Early Christianity and the family



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Texas Tech University


This research project focuses on Christianity from its origins to the early third century. In this period, several elements of Mount's model seem to manifest themselves in varying degrees. During the course of this study it will be seen that the nascent Church did, in many respects, adopt a hostile stance toward the famil broadly defined, as an institution representing a vehicle for the perpetuation of traditional society. It will also be seen that the Christian community developed its own models of what Mount would call "pseudo-families." By making such propositions as "Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother,"^^ Jesus is portrayed as offering an altemative model to the traditional family. As time passed, Christianity gained wider social acceptance. The apologists would portray the Christian community as meriting acceptance because of its adherence to (many) traditional family values. At such a point, however. Mount's paradigm would predict that any effort to promote such "pseudofamilies" would collapse, a scenario more difficult to sustain on the basis of the evidence examined here. In any case. Mount's arguments offer a dynamic perspective from which to view the early Church and the social institution of the family.



Family, Church history