Ritual, Emotion, and Materiality in the Early Christian World  book cover
1st Edition

Ritual, Emotion, and Materiality in the Early Christian World

ISBN 9781032054797
Published December 31, 2021 by Routledge
260 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This volume advances our understanding of early Christianity as a lived religion by approaching it through its rites, the emotions and affects surrounding those rites, and the material setting for the practice of them.

The connections between emotions and ritual, between rites and their materiality, and between emotions and their physical manifestation in ancient Mediterranean culture have been inadequately explored as yet, especially with regard to early Christianity and its water and dining rites. Readers will find all three areas—ritual, emotion, and materiality—engaged in this exemplary interdisciplinary study, which provides fresh insights into early Christianity and its world.

Ritual, Emotion, and Materiality in the Early Christian World will be of special interest to interdisciplinary-minded researchers, seminarians, and students who are attentive to theory and method, and those with an interest in the New Testament and earliest Christianity. It will also appeal to those working on ancient Jewish and Greco-Roman religion, emotion, and ritual from a comparative standpoint.

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables

List of contributors


List of abbreviations


Soham Al-Suadi

1 Theorizing ritual, emotion, and material

Sharday C. Mosurinjohn

2 Emotional display in the necropoli at Roman Thessalonike

Richard S. Ascough

3 Water Rites in the world of the New Testament: Archaeological Highlights

Klaus-Michael Bull

4 Water rites in Greek and Roman associations

Richard S. Ascough

5 Water rites, emotions, and epiphanic encounters in the literary and material record of the Roman east

Richard E. DeMaris

6 Ritual experience and emotions: The right place for water rites in Luke-Acts

Soham Al-Suadi

7 Early Christian ritual from the perspective of affect and emotion studies

Richard E. DeMaris

8 Precious, powerful, and pernicious: The polyvalence of water and water symbolism in early Christianity

Peter-Ben Smit

9 Scared disciples: Emotions of fear in Mark 4:35–41 and 6:45–52

May-Britt Melzer

10 "Let the children be fed first" (Mark 7:27): Rituals, emotions, and identity in the Synoptic tradition

Soham Al-Suadi

11 Water rites as structuring elements in ancient meals: An examination of foot washing in John 12 and 13

Henrike Dilling and Frank Krüger

12 Physical affect and ritual as starting points of Pauline paranaesis

Peter-Ben Smit


Richard S. Ascough


Modern authors

Subject index

Ancient sources

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Soham Al-Suadi is Professor of New Testament Studies and Dean on the Faculty of Theology at the University of Rostock (Germany). She is a member of the steering committee of the Society of Biblical Literature’s Seminar on Meals in the Greco-Roman World.

Richard S. Ascough is Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University (Canada) and has published widely on the social dynamics of early Christ groups as well as Greek and Roman associations. His most recent book is 1 and 2 Thessalonians: Encountering the Christ Group at Thessalonike.

Richard E. DeMaris is a Senior Research Professor at Valparaiso University (U.S.A.). His recent publications include Early Christian Ritual Life, co-edited with J. T. Lamoreaux and S. C. Muir (Routledge, 2017) and The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Ritual, co-edited with R. Uro, J. J. Day, and R. Roitto.


"The book’s topic well deserves serious attention, and this volume brings the appropriate mix of theoretical insight and specific case studies to the task ... The editorial team represented here are leading scholars in the field of ritual studies." - Jonathan Schwiebert, Lenoir-Rhyne Univeristy, USA