The Handbook provides an indispensable account of the ritual world of early Christianity from the beginning of the movement up to the end of the sixth century.
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Scholars of religion have long assumed that ritual and belief constitute the fundamental building blocks of religious traditions and that these two components of religion are interrelated and interdependent in significant ways. Generations of New Testament and Early Christian scholars have produced detailed analyses of the belief systems of nascent Christian communities, including their ideological and political dimensions, but have by and large ignored ritual as an
important element of early Christian religion and as a factor contributing to the rise and the organization of the movement. In recent years, however, scholars of early Christianity have begun to use ritual as an analytical tool for describing and explaining Christian origins and the early history of
the movement. Such a development has created a momentum toward producing a more comprehensive volume on the ritual world of Early Christianity employing advances made in the field of ritual studies. The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Ritual gives a manifold account of the ritual world of early Christianity from the beginning of the movement up to the fifth century. The volume introduces relevant theories and approaches; central topics of ritual life in the cultural world of early
Christianity; and important Christian ritual themes and practices in emerging Christian groups and factions.