The goal of the project is to fill a gap in research by combining up-to-date cultural evolutionary theorizing with detailed textual and cultural analyses, in order to analyze the possible selective advantage of early Christian groups and texts in their Jewish and Greco-Roman context.
The project tests two main hypotheses. 1) Early Christian groups, or some of them, had selective advantage over other religiously oriented groups in the same environment. 2) Some variants of early Christian social formation and textual tradition had selective advantage over other corresponding early Christian variants in the same environment.
Case studies of the team focus on: a) The spread of Pauline Christianity in the first three centuries, b) The contribution of emerging Christian morality and ethical discourse to the spread of Christianity, c) The spread of early Christian gospels and variants in manuscripts, d) Comparison of early Christian congregations with Greco-Roman associations