The Origin and Meaning of Ekklēsia in the Early Jesus Movement

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Author: Ralph J. Korner
In The Origin and Meaning of Ekklēsia in the Early Jesus Movement, Ralph J. Korner explores the ideological implications of Christ-follower associations self-designating collectively as ekklēsiai. Politically, Korner’s inscriptional research suggests that an association named ekklēsia would have been perceived as a positive, rather than as a counter-imperial, participant within Imperial Greek cities. Socio-religiously, Korner argues that there was no universal ekklēsia to which all first generation Christ-followers belonged; ekklēsia was a permanent group designation used by Paul’s associations. Ethno-religiously, Korner contends that ekklēsia usage by intra muros groups within pluriform Second Temple Judaism problematizes suggestions, not least at the institutional level, that Paul was “parting ways” with Judaism(s), ‘Jewishness’, or Jewish organizational forms.

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Ralph J. Korner, Ph.D. (2014), McMaster University, is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Taylor Seminary (Edmonton, AB, Canada). He has published articles (NovT, ARC, JJMJS) and essays (Brill, Eisenbrauns) on Daniel, the Apocalypse and the term ekklēsia.
Korners study of ekklesia in the early Jesus Movement brings together a rich range of relevant inscriptional and textual data. - Paul Foster, in: Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 2018
Das Werk K.s setzt Maßstäbe, an denen die Forschung zum Terminus ekklēsia und zur ntl Ekklesiologie nicht mehr vorbeigehen kann. - Prof. Dr. Gerhard Hotze, in: Biblische Zeitschrift, 2019
Korner hat eine klar strukturierte, minutiös und ausgewogen argumentierende Studie vorgelegt und mit umfassender Quellenkentnis und breiter Berücksichtigung des wissenschaftlichen Diskurses einen wichtigen Beitrag geleistet zur sozialen, politischen und religiösen Verortung der frühen Jesusbewegung in der antiken Welt. - Benjamin Schliesser, in: Theologische Literaturzeitung, 2019
All those interested in exploring usages of the term ekklēsia (“assembly/congregation/‘church’”) in its Greco-Roman, Jewish, and early Christ-follower contexts, particularly in relation to associations which self-designate collectively as an ekklēsia.