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Romans + Christianity
#46
Quote:
JRSCline:uiz9qjf9 Wrote:Reference to the spread of Christianity as a force in the Empire, try Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians, ISBN 0-394-55495-7. It's 1989 vintage but still a definitive work on the subject.

<DELETIA>

So far, the only other works besides "Pagans & Christians", that have generally good reader's reviews, are three by Ramsay MacMullen:

Christianizing the Roman Empire: A.D. 100-400 (A.D. 100-400)
[url:uiz9qjf9]http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0300036426/ref=pd_rhf_f_1/103-8180944-2527064?ie=UTF8[/url]

Paganism and Christianity, 100-425 C.E.: A Sourcebook
[url:uiz9qjf9]http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0800626478/ref=pd_sim_b_3/103-8180944-2527064?ie=UTF8[/url]

Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries
[url:uiz9qjf9]http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0300080778/ref=pd_sim_b_5/103-8180944-2527064?ie=UTF8[/url]

I found two more possibilities:

"The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity 200-1000 AD" (Making of Europe), by Peter Brown, 2002.
[url:uiz9qjf9]http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0631221387/ref=ord_cart_shr/104-2726823-8546367?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&v=glance&n=283155[/url]

"The Early Church" (Hist of the Church), by Henry Chadwick, 1993.
[url:uiz9qjf9]http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0140231994/ref=ord_cart_shr/104-2726823-8546367?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&v=glance&n=283155[/url]

Your comments on these five books?

Recommend & comment on any others?

Thanks! Best regards, +r.
AMDG
Wm. / *r
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#47
Wow, I have to be careful what I write. There are too many intelligent people around here to pick up on my haphazard posting on several differnt boards with varied subject material.

Of course christianity was not a solely a Slave religion. I think that is clear from even the book of acts onward thru history. I think I also failed to differentiate time periods. From the first days in jerusalem, to today. Not only that but to take into account the varied styles of christianity. I think its safe to say it was never a monolithic movement. Part of my colouring of thoughts comes from some material Ive been reading on 'the kingdom of God' and alot of its implications. Jesus's social message pitted against the religious and political elite, etc.

sicarii sam wrote:
You also see the anti semitic thought creep into the writings of the early church fathers after the first century.


The Christians were trying to distance themselves from Judaism since the Jews fought the Revolt of 66-69 AD. Christians didn't want to be associated with rebellious groups since they didn't want to incur the wrath of Rome on themselves as well. Although Jews and Christians were persecuted a big difference is that you don't see any revolts inspired by the latter.[/quote]

This Imo, is true up to a point. Obviously after the Rebellion the Christians wanted no part of the jews who revolted or that nationalistic idea. Really though, when you read the first fathers of the church in the second century, you get some anti semitic thought going on. I think this is due not really to events happening in palestine as much as it was theological issues. Not only that, but from the beginning the worst agitators and persecutors of christians were JEWS. ' no mel gibson jokes please'.... :roll: The story of Paul in the book of acts really doesnt identify the 'evil' christian hunting Romans but rather the Jews whom he upset as the main enemy of christianity. I think this probably held true in the following format. Again, somewhat of a generalization.

They both eventually wanted to distance themselves from eachother. Religious rivalry was a staple of the ancient world. Get behind me you 'christian'. Oh yeah, You jews are now cursed of God ! WE are the people of God.

' OK you christians, Ill report you to the authorities as an atheist and you and your whole group will get punished'.

' Those evil , SWINE JEWS !!!' etc, etc.

This is so complicated a subject, I could begin in about 100 or more different areas or trails to follow and be lost for the rest of my life.

I really do recommend a WHC Frend's The rise of christianity. Its a 600 page book reaching up to the east west split. Ive tortured myself twice reading it.
Dan Tharp

Sicarii Sam distant cousin to Yosemite Sam. I\'ve iced a few politicos and a good number of gauls and brits. Have dagger will travel !! Confusedhock: <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_eek.gif" alt="Confusedhock:" title="Shocked" />Confusedhock:
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#48
oh and sorry for the generalizations. I have limited time on the net but wanted to jump in on one of my favorite topics even though I havent been in a church in about 8 years !!!!!!!! :oops:
Dan Tharp

Sicarii Sam distant cousin to Yosemite Sam. I\'ve iced a few politicos and a good number of gauls and brits. Have dagger will travel !! Confusedhock: <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_eek.gif" alt="Confusedhock:" title="Shocked" />Confusedhock:
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#49
Quote:So, I totally disagree with the author of the book when he says the rise of Christianity was an "accident."

