What terms would early Christians have used to address one another? In the first book-length study on this topic, Paul Trebilco investigates the origin, use and function of seven key self-designations: 'brothers and sisters', 'believers', 'saints', 'the assembly', 'disciples', 'the Way', and 'Christian'. In doing so, he discovers what they reveal about the identity, self-understanding and character of the early Christian movement. This study sheds light on the theology of particular New Testament authors and on the relationship of early Christian authors and communities to the Old Testament and to the wider context of the Greco-Roman world. Trebilco's writing is informed by other work in the area of sociolinguistics on the development of self-designations and labels and provides a fascinating insight into this often neglected topic.
Paul Trebilco teaches New Testament studies at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He is the author of Jewish Communities in Asia Minor (Cambridge University Press, 1991), The Early Christians in Ephesus from Paul to Ignatius (2004), 1 Timothy (with S. Rae, 2006) and 2 Timothy and Titus (with S. Rae and C. Caradus, 2009).
1. Introduction; 2. Brothers and sisters - adelphoi; 3. The believers; 4. The saints - hoi hagioi; 5. The assembly - he ekklesia; 6. Disciples - mathetai; 7. The way - he hodos; 8. 'Christian' - Christianos; 9. Conclusions.