Shaping Identity by Writing History: Earliest Christianity in its Making
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The gospel writings and Acts contribute actively to the shaping of a collective identity in earliest Christianity. The gospel writings have a prospective and a synchronic function when constructing a narrative of the past as history. Clearly, they also contribute to delivering and further defining a 'set of memories' and, to some extent, they already reflect earlier processes of identity formation (retrospective function). The gospel writings and Acts remain 'formative writings' in and beyond early Christianity. They widely depict the narrative of the past as a 'history' to come. Accordingly, they suggest the concept of an identity that is in the making. Since this concept is generally inclusive, it widely refuses to designate 'insiders' and 'outsiders'.