Well, the Pagans and Christians author (Robin Lane Fox) didn't say that; just the anonymous reviewer I quoted. The book presents more sophisticated arguments than that of a historical accident.
Cheers,
Jenny
Founder, Roman Army Talk and RomanArmy.com

We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson
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#50
Quote:I really do recommend a WHC Frend's The rise of christianity. Its a 600 page book reaching up to the east west split. Ive tortured myself twice reading it.

Thank you, Sicarii Sam.

"Rise of Christianity", by W. H. C. Frend, 1986.
[url:pzc92lt0]http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0800619315/ref=pd_sim_b_4/104-2726823-8546367?ie=UTF8[/url]

So far, this is the highest rated general book that I've found in Amazon.com on this subject. Several reviewers there shared similar sentiments about the book. It looks like this book may be the best place for me to start on limited budget. +r.
AMDG
Wm. / *r
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#51
I was first introduced to it in college in my early christianity class. I devoured it the first time and the second, I took it more slowly.

Frend has amazing footnotes and bibliographies that can literally envelope you for the rest of your life. that book is a masterpiece of a lifetime of scholarship on early christianity.

No person interested in early christianity and rome should be without it as a reference tool. Where he cuts short on a subject he provides many alternative readings to further pursue a subject.

One thing that comes out in the book is the complete variety and myriads of early christianity and how it finally came into a cohesive movement. How this is achieved is a source of contention among alot of christians interested in doctrine, especially relating to the doctrine of trinity, gnosticism and modalism. Cant say enough good things about it. have fun !!!!!!
Dan Tharp

Sicarii Sam distant cousin to Yosemite Sam. I\'ve iced a few politicos and a good number of gauls and brits. Have dagger will travel !! Confusedhock: <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_eek.gif" alt="Confusedhock:" title="Shocked" />Confusedhock:
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#52
btw, I was wrong again. its 900 pages. not 600. one reviewer noted the absence of the resurrection. Its a look at the development of the church not on issues of faith. perfect fit for our academic discussion without bringing in religious convictions or biases. Regards. Dan
Dan Tharp

Sicarii Sam distant cousin to Yosemite Sam. I\'ve iced a few politicos and a good number of gauls and brits. Have dagger will travel !! Confusedhock: <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_eek.gif" alt="Confusedhock:" title="Shocked" />Confusedhock:
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#53
Some thoughts:-
"St. Paul was its main exporter but he didn't proselytize among illiterate slaves. He went mainly to the intellectual heart of the Roman world - Greece. " He also focussed on the synagogues in each area. As a Pharisee, he had the right to preach in a synagogue.

Coming back to the earlier point re pagans and Christians, there is a good book called "Priscillian of Avlia- the occult and the charismatic in the Early Church" by Chadwick, Oxford University Press- focussing on Priscillian, Bishop of Avila, 381-5.

His interest in Manicheism eventually led him to be convicted of sorcery, Manicheism and lechery and executed by imperial order at Trier. There are clearly strong survivals of paganism- some of which were incorporated in the Early Church. For example, Priscillian and his followers were accused of weather magic- pronouncing magical incantations over the first fruits of the crops and consecrating an unguent with curses to the sun and moon "the unguent was evidently to be poured over some sacred stone in the countryside". If true, it sounds like an attempt to incorporate - and then supplant- older rural practises.

In fact , Constantine the Great had passed a law threatening direst penalties against magicians- but exempting those who use it to bring healing or to avert storms in country districts (!).

The past is another country.......


Cheers

Caballo
[Image: wip2_r1_c1-1-1.jpg] [Image: Comitatuslogo3.jpg]


aka Paul B, moderator
http://www.romanarmy.net/auxilia.htm
Moderation in all things
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#54
Quote:I think its safe to say it was never a monolithic movement.

Even when it was just made up of the twelve Apostles and a few hundred followers after the Crucifixion ? It's understandable that later some Christian communities diverted in differing directions since there was no standardized Bible available before Constantine. Many communities only had portions of the gospels and some of those may not have been accurately copied from originals.

Quote:Of course christianity was not a solely a Slave religion.

Still, I just don't think slaves made up a major segment of the movement at any point. There were probably more freedmen who were Christians than slaves, IMO.

Quote:Really though, when you read the first fathers of the church in the second century, you get some anti semitic thought going on. I think this is due not really to events happening in palestine as much as it was theological issues.

If so, the timing seems highly coincidental - even if it wasn't related to the Jewish Revolt of 66 AD remember there was the second Jewish Revolt under Hadrian.

Quote:They both eventually wanted to distance themselves from each other. Religious rivalry was a staple of the ancient world

Oh I agree it was mutual for both groups to differentiate themselves from each other, but I think the Christians may have escalated their efforts since you have the two major Jewish revolts. Even later in Roman history the Jews were seen to have sent envoys to either Parthia or Persia to appeal for an invasion. Again, this was probably yet another impetus for Christians to distance themselves from Judaism, IMO.

