Advertisement

The Nation, the Nations, and the Third Nation: The Political Essence of Early Christianity

  • György GerébyEmail author
Chapter
  • 22 Downloads
Part of the International Political Theory book series (IPoT)

Abstract

Christianity has been from its very beginning a missionary religion. Its role on the “international” level arises from its original universal calling articulated in the gospels: “make disciples of all the nations” (Mt 28:19). The object of the mission is the conversion of the nations. This mandate arises not from some kind of “colonialism,” added later to the original kerygma, and neither is it individual spirituality. The Christian idea of nationhood differs from modern concepts, since it relies on the Biblical history of humanity conceived as a history of salvation, lasting from the Creation to the end of times. The central role of nationhood emerges as a key theological concept, which is tied to the Biblical events of Babel and Pentecost. The kingdom of God is anticipated (but not yet realised) by the idea of the Church, as a “third nation” over the “two nations,” that is, the Jews and the Gentiles into the new nation of God. The reconstruction of these central concepts shows remarkable consistency in early Christianity.

Keywords

Biblical origin of nationhood History of salvation Christian universalism The concept of the Church Babel and Pentecost Kingdom of God 

References62

  1. Agobardus. (1864). Liber adversus legem Gundobadi. Paris. PL 104.Google Scholar
  2. Bardy, G. (Ed.). (1974). Hippolyte, Commentaire sur Daniel. Paris: CERF. SC 14.Google Scholar
  3. Blumenkranz, B. (1973). Die Judenpredigt Augustins. Paris: Études augustiniennes.Google Scholar
  4. Borret, M. (Ed.). (1969). Origen Contre Celse. Paris: CERF. 4 vols. English tr. H. Chadwick.Google Scholar
  5. Buell, D. K. (2002). Race and Universalism in Early Christianity. Journal of Early Christian Studies, 10(4), 429–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chadwick, H. (1953). Origen Contra Celsum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Cicero. (1969). De republica (K. Ziegler, Ed.). Leipzig: Teubner.Google Scholar
  8. Déaut, R. Le. (1980). Targum du Pentateuch. IV Deutéronome. Paris: CERF. SC 271, 266.Google Scholar
  9. Denzinger, H., & Schönmetzer. A. (1997). Enchiridion symbolorum definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum (36th ed.). Freiburg, Basel, Rome & Vienna: Herder, 1997. English: Denzinger, H., & Hünermann, P. (2012). Compendium of Creeds, Definitions, and Declarations on Matters of Faith and Morals (43rd ed.). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.Google Scholar
  10. Diehl, E. (1908). Res gestae Divi Augusti. Bonn. Retrieved August 28, 2019, from https://droitromain.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr/Anglica/resgest_engl1.htm.
  11. Frede, M., & Athanassiadi, P. (Eds.). (2002). Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  12. Funk, F. X. (Ed.). (1905). Constitutiones Apostolorum. Paderborn: Ferdinand Schoeningh.Google Scholar
  13. Fustel de Coulanges, N. D. (1874). The Ancient City: A Study of the Religion, Laws, and Institutions of Greece and Rome. Boston: Lee & Shepard. (Reprint 2006. Mineola, NY: Dover.).Google Scholar
  14. Geréby, G. (2004). The Two Sons of the One Father. The Salvation-Historical Interpretation of Lk 15,11–32. In Z. Schwartz & V. Krech (Eds.), Religious Apologetics – Philosophical Argumentation (pp. 335–362). Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. Religion in Philosophy and Theology 10.Google Scholar
  15. Halbertal, M., & Margalit, A. (1992). Idolatry (N. Goldblum, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Harnack, A. (2014). Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries. Retrieved November 10, 2014, from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/harnack/mission.html.
  17. Herder, J. G. (1784–1791). Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit. Riga und Leipzig.Google Scholar
