“For here we have no lasting city,” the first-century Epistle to the Hebrews proclaims, “but we are looking for the city that is to come.” Early Christianity was mostly, though not exclusively, an urban phenomenon, and, notwithstanding the ambivalence the author of Hebrews felt towards the earthly city, Christians learned, of necessity, to negotiate their way in it. A forthcoming book from Eerdmans, The Urban World and the First Christians, edited, among others, by archeologist David Gill (University of Suffolk), discusses how Christians of the apostolic and sub-apostolic eras adapted to the urban social, cultural, and physical environments. Here’s the description from the publisher’s website:
In the tradition of The First Urban Christians by Wayne Meeks, this book explores the relationship between the earliest Christians and the city environment. Experts in classics, early Christianity, and human geography analyze the growth, development, and self-understanding of the early Christian movement in urban settings.
The book’s contributors first look at how the urban physical, cultural, and social environments of the ancient Mediterranean basin affected the ways in which early Christianity progressed. They then turn to how the earliest Christians thought and theologized in their engagement with cities. With a rich variety of expertise and scholarship, The Urban World and the First Christians is an important contribution to the understanding of early Christianity.