Early Christians coined the word christemporos (“Christ-seller”) to mark other early Christians as abusive in their apostolic or Christian labor. This article explores the neologism, first embedding it within the market terminology of contemporaneous epigraphy and emphasizing its similarity to the term sōmatemporos, slave-seller or slave-trader. Second, the term christemporos, because of its frequent connection to the image of “huckstering the word of God” from 2 Cor. 2:17, is analyzed in relation to practices of hospitium. The term christemporos is invective: you would have to be pretty low to sell the anointed one; you would have to be a huckster or peddler, as Paul says, or a betrayer, as Judas was. The term also reflects a larger area of inquiry in antiquity: Is hospitality or the gift possible? The article, in focusing on christemporos, also considers how philological investigation can participate in a transhistorical “wake work,” to cite Christina Sharpe.
This paper traces the intertwining of economic and theological language in Paul’s mid-first century CE Letter to the Philippians. It seeks to reconstruct the possible reactions of the ekklēsia in Christ at Philippi to the first reception of Paul’s letter to them. The letter’s rhetoric of economics and theology – and cost and abundance – is interpreted in the context of contemporaneous epigraphic and archaeological data from the city and environs. We conclude that the early followers of Christ use of financial language in various ways to consider not only their business and patron-client relationships with one another, but also to think with and through their relationship the divine and indeed the very worth of Christ.
This chapter offers a history of the edX/HarvardX course “Early Christianity: the Letters of Paul”. It delineates the pedagogical considerations for the development, structure, and implementation of their course, reflecting upon our experiment in whether and how feminist pedagogy could be deployed in a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). We constructed a MOOC that formed a “classroom” or community where all learners contributed to the production of knowledge. This construction included broader strategies of decentering: the organizing faculty member was set alongside other experts, and even the figure of Paul was less of a focus than those to whom he wrote. The chapter offers quantitative data about course participants and qualitative data about the experience of the teaching staff and online students, which may be useful to developers of other such courses in Religious Studies. But the real aim of the chapter contends that MOOCs should keep as a key goal the crafting of a public, free, and critical space for students who express a desire, no matter their location on the globe, to learn about and to discuss the Bible.