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ECCLESIAE investigates the rise and expansion of Christianity as an urban phenomenon in the first decades of its existence. In a comparative city-by-city approach the project describes how the early Jesus movement and its religious, intellectual and social forms emerged in the “ecology” of the ancient Mediterra-nean world.


ECCLESIAE zooms in on five major early Christian centers: Antioch, Ephesus, Philippi, Corinth, and Rome. The project combines the descriptive task, i.e., model-based application of theories, with the historical task with the historical task, i.e.

the exploration of literary evidence as well as the local documentary, numis-matic, archaeological, epigraphic and iconographic evidence.

As it is our deep conviction that one can learn from the past for the present, we aim to bring together cutting-edge historical research—based on the publi-cation of six major monographs—and a critical engagement with contemporary religious phenomena and challenges. To this end, nine complementary video essays will be produced during the course of the project, which are then made available on this website.

Recent Impressions

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