  18. Hollerich, M. (1999). Eusebius of Caesarea’s Commentary on Isaiah Christian Exegesis in the Age of Constantine. Oxford: Clarendon.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hrabanus Maurus Ep. ad Odogardum. MGH Ep. V. Fragm. 11. 520.Google Scholar
  20. Karmiris, I. (Ed.). (1953). Τὰ Δογματικὰ καὶ Συμβολικὰ Μνημεῖα τῆς Ὀρϑοδόξου Καϑολικῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Ἀθῆναι. 2 vols.Google Scholar
  21. Kautzsch, E. (1900). Die Apokryphen und Pseudepigraphen des Alten Testaments, 2 vols. Tübingen.Google Scholar
  22. Lubac, H. (1947). Catholicisme: les aspects sociaux du dogme. Paris: Cerf. English edition: Lubac, H. (1988). Catholicism. Christ and the Common Destiny of Man (L. Sheppard & E. Englund, Trans.). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.Google Scholar
  23. Markschies, C. (2012). Hellenisierung des Christentums. Sinn und Unsinn einer historischen Deutungskategorie. Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt.Google Scholar
  24. Marx, K. (1981). Zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie. Berlin: Dietz Verlag. Karl Marx – Friedrich Engels Werke (MEW), Band 1.Google Scholar
  25. Mitchell, S., & van Nuffelen, P. (Eds.). (2010). One God. Pagan Monotheism in the Roman Empire. Cambridge; New York; Melbourne: CUP.Google Scholar
  26. Murray, R. (1975). Symbols of Church and Kingdom. A Study in Early Syriac Tradition. Cambridge: CUP.Google Scholar
  27. NETS. (2009). Piertsma, A., & Wright, B. G. (2009). A New English Translation of the Septuagint and the Other Greek Translations Traditionally Included Under that Title (2nd ed.). Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  28. Neusner, J. (1990). Song of Songs Rabbah. An Analytical Translation. Atlanta: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  29. Peterson, E. (1959). Das Problem des Nationalismus in alten Christentum. In E. Peterson (Ed.), Frühkirche, Judentum und Gnosis. Studien und Untersuchungen (pp. 51–63). Roma; Freiburg; Wien: Herder.Google Scholar
  30. Peterson, E. (1995a). Existentialismus und protestantische Theologie. In B. Nichtweiss (Ed.), Marginalien zur Theologie (pp. 52–55). Würzburg: Echter. Ausgewählte Schriften Band 2.Google Scholar
  31. Peterson, E. (1995b). Kierkegaard und der Protestantismus. In B. Nichtweiss (Ed.), Marginalien zur Theologie (pp. 56–62). Würzburg: Echter. Ausgewählte Schriften Band 2.Google Scholar
  32. Plato (1961). Republic. In E. Hamilton & H. Cairns (Eds.), The Collected Dialogues of Plato Including the Letters (P. Shorey, Trans., 414d–e). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Plutarch. (1935). De Alexandri Magni fortuna ed. Nachtstädt, Plutarchi Moralia (vol. 2.2). Leipzig: Teubner.Google Scholar
  34. Ratzinger, J. (2005). Die Einheit der Nationen. Eine Vision der Kirchenväter. Neuauflage. Salzburg-München: Anton Pustet. English edition: Ratzinger, J. (2015). The Unity of the Nations. (B. Ramsey, Trans.). The Catholic University of America Press.Google Scholar
  35. Renan, E. (1882). Qu’est-ce qu’une nation? Paris.Google Scholar
  36. Sallustius. (1960). Saloustios. Des dieux et du monde (G. Rochefort, Ed.). Paris: Les Belles Lettres.Google Scholar
  37. Smith, R. R. R. (1988). Simulacra Gentium: The Ethne from the Sebasteion at Aphrodisias. The Journal of Roman Studies, 78, 50–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Smith, A. D. (2000). The Nation in History. Historiographical Debates About Ethnicity and Nationalism. Hanover: University Press of New England.Google Scholar
  39. Symmachus. (1872). Relationes (G. Meyer, Ed.). Lipsiae: Teubner.Google Scholar
  40. Tcherikover, V., & Fuks, A. (1957–1964). Corpus Papyrorum Iudaicarum, 2 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Tertullian. (2019). Retrieved August 29, 2019, from http://tertullian.org/works/apologeticum.htm.
  42. Vergil. (2018). Aeneid VI, 851-3. Tr. by. E. F. Taylor (1907). Retrieved August 5, 2018, from http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/18466.
  43. Wright, T. (2012). How God Became King. New York: HarperOne.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Central European UniversityBudapestHungary

Personalised recommendations