Death in Second-Century Christian Thought explores how the meaning of death was conceptualised in this crucial period of the history of the church. Through an exploration of key metaphors and other figures of speech that the early church used to talk about this fascinating and controversial topic, Jeremiah Mutie argues that the church fathers selected, adapted and exploited existing pagan ideas about the subject of death in order to offer a distinctively Christian view based on Biblical texts. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus were critical to this development, as was the Christian promise of eternal life. In this erudite book, Mutie shows how Christians engaged with the views of death in late antiquity, coming up with their own characteristic belief in life after death.
List of Abbreviations
2. The Concept of Death in the Apostolic Fathers
3. The Concept of Death in Valentinian Gnosticism, Apologists, and Polemicists
4. Treatment of the Dead in the Second Century
Endorsements and Reviews
Mutie argues that the way early Christians treated the bodies of deceased believers is evidence of their distinctly Christian view of the afterlife. He shows how the apostolic teaching and the culture impacted and informed the apologists’ theological understanding and practice. Although no longer living, the dead saints were still seen as part of the community of faith. These second-century Christians believed ‘in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting’.
Glenn R. Kreider, Professor of Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary, Texas
Jeremiah Mutie’s scholarly research places the reader into the thoughts and debates of the second-century Christian apologists as they wrestled with the Greco-Roman view of death in light of the new reality of Jesus’s resurrection. His collection of source material alone is impressive. The work and analysis is a unique contribution to understanding that period of time. For those who like to go in depth it is a worthy read.
Linda Marten, Associate Professor of Biblical Counselling, Dallas Theological Seminary, Texas