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A World History of Ancient Political Thought$
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Antony Black

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199281695

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199281695.001.0001

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The Kingdom of Heaven and the Church of Christ

The Kingdom of Heaven and the Church of Christ

(p.215) 11 The Kingdom of Heaven and the Church of Christ
A World History of Ancient Political Thought

Antony Black (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Jesus's original idea, so far one can judge, was an imminent ‘kingdom of heaven’ which would transform human relationships, and was already doing so. Family was downgraded, the status of women enhanced. Paul taught salvation by faith in Christ, which made observance of any law, and all social distinctions, irrelevant to spiritual life. Christianity developed its own ritual and community, with a strong distinction between believers and unbelievers. The church was a parallel universal society, supposed to embody Christian social ideals. Early congregations elected their leaders and conferred together. But, partly because Christians based their religious knowledge primarily on intuition and mystical experience, Christians became bitterly divided. The early catholic tradition assigned authority to bishops and their councils. Christians saw the state as separate but legitimate.

Keywords:   Jesus, kingdom of heaven, family, women, Christianity, faith, the church, the state

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