Quote:Well, the Pagans and Christians author (Robin Lane Fox) didn't say that; just the anonymous reviewer I quoted. The book presents more sophisticated arguments than that of a historical accident.

My mistake - thanks for pointing it out, Jenny. I'll see if I can pick up a copy at the library.

Quote:He also focussed on the synagogues in each area. As a Pharisee, he had the right to preach in a synagogue.

That explains Dan's comment about some Jews being among the persecutors of the new sect. Funny, I was just wondering if St. Paul primarily preached in the synagogues of Anatolia and Greece.

Quote:For example, Priscillian and his followers were accused of weather magic- pronouncing magical incantations over the first fruits of the crops and consecrating an unguent with curses to the sun and moon "the unguent was evidently to be poured over some sacred stone in the countryside". If true, it sounds like an attempt to incorporate - and then supplant- older rural practices.

The gods were an important part of life for pagan farmers since farming techniques were not that far developed as in late medieval times with the introduction of the three-field system and the heavy plow. Crop failure was much more common so they appealed to their local gods to bring rain and good weather. When farmers became Christian they still sought divine help to boost their crops. Instead of praying to pagan gods they instead called upon Christian saints to intercede on their behalf to appeal for aid from God. They would pray to a specific saint known as a Patron Saint - a saint who is associated with a particular occupation. There are patron saints for just about anything - firefighters, travelers, soldiers, etc.....

So when you say it sounds like an attempt to 'incorporate' and 'supplant' pagan rituals, you're right about the second part but not the first. There was nothing objectionable to the early church about seeking divine aid for growing crops so they introduced Christian prayers and rituals. But there's no blending of pagan and Christan ritual - even though both had the same goal. The pagan rituals did not even remotely resemble Christian ritual in style or form. I hope the distinction I try to make isn't lost on you or anyone else. If so, I'll try to explain more clearly.
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#55
theodosius, I may be wrong. the revolts and the aftermath are a primary interest to me. In fact , josephus is about all I read the last 3 years, trying to get a handle on it. Its so complicated and unfortunately I dont think we have enough evidence for anyone to say 100% how things were.

Especially dealing with the 'underside' of society, the illiterate poor slaves, they leave us no record or histories. Its a great curiosity to me of that section of society but our knowledge usually goes only as far as daily life and circumstantial evidence.

The christian religion would, in my mind, appeal to slaves especially. The concept of the kingdom of God as opposed to the repressive roman empire. The promise of justice in the next life. Eternal bliss for the poor in spirit. etc. I have no evidence for supposing such a thing, just a guess. Christianity invaded all levels of society.

Regarding the revolts, Im sure it was of primary importance to distance themselves from the rebellious jewry. However, going on a theological trail, they were competing for the same God. Yahweh. Both claiming to be inheritors of the Promise. As more gentiles than jews embraced the faith, lines in the sand had to be drawn. Some christians went as far as to disregard the OT as unuseful to christians. 70AD and the destruction of the temple and the nation of Israel really set off the Schism as NT scholars called it. It can be traced farther back but this cemented it.

So complicated, Im afraid that we just wont have complete answers, only assumptions about these things. And probably was a combination of many things. Regards. Dan
Dan Tharp

Sicarii Sam distant cousin to Yosemite Sam. I\'ve iced a few politicos and a good number of gauls and brits. Have dagger will travel !! Confusedhock: <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_eek.gif" alt="Confusedhock:" title="Shocked" />Confusedhock:
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#56
Quote:Its so complicated and unfortunately I dont think we have enough evidence for anyone to say 100% how things were.

Evidence is often fragmentary on subjects such as this but even when it isn't it's rarely possible to reach 100% , IMO.

Quote:The christian religion would, in my mind, appeal to slaves especially. The concept of the kingdom of God as opposed to the repressive roman empire. The promise of justice in the next life. Eternal bliss for the poor in spirit. etc. I have no evidence for supposing such a thing, just a guess. Christianity invaded all levels of society.

Agreed. But if a slave isn't exposed to such ideas he can't very well subscribe to them, obviously. I think we need to think about practicality for a moment. If slaves were a primary focus or a major focus for early Christian evangelists, how would they go about evangelising them ? Slaves were somebody's property and you would probably be caught by that slave's master and be taken away for punishment after being found guilty of attempting to spread an illegal religion (actually, you would've been found guilty of "atheism" as the Romans considered Christianity to be) There was a law passed forbiding anyone to convert to either Judaism or Christianity - I forget when exactly though ..

