Is the Study of Early Christianity and its Key Entities more Prosopography than Historiography?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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MrMacSon
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Is the Study of Early Christianity and its Key Entities more Prosopography than Historiography?

Post by MrMacSon » Wed May 15, 2019 3:14 pm

Prosopography = an investigation of the common characteristics of a historical group (whose individual biographies may be largely untraceable) by means of a collective study of their lives or purported activities*, in 'multiple career-line analysis'.

* added

Prosopography involves the collection and analyses of data about a group of individuals. The technique is used for studying many pre-modern societies. The objective is to understand patterns and relationships by analysing the data. A uniform set of criteria ought to be applied to the group in order to achieve meaningful results. And, as with any historical study, understanding the context of the lives studied is essential.

In the words of prosopographer Katharine Keats-Rohan, "prosopography is about what the analysis of the sum of data about many individuals can tell us about the different types of connection between them, and hence about how they operated within and upon the institutions—social, political, legal, economic, intellectual—of their time", Keats-Rohan, Katharine (2000) "Prosopography and computing: A marriage made in heaven?" History and Computing. 12, p.2 of pp.1-11.


I was thinking the concept might apply to groups of church fathers, but upon subsequently finding the word prosopography is drawn from the figure of prosopopeia (Greek: προσωποποιία) — introduced in classic Roman rhetoric by Quintilian in which an absent or imagined person is figured forth in words as if present (the "face created" as the Greek suggests) — one wonders of it could well be applied to groupings of NT characters: Paul, Peter, and James; Jesus and the disciples; Jesus, Peter, and James, etc; etc,

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