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25. Ecclesiastical Institutions: Unity, Martyrs, and Bishops

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Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152)

The Epistle of Jude can be dated to somewhere during post-apostolic Christianity and before the formation of the Canon. It refers to the apostles as representing a prior generation, yet it quotes from texts later excluded (perhaps, for example, by 2 Peter) from the Canon. The letters of Ignatius of Antioch contain evidence of a move toward the institutionalization of early Christianity. It mentions, for example, three different church offices: bishops, presbyters, and deacons. It also heavily emphasizes the authority held by those with these titles. The Didache contains liturgical and ritual instructions for rites such as baptism, the Lord's Prayer, and the Eucharist. All these documents show the change in early Christianity toward greater church structure and institutionalization.

00:00 - Chapter 1. The Struggle to Maintain Unity in the Early Christian Social Movement
09:34 - Chapter 2. The Letter of Jude: The Move towards Institutionalization
16:07 - Chapter 3. The Letters of Ignatius and Martyrology
24:42 - Chapter 4. The Letters of Ignatius and Church Office
36:15 - Chapter 5. The Didache and the Development of Liturgy

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website:

This course was recorded in Spring 2009.