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Roman Domestic Art and Early House Churches

David L. Balch

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ISBN 10: 3161493834 / ISBN 13: 9783161493836
Published by Mohr Siebeck Gmbh & Co. K Jul 2008, 2008
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Neuware - Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Rome have yielded hundreds of wall paintings from domestic buildings. A recent Italian encyclopedia (PPM) published 10,000 pages of domestic frescoes and mosaics, all located in their original spaces. Greek myths and tragedies, especially by Euripides, often retold by Ovid, were visually represented. David Balch presents an interdisciplinary study inquiring what earliest Jews and Christians living, eating, and worshipping in such houses might have been seeing as they read and interpreted scripture and performed core rituals, especially the Eucharist. Further, a recent study of Roman domestic architecture (domus, insulae) suggests new perspectives on the social history of early Christianity. 296 pp. Englisch. Bookseller Inventory # 9783161493836

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Roman Domestic Art and Early House Churches

Publisher: Mohr Siebeck Gmbh & Co. K Jul 2008

Publication Date: 2008

Binding: Buch

Book Condition: Neu

About this title


In contrast to most studies of earliest Christianity that focus on texts, David Balch inquires into the visual world of the culture in which early Christians lived and worshipped. Jews and Christians outside Israel lived in Greek and Roman houses and apartment buildings. During earlier Republican and later Imperial periods, artists painted frescoes on the walls of their patrons' houses. Beginning in the mid-1700s, archaeologists began unearthing brilliantly colored domestic paintings, often of Greek (rarely of Roman) myths and tragedies, especially in Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Rome. The author inquires how visual representations seen daily might influence the understanding of Jewish and Christian scriptures read and heard in those same spaces as well as the meaning of rituals performed in domestic worship. Scenes from the tragedies of Euripides as well as visual representations of contemporary gladiatorial games make suffering, sacrifice, and death surprisingly present in Roman houses, themes not first introduced by Christian preaching or the Eucharist. Further, David Balch includes not only recent studies of domestic art, but also of Roman domestic architecture (domus and insulae) by British (Wallace-Hadrill), American (Clarke, Leach), German (Zanker, Dickmann), and Italian (Maiuri, Pappalardo) scholars, studies that affect descriptions of the social history of early Christianity.

About the Author:

David L. Balch, Born 1942; Professor of New Testament, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Graduate Theological Union, Ph.D. Yale University (1975), two Fulbright grants to Tubingen, Germany (1968, 1987); main areas of research: Roman domestic art and architecture, Hellenistic philosophy and the New Testament, social/historical context of Pauline and Lukan house churches.

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