Death in Second-Century Christian Thought: The Meaning of Death in Earliest Christianity

By Jeremiah Mutie

A carefully researched analysis of how the early church developed a distinctively Christian understanding of death, synthesising pagan and scriptural ideas.

ISBN: 9780227175415


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.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 242

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Jeremiah Mutie has served as Adjunct Instructor of Religion at Liberty University School of Religion Online. He also serves as Adjunct Professor of the History of Christian Thought at Beulah Heights University in Georgia. Dr Mutie holds a ThM and PhD from Dallas Theological Seminary.


List of Abbreviations

1. Introduction
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
5. Conclusion



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