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Book: The Use and Dissemination of Religious Knowledge in Antiquity

Chapter: 11. The Function of Material Culture in the Dissemination of Religious Knowledge in Ancient Christianity

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.38000


The literary culture of ancient Christianity is often thought to reflect the concerns and preferences of the cultural elite. Material evidence provided by archaeological research is increasingly employed together with building inscriptions to overcome this bias in the study of ancient Christianity and gain access to experiences of non-elite Christians. This paper explores the role of the visual, space, and epigraphic material in helping to disseminate ancient religious practices, rituals, and beliefs in ancient Christianity. 1 Corinthians will serve as a case study. Concepts of space include connections between the outside and the inside in houses and collonaded halls and the aesthetics of self-representations in "lower" and "upper" class symbols conveyed through the choice of building materials and techniques of construction.

Chapter Contributors

  • Annette Weissenrieder ( - aweissenrieder) 'University of Halle-Wittenderg'