Friday, December 30, 2011

Another Early Patristic Writer Who Did Not Use the Term Christianoi

I have been telling you that we who are interested in Marcion have been playing defense for too long.  Why do we continue to accept the name 'Christianoi' as the original name of the Jesus sect?  An interesting fact I did not know before a few minutes ago. In discussing the use of Chrestos among early Christians Judith Lieu:
Hermas, who does not use the word 'Christian', can still see 'conversion' in terms of becoming 'useful' to God: Vis. III.6.7 (Lieu, Christian identity in the Jewish and Graeco-Roman world p. 258)
The dating of Hermas is given by the Muratorian Canon as written during the reign of Pius I (= 142 - 154 CE). I think this reinforces the idea that the term Christianoi is later - i.e. mid-second century. The Latinized Greek is very unusual and likely presupposes an origin in Latin-speaking circles. If Christians originally identifies themselves as Christaioi or Christenoi why haven't these forms survived? I don't think that the use of Chrestos and Chrestoi are as marginalized and as ideosyncratic as you think they are. It is Christianoi which is the anomaly, albeit one which we have grown to take as second nature.

Email with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.