So, evangelising slaves would've been dangerous and wouldn't have been the smartest strategy for spreading the gospel. The more likely approach was to evangelize sympathetic aristocrats and middle class civilians, IMO. In history, I believe great change always starts from the upper levels of society and trickles downward and almost never the other way around.

Quote:As more gentiles than jews embraced the faith, lines in the sand had to be drawn

Wait a minute - that's an interesting assumption and one that I'm not sure I agree with. DID Christians outnumber Jews at any point before Constantine ? I don't think we know that and we probably can't know it Big Grin

I agree with just about everything else you say, Dan. I think we're just talking about degrees here - this has been a very interesting discussion for me Smile

BTW, are you a fan of Richard Boone ? I think he was a good actor and was great in "War Lord" (1965) :wink:
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#57
Hey, this article just popped up on Newsbot which seems pertinent to our discussion

Persecution of Christians under Valerian



Theo
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#58
well, thinking about it you might have more evidence than I do. Im afraid, Im currently under some influences of historical interpretation. Neil Faulkner's Apocalypse uses a marxist style of interpretation of the jewish revolt of the first century. Made me think quite hard about evaluating history from the 'underside', Ie the peasantry. Social Revoloution.

I also really enjoy JD Crossan's works. Especially the Historical Jesus. about 2/3 of it is examining the records of josephus and setting a social political context from which Jesus emerged. He in fact was pretty much a peasant himself. I dont know if I'd call Crossan's theory a marxist one rather , he is just examining the social context of his time period and how 'the Kingdom of God' was an appeal for the lower class.

However as Ive stated above, it seems that the NT and other records seem to 'show off' the conversions of important people rather than the common slave. That in and of itself is interesting to ponder. did it reflect reality or was it a literary tactic to legitimize christianity. Thats the crossroads I would come to with this subject. The records we have are of the literate not the illiterate.

Splicing all these things together is the challenge. Im beginning to think that the message of christianity was covertly political in the sense of setting itself in opposition to the Kingdoms of the World.

I enjoy this conversation and am wholeheartedly open to criticism of my thoughts as learning is a constant change for me. I tend to generalize too much. Maybe because Im a BA, not a PHD haha.

Also, I firmly believe to understand Christianity, one must thoroughly understand Roman society even more than vice versa. Dan
Dan Tharp

Sicarii Sam distant cousin to Yosemite Sam. I\'ve iced a few politicos and a good number of gauls and brits. Have dagger will travel !! Confusedhock: <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_eek.gif" alt="Confusedhock:" title="Shocked" />Confusedhock:
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#59
oh and I have no idea who that actor is, Ill have to wikipedia him !
Dan Tharp

Sicarii Sam distant cousin to Yosemite Sam. I\'ve iced a few politicos and a good number of gauls and brits. Have dagger will travel !! Confusedhock: <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_eek.gif" alt="Confusedhock:" title="Shocked" />Confusedhock:
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#60
"Even when it was just made up of the twelve Apostles and a few hundred followers after the Crucifixion ? It's understandable that later some Christian communities diverted in differing directions since there was no standardized Bible available before Constantine. Many communities only had portions of the gospels and some of those may not have been accurately copied from originals. " Theo


I would say that as soon as the apostles began missionary journey's, different brands took effect. You see even in the writings of Paul that various sects of christianity were beginning to emerge. paul of course called for orthodoxy. So we can see even in the 40-'s 50's things were not uniform. By the second century, gnosticism was becoming a large movement. Ive had lengthy discussions with people over gnosticism, modalism and trinitarianism.

Gnosticism can be traced to earlier dates than christianity itself. It was a system of thought that superimposed itself on whatever religion it went to. The EC father's began to battle this almost immediately. Eusebius is a treasure trove of information on disagreements and 'heresies' of the first 300 years of the church. In fact it was the wide variety of sects that brought the council of Nicea and others into being. So wide was the Gulf of between some and in such large numbers that the need for a cohesive orthodoxy was demanded. Some people point out the fact that it was done by force. Which leads some people, especially of the modalism faction and those who were taking stances on the divinity of christ, to bring this up today, saying that , HEY, we were literally kicked out of christianity and orthodoxy was made by the people with the guns and ammo. So they still feel themselves as legitimate successors to apostolic christianity.

I now have great understanding how people can spend a lifetime on just a couple of subjects withing christianity. Amazing stuff.
Dan Tharp

Sicarii Sam distant cousin to Yosemite Sam. I\'ve iced a few politicos and a good number of gauls and brits. Have dagger will travel !! Confusedhock: <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_eek.gif" alt="Confusedhock:" title="Shocked" />Confusedhock:
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