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The World's Oldest ChurchBible, Art, and Ritual at Dura-Europos, Syria$
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Michael Peppard

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300213997

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300213997.001.0001

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Dura-Europos and the World’s Oldest Church

Dura-Europos and the World’s Oldest Church

(p.5) One Dura-Europos and the World’s Oldest Church
The World's Oldest Church

Michael Peppard

Yale University Press

This chapter first summarizes the ancient history of Dura-Europos, its inhabitants, and its eventual destruction. It explains how the house-church came to be buried and preserved in the third century. The narrative then turns to twentieth-century excavation and interpretation of the site. Finally, the chapter presents a method for studying the interaction between biblical narrative, visual art, and ritual behavior in the initiatory space of the baptistery. It offers a focused survey of previous scholarly approaches to sites of early Christian initiation in general, and this house-church in particular.

Keywords:   Archaeology, Art history, Baptism, Church architecture, Dura-Europos, Ritual, Syria

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