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Relating through Prayer

Identity Formation in Early Christianity


Maria Louise Munkholt Christensen

This book analyses early Christian texts on prayer. These texts provide a rich perspective on the formation of Christian identity in the early church. The primary sources investigated are the four earliest known treatises on prayer in Christian history, written by Clement, Origen, Tertullian and Cyprian in the beginning of the third century. Prayer and identity have both individual and collective expressions, and theological treatises reveal an interplay between these phenomena. The book examines the relational character of Christian prayer: how prayer establishes a relationship between the individual and God; how other social relations are reinforced by prayer in direct and indirect ways; and how individual Christians are connected to their own self in prayer.

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Foreword and Acknowledgments


This book is a slightly revised version of my PhD Dissertation which I defended at Aarhus University on 28 August 2015. The defence was the culmination of my theological education at Aarhus University. I am grateful to many people who have patiently supported me in the process of writing and publishing my doctoral dissertation: I am very grateful to my PhD supervisor Prof. Dr. Anders-Christian Jacobsen for his help and support throughout my PhD studies. I thank the members of my assessment committee at the PhD defence, Associate Prof. Dr. Jakob Engberg, Associate Prof. Dr. Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony and Prof. Dr. Lorenzo Perrone. Moreover, I thank my current employer, Prof. Dr. Peter Gemeinhardt, at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, for his support, and I thank his skilful assistant Johanna Jürgens who has helped me finish editing parts of the manuscript. Remaining mistakes are my responsibility.

I also wish to show my gratitude towards many good colleagues and friends who made my time as a PhD student in Aarhus particularly enriching. I thank Sasja E. Mathiasen Stopa, Lone Slot Nielsen, Uffe Holmsgaard Eriksen, Erin Wright, Søren S. Jensen, Nicholas Marshall, Lea Wierød Borčak, Anne Linde Førgaard, Karen Olsen, Monica Louise E. Jensen, Sophie-Lønne R. Hundebøll, Nanna Munk Petersen and Laura Munk Petersen. I thank my colleagues and friends in Göttingen and the new friends that I have met in the ecumenical movement. Many more have deserved to be mentioned. In...

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