Meeks Chapter 1 Summary

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.Dr. Wayne A. Meeks in this book desires to “discern the texture of life in particular times and particular places.” (2) This approach is juxtaposed to the reductionist sociological interpretations of early Christianity by Marxist and those of the Chicago school. Meeks criticizes some theologians also for their propensity for reductionism. Meeks has what he defines as an “eclectic approach, using various approaches in the fields of sociology, anthropology, and social psychology. His book is divided into six chapters.
Meeks lays the groundwork of the following chapters by couching the Pauline Christians in its’ urban context. In chapter one, The Urban Environment of Pauline Christianity, Meeks attributes the spread of Christianity to the Greco Roman culture, the culture that the urban Christians lived in. This urbanization provided physical and
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He attributes the formation and the structure of the ekklesia is modeled after; the family, synagogue, private voluntary associations, philosophical schools and rhetorical schools. The cohesiveness of the ekklesia is attributed to its’ structural stability, flexibility, its’ leadership, allocation of power and the differentiation of roles.
In chapter four, Governance Meeks examines the dimension of the solidarity of the church. The handling of conflict within the groups based upon apostolic authority, authority of Paul’s workers, appealing to customs, development of procedures and internal mechanism gave the church a sense of identity and unity.
Pauline Churches had rituals but cannot be defined as a religion in the literal sense. In chapter five, the rituals of hymn singing, baptism, the Lord’s Supper and meals were used to bring those within the group into social cohesion. What the church “does” is the focus of chapter

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