life of the Jerusalem congregation that will become the universal Christian paradigm for the Church’s life as a renewed Paradise. In other words, even though Acts 1-5 may not have been a defining text in the early Patristic understanding of the Church, from the third century onwards, Luke’s ecclesiology becomes the prototype and is used as an apostolic proof-text for later ecclesiological developments, specifically in describing the ideal Christian life as replicating the Garden.

My study attempts to contribute to a deepened awareness of, and insight into, Lukan ecclesiology and its place within the succeeding Patristic theology and doctrinal developments. The somewhat poor reception of Acts 1-5 in the first centuries can lead to the assumption that the book may have been seen in the early Church as a mere history of the apostolic times, but its importance for the Church of the later theology can be securely affirmed: the elements of communal life as skilfully presented by Luke become the model and ideal for the entire world, the Garden restored through the foundation of the Christian ekklēsia invites the entire Creation to redemption. And what Luke does in a narrative form is developed in a systematic manner by the Church Fathers.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Acts of the Apostles; Church beginnings; Acts 1-5; Patristic Ecclesiology; Reception History
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:26 May 2015 11:47

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