Following Pat McCullough’s lead, I’ll be adding this to my reading list: Dynamics of Identity in the World of the Early Christians, by Phil Harland. The book is apparently critical of sectarian models used to understand the early Christians. Says John Kloppenborg:
“This is a finely crafted volume which both engages recent social scientific literature on identity theory and employs little-known but critical studies of small group formations in the ancient Mediterranean. . . Harland’s critical analysis of models of sectarianism and his appeal to data from ancient associations leads to a nuanced view of early Christian group formation, which does not automatically presume tension between small groups and society as the dominant dynamic, but instead demonstrates a complex and subtle combination of assimilation, mimesis, and differentiation. This study takes us well beyond the contemporary consensus on the formation of early Christian groups.”
And Harland himself mentions the book in the context of a riot at Pompeii. I’m ordering it tonight.