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The Church of Smyrna

History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community


Mauricio Saavedra

This book deals with the theology of the Church of Smyrna from its foundation up to the Council of Nicaea in 325. The author provides a critical historical evaluation of the documentary sources and certain aspects particularly deserving of discussion. He makes a meticulous study of the history of the city, its gods and institutions, the set-up of the Jewish and Christian communities and the response of the latter to the imperial cult. Finally, he undertakes a detailed analysis both of the reception of the Hebrew Scriptures and the apostolic traditions, as well as examining the gradual historical process of the shaping of orthodoxy and the identity of the community in the light of the organisation of its ecclesial ministries, its sacramental life and the cult of its martyrs.
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General Conclusions


On completing our study on the Church of Smyrna from its foundation up to the Council of Nicaea, we may arrive at the following conclusions.

In the first part, as regards the quantity and importance of the documentation necessary to reconstruct the history of the community, we may state that in general, on the community of Smyrna in the early centuries of Christianity, we possess a sufficient number of direct and indirect testimonies which enable us to reconstruct to a large extent the historical and theological development of this local reality. However, the scarcity of documentation regarding the end of the third century and the beginning of the fourth makes it difficult to study this last period. We are unacquainted with the environment of the community immediately prior to the Council of Nicaea, we only know that there this Church was represented by its bishop Eutychius. Some lights on this detail may be thrown by the Life of Polycarp; however, as we have repeated on various occasions in the course of this research, this is a source difficult to appraise and only a couple of commentaries on it exist. We believe that this doctoral thesis opens up the need for new and more in-depth studies on this document in particular.

The letter to the Church of Smyrna in the Revelation is the first direct source on the history of the Christian community of this city towards the end of the first century or beginning...

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