Early Christian Influence

Here is a post I responded to about the influences on the early Christian Church.

Initial request: October 5, 2005

I'm writing a paper on the rise of the early Christian Church in Rome from the time of Christ until the fall of Rome for one of my classes. My paper is contrasting various philosophies that went against Christianity during that time, as well as the development of official written doctrines by the Christian Church. I need sources that give concise, general overviews of various religious and philosophical groups and general history of the rise of the Christian Church. Does anyone know of a source like that?

My reply: October 5, 2005

Is this for high school level or collegiate?

How much time to you have to do research and how much time do you want to take?

You might want to look at four areas for your paper, if you have the room to do it.

  1. the philosophical and religious frameworks of the Hellenistic and Judaic cultures
    1. Cynicism
    2. Eclecticism
    3. Epicureanism
    4. Hedonism
    5. Neo-Platonism
    6. Platonism
    7. Skepticism
    8. Stoicism
    9. Kathenotheism
    10. Monism / Dualism / Pluralism
    11. Monolatrism
    12. Monotheism
    13. Henotheism (Monarchial Polytheism)
    14. Polytheism

  2. the religious environment of the Roman world
    1. Atheism
    2. Judaism
    3. Paganism (Greco-Roman)
    4. Paganism (Egyptian)
    5. Paganism (Mesopotamian)

  3. Jewish movements, sects, and theologies
    1. Essenes
    2. Pharisees
    3. Sadducees

  4. Christian movements, sects, and theologies
    1. Adoptionism
    2. Apollinarism
    3. Arianism
    4. Antinomianism
    5. Basilidians
    6. Cainites (Caianites)
    7. Carpocratians
    8. Cleobians
    9. Docetism
    10. Donatism
    11. Dositheans
    12. Ebionites
    13. Gnosticism (many kinds--some in this list)
    14. Goratheni
    15. Marcionism
    16. Masbotheans
    17. Menandrianists
    18. Monarchianism
    19. Monophysitism
    20. Monothelitism
    21. Montanism
    22. Nestorianism
    23. Ophites
    24. Patripassianism
    25. Pelagianism (also Semipelagianism)
    26. Priscillianism
    27. Psilanthropism
    28. Sabellianism
    29. Saturnilians
    30. Sethians
    31. Simonians
    32. Socianism
    33. Valentinians
I don't know if this is more than you want or not...

Obviously, it's a topic for a series of books, not just for a paper.

Kevin Winter's reply: October 2005

I would suggest Jaroslav Pelikan's The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition. It deals much more with the integration of "various philosophies" into "Christianity during that time," but it might give some good perspective for your paper.