The Way

By: Charles Neff  

Early Christians referred to their fledgling religious tradition as "The Way." Using primary and secondary sources from Late Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity, the author has endeavored to reconstruct the spiritual practices of Jesus that may have constituted the The Way for his earliest followers. The author examined Biblical and extra-biblical texts to search for continuance, divergence, discontinuance, and new development of spiritual practices from Judaism to Christianity. The research revealed that Jesus engaged in the traditional Jewish practices of prayer, hospitality, Sabbath observance, pilgrimage, Temple and synagogue worship, and festival observance. The research also revealed that Jesus engaged in asceticism, solitude, feasting (not fasting), and open table fellowship. In terms of spiritual practice, "The Way" for the earliest Christians likely included these elements.

Spirituality Lifeworld-practice Asceticism
Religious Community and Socialization
Virtual Lightning Talk

Charles Neff

Vice-President for University-Church Relations and Dean of the Chapel, University-Church Relations, Oklahoma City University, United States
Oklahoma, United States

Ordained Elder in The United Methodist Church currently serving as Vice-President for University-Church Relations and Dean of the Chapel at Oklahoma City University. Also serves as an adjunct professor for the Wimberly School of Religion and Saint Paul School of Theology. Scholarly interest is Late Second Temple Judaism, Primative and Early Christianity, and Non-canonical Christian writings. Doctoral dissertation was entitled "The Way: The Spirituality of Jesus."