“Elite” Early Christians?

Larry Hurtado's Blog

In the course of my recent writing projects, I’ve come across a new book on the evidence of individuals from the “elite” levels of Roman-era society as early Christian converts:  Alexander Weiß, Soziale Elite und Christentum:  Studien zu ordo-Angehörigen unter den frühen Christen (Berlin:  De Gruyter, 2015) roughly = Social Elites and Christianity:  Studies on Members from Elite classes among Early Christians. (The publisher’s online catalogue entry here.)

A century or so ago, it was a widespread view that early Christianity was essentially a religion of slaves and people of near-abject poverty.  But, particularly commencing with the pioneering work of Edwin Judge published in 1960 (The Social Pattern of Christian Groups in the First Century) a “new consensus” has developed.  In this view, early Christian churches were more socially mixed, and heavily comprised of people with some modest financial means, including some who had homes adequate to…

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