Beneath the Brick and Mortar

John Renard

in Islam and Christianity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780520255081
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948334 | DOI:
Beneath the Brick and Mortar

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This chapter summarizes the origins of underlying invisible structures of authority, the further articulation of religious law, and the evolution of Christian and Muslim theologies of power. Initial institutional developments in both traditions took the form of a division of labor, identification of levels and grades of authority, and eventually formal structures of governance and the implementation of community canons of behavior, what one might loosely call religious law. Members of virtually all Christian denominations conceive of themselves as belonging to localized or regional organizations, but the size and complexity of those organizations vary widely. Its authority structure is most clearly vertical, with a hierarchical administration that begins at the top with the papacy. Shi´i Islam, commonly known as Twelvers or Imam, presents the clearest analogy to the largely vertical authority structure. Twelver hierarchical structure evolved gradually over many centuries into its present elaborate pyramidal model.

Keywords: authority; religious law; Christian theology; Muslim theology; papacy; Twelvers

Chapter.  9148 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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