Michael Peppard provides a historical and theological reassessment of the oldest Christian building ever discovered, the third-century house-church at Dura-Europos. Contrary to commonly held assumptions about Christian initiation, Peppard contends that rituals here did t primarily embody tions of death and resurrection. Rather, he portrays the motifs of the church's wall paintings as those of empowerment, healing, marriage, and incarnation, while boldly reidentifying the figure of a woman formerly believed to be a repentant sinner as the Virgin Mary. This richly illustrated volume is a breakthrough work that enhances our understanding of early Christianity at the nexus of Bible, art, and ritual.
Michael Peppard is associate professor in the Department of Theology at Fordham University. His first book, The Son of God in the Roman World, won the Manfred Lautenschlager Award for Theological Promise. He is the author of numerous articles and essays, one of which received the Catherine Mowry LaCugna Award from the Catholic Theological Society of America. He lives in New York.