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Ritual Failure and Theological Innovation in Early Christianity
Author: Peter-Ben Smit
In Felix culpa: Ritual Failure and Theological Innovation in Early Christianity, Peter-Ben Smit argues that ritual developments were key to the development of early Christianity. Focusing on rituals that go wrong, he shows precisely how ritual infelicities are a catalyst for reflection upon ritual and their development in terms of their performance as well as the meaning attributed to them. Smit discusses texts from the Pauline epistles and the Gospel of Mark, and provides a chapter on Philo of Alexandria by way of contextualization in the Greco-Roman world. By stressing the importance of ritual, the present book invites a reconsideration of all too doctrinally focused approaches to early Christian communities and identities. It also highlights the embodied and performative character of what being in Christ amounted to two millennia ago.
This volume offers a comprehensive account of a Manichaean community in fourth-century Roman Egypt. The study analyses papyrological material from Kellis, a village in Egypt’s Dakhleh Oasis, and their implications for Manichaeism as a socio-religious movement.

Drawing on social network theory and engaging with current trends in the study of lived ancient religion, Teigen explores how lay families at Kellis cohered as a religious community. Whereas recent scholarship has seen the laity here as largely detached from distinctively Manichaean traditions, he argues that the papyri in fac reveal a community immersed in Manichaean ideas and practices. The book thereby shows how new religious identities were deeply entangled in everyday social life in late antiquity.
Essays on the Deuteronomistic History, Chronicles, and Ezra-Nehemiah
Shortly before his untimely death Gary Knoppers prepared a number of articles on the historical books in the Hebrew Bible for this volume. Many had not previously been published and the others were heavily revised. They combine a fine attention to historical method with sensitivity for literary-critical analysis, constructive use of classical as well as other sources for comparative evidence, and wide-ranging attention to economic, social, religious, and political circumstances relating in particular to the Persian and early Hellenistic periods. Knoppers advances many new suggestions about significant themes in these texts, about how they relate one to another, and about the light they shed on the various communities’ self-consciousness at a time when new religious identities were being forged.