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Title: From general priesthood to special priesthood : developments in the Christian literature of the first three centuries
Author: Bulley, Colin John
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1994
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Abstract:
The aim of this thesis is to examine the Christian literature of the first three centuries A.D. concerning the general priesthood of the church and the priesthood of the ordained to determine whether the understanding of the former was harmed by the understanding of the latter. This examination is preceded, first, by consideration of some modern literature on these subjects to show why they are important and which issues are being discussed, and, second, by study of the New Testament's teaching which shows that the only Christian priesthoods apparent in it are those of Christ and of Christians in general and that it contains no clear justification of the priesthood of the ordained. The Christian literature of the first three centuries A.D. is then examined to show that the priesthood of the ordained appeared towards the end of the second century and arose mainly because of the church's desire to relate the Old Testament to its life and because of the leaders' presidency over the church, its worship, especially the eucharist, and discipline. The same literature is again examined to show that, although there continued to be an awareness of the general priesthood, by the mid-third century it came to be largely ignored and devalued in the light of the increasing emphasis on the priesthood of the ordained. This literature is studied a third time to show that the development of the priesthood of the ordained and the devaluation of the priesthood of the church were connected with, and part of, the development of the distinction between the clergy and the laity which involved the increasing monopoly of authority and public ministry by the former.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.642209  DOI: Not available
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