Characterised by 'doctrine', the church was much more like a philosophical school, and different schools held various opinions (haereses) about the way things are. The church, however, was impelled towards unity, so that 'ironically' deviant teachings had to be excluded, and debates continually demanded decisions about what conformed to the true tradition and what did not. It was this dialectical process of determining the truth through argument which gives the impression that doctrine 'developed'. Yet abetterperspectivewouldbethat of a community formulating an agreed discourse into which new converts and new generations were educated. This way of viewing the matter makes it far from surprising that early Christianity spawned philosophical schools,50 and eventually developed a paideia of its own to rival that of the Graeco-Roman schools.51

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