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Early Christian Centers (ECC) 

Handbook Series

The newly commissioned multi-volume reference work Early Christian Centers (ECC; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck) seeks to introduce key cities of early Christianity, starting with: 

Further volumes will be added in due course, such as Athens, Carthage, Constantinople, Colossae/Hierapolis/Laodicea, and Thessalonica.

The main editors are Professors

Benjamin Schliesser (University of Bern – New Testament Studies),

Jan Rüggemeier (University of Bonn – New Testament Studies),

Katharina Heyden (University of Bern – Church History),

Sabine Feist (University of Bonn – Archaeology), and

Stefan Pfeiffer (University of Halle – Ancient History).

Other colleagues will serve in Advisory Boards, which will be constituted under the responsibility of the editors. 

The purpose of this multi-volume reference work is to identify, introduce, and evaluate significant aspects concerning the place of emerging Christianity in the life of an ancient city. The focus and layout of the series is unique among recent projects on ancient cities: ECC is not a collection of individual essays, but rather implements the same consistent structure in each volume to provide a definitive, handbook-style survey of a city and to allow for a comparative approach. We will certainly cooperate closely with the editors of related projects, such as Civitatum Orbis Mediterranei Studia (COMES; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013–), The First Urban Churches (9 vols.; Atlanta: SBL Press, 2015–), and New Documents Illustrating the History of Early Christianity (5 vols.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, forthcoming). 

Each volume will cover broadly in the respective city from the beginnings of Christianity up to the 4th c. when Christianity reached the center of the city, which can be indicated by archaeological evidence of a basilica, a theological key figure, or an ecclesiastical event such as a synod.

Within the series, we strive for consistency in terms of structure, intended readership, article length, and scholarly level. The handbooks conform to a shared overall arrangement, which will adapted according to the specificities of each city.

ECC seeks to provide accessible information which is neither too technical to be used by students nor too superficial for serious researchers in the areas of New Testament studies, church history, archaeology, ancient history, etc. While the volumes are intended to be used as textbooks in upper-level university and seminary settings and as central library-building reference resources, we encourage authors, at the same time, to include the most recent insights and new and innovative approaches and perspectives to their articles. For each volume, open access funding will be applied for so that students and colleagues around the world can have access to the material. 

The approach is thoroughly interdisciplinary, and it interweaves historical perspectives (ancient history, archaeology, social history, history of religion, history of theology, etc.) and systematic perspectives (identity theory, conflict theory, network analysis, social science, religious studies, theology, etc.). The outlook is international, both in terms of the contributors and the research traditions considered.

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