That Christianity began as a movement in the mid first century, triggered by an individual that suffered capital punishment from the hand of the Romans, is common knowledge. That the Jesus-Movement grew and transformed, if not converted the Roman Empire is undisputed. Many questions, however, how this process took place and what transformation or conversion entails are still unresolved, others have not even been asked. The lecture raises one of those and challenges the standard assumption that during the first two centuries Christianity soon departed from Judaism and developed alongside community based narratives of Jesus' life by which it distinguished itself from both Judaism and Paganism. Instead it introduces the hitherto disregarded Gospel of Marcion as the first of its genre, written after the year 136 AD, which not only transformed a Jewish branch into a stand-alone religion that changed the world, but also provided a single-authored narrative that became the world's most copied and sold book ever.
Markus Vinzent studied philosophy, theology, Jewish Studies, ancient history and archaeology at the Universities of Eichstaett, Paris, Munich and Heidelberg. He worked as a pastor between 1984 and 1991, and from the 1990s onward he has in conjunction with his academic vocation been a serial entrepreneur (IT, Internet, HR, Energy, Waste). Betwen 1996 and 1997 he taught at the University of Mainz; between 1997 and 1999 he was C4-Professor and Chair-holder at the University of Cologne; and from 1999 to 2010 H.G. Wood Professor of Theology at the University of Birmingham. Since 2003 he has been one of the Directors of the International Conference on Patristic Studies, University of Oxford, and is editor-in-chief of Studia Patristica. He also edits the series Eckhart: Texts and Studies. He joined the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at King's in September 2010, is one of the fellows of the Max-Weber-Kolleg for Social Anthropology (Erfurt, Germany) and Adjunct Professor of Korea University, Seoul.
Markus Vinzent blog: www.markusvinzent.com
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