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The Ancient World - Christianity The Impact of Christianity on Culture and Politics.

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1 The Ancient World - Christianity The Impact of Christianity on Culture and Politics

2 The Ancient World - Christianity t e M T r e h r d e a i – n e a n

3 The Ancient World - Christianity

4 When we look at a map of the ancient Medi- terranean, of what do we in the West think most? Given our overall cultural background and our educational system, we would not be far wide of the mark, were we to think first and foremost of Greece – and with good reason. But take a look at little Greece!

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6 Some years ago a British scholar, at the be- ginning of a book he wrote, listed approxi- mately twelve ancient cultures that were of considerable significance – for instance: 1) Egyptian. 2) Sumerian. 3) Akkadian. 4) Babylonian.

7 The Ancient World - Christianity 5) Assyrian. 6) Minoan. 7) Mycenaean. 8) Hittite. 9) Scythian. 10) Persian. 11) Urartian. 12) Phrygian.

8 The Ancient World - Christianity Virtually all of these can be located on our map – or an adjacent map.

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11 At the University, at the outset of one of the courses I teach, I present the students with this list, and ask them. How many of these cultures, significant cultures in their own right, have directly influenced us, and still do, most particularly in respect of our education- al system? And I inform them – None! By comparison, what about Greece?

12 The Ancient World - Christianity I startle them by saying, “Do you realise that virtually every Faculty, virtually every Depart- ment, virtually every discipline, virtually every subject at a Canadian University derives is name from Greek, alias, ancient Greek? (or from Latin through Greek influence?)” One has only to cite a few examples:

13 The Ancient World - Christianity φιλοσοΦία - philosophia γηολογία - géologia ζοολογία - zoologia θεολογία - theologia βιολογία - biologia φιλολογία - philologia ἄνθρωπολογία - anthropologia ἀρχαιολογία - archaiologia

14 The Ancient World - Christianity ἱστορία - historia γηογραφία - géographia φαρμακεία - pharmakeia φυσιοθεραπεία - physiotherapeia κοσμολογία – kosmologia - cosmology ἀστρονομία - astronomia cosmonaut – ναυτής nautés = sailor astronaut - ἄστρον – astron = star

15 The Ancient World - Christianity So there is little Greece in the gigantic Mediterranean! And one could simply go on adding to this list!

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17 Exerting such profound influence on our culture – down to this very day! Who would have forecast that – from the midst of all the former and contemporary cultures at the time? How do you explain this? And when one looks at a map of Greece of what does one think?

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19 Perhaps one thinks of philosophy – and Athens: and Plato. But there was a lot of philosophy before Plato – the Presocratics, most of whom were at home in Ionia (the west coast of Asia Minor). Indeed, from Thales (ca. 585 BC) to Democritus and Speusippus (mid-fifth c.) the Presocratics covered a lot of ground.

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21 But let us return to Athens – and to Plato (ca BC), but before Plato to Pericles (ca BC) – Pericles identified with Athens in the days of her greatest glories.

22 Athens




26 Athens - Agora

27 Athens - Plato

28 The Ancient World - Christianity Now Plato was an intellectual and philosophi- cal giant – in the city where democracy was born (about 80 years before Plato was born). But in his Republic, Plato criticised all forms of government, including democracy. Indeed, he criticised many other things, not least Homer and the gods in Homer. He even created a new, theoretical state – to

29 The Ancient World - Christianity be ruled by a ‘philosopher king’. But when he attempted to inaugurate his grand philosophical creation, it failed, miserably (Dionysius of Syracuse – tyrannos). While creating his own state, he criticised all the other forms of government – and the Greeks had already tried them all. And by the time of Plato, the glory days of Athens already lay well in the past.

30 The Ancient World - Christianity The unique form of Greek state – the πόλις (polis), within the context of which virtually all the great Greek accomplishments had taken place, had run its course. Nine years after Plato’s death occurred the battle of Chaironeiea – which drove the last nail into the coffin of the πόλις (polis). A new power had emerged on the map – a power that had come as if from nowhere.

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33 After several centuries of back-woods non- descript history, Macedonia landed like a bombshell in southern Greece. This was due to Philip II ( BC). Three years into his reign Alexander the Great was born (356). His mother – (non-Macedonian) Olympias.

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37 Alexander tutored by Aristotle ( ) Philip: ζῆν – zén: to live Aristotle: εὖ ζῆν – eu zén: to live well Battle of Chaironeia (338) – end of the polis

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39 1. Assassination of Philip II – wedding: his last marriage: Cleopatra. 2. Accession of Alexander: Balkan bloodbath 3. Alexander’s Conquest of Persian empire: a) Battle of the Granicus (summer 334) b) Battle of Issus (November 333) c) Battle of Gaugamela (1 October 331) 4. Capture of Tyre (August 332)

40 The Ancient World - Christianity 6. Possession of Egypt (late 332) 7. Founding of Alexandria (beginning 331) 8. Burning of Persepolis (spring 330) 9. Battles in East Iran ( ) 10. Alexander’s Indian Campaign ( ) 11. Return March to Babylon ( ) 12. Death of Alexander (10 June, 323)

41 The Ancient World - Christianity We have no information on precisely what it was that Aristotle taught Alexander. If, however, we go by what Aristotle wrote (and he wrote on just about every subject), and especially by what he wrote in his Nicomachean Ethics, we would have to say that in the end Alexander did not εὖ ζῆν – eu zén: live well – probably one of the reasons why he died at the young age of 33.

42 The Ancient World - Christianity And yet, a great German scholar, W. Kolbe, claimed, “As a creative statesman Alexander was far in advance of his time and demonstrated an originality of thought that has made him for all generations one of the greatest phenomena in world history”. Hermann Bengtson found himself compelled

43 The Ancient World - Christianity to write in his monumental History of Greece the following: “Neither the Roman Empire nor the triumphal march of Christianity, whose congregations at the end of antiquity encompassed the vast area from Ireland to India... are conceivable without the life-work of Alexander” (224).

44 The Ancient World - Christianity It is time to turn to Rome ! It is an amazing story! It is essentially from a village to the world. There are important antecedents to the real story -- but the real story begins with a small settlement on the banks of the Tiber river.

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47 Initially, “Rome was a loose aggregation of five or more drab pioneer villages with different languages and customs” – on the banks of the Tiber river. “One of these primitive settlements may have been the original Rome – founded, according to legend, in 753 BC” (50). By 275 BC Rome had conquered the whole of the Italian peninsula.

48 The Ancient World - Christianity “Immediately after the conquest of the greater part of the Italian peninsula, Rome made her appearance upon the larger stage of the Mediterranean and world affairs. In size, strength and military capability she was already a great power. But she had not yet actually moved into the

49 The Ancient World mainstream of Hellenistic civilisation – which then dominated the political, economic and spiritual life of the world from the Himalayas in the East to the Adriatic seaboard in the West. It was not Egypt, Syria, Macedonia or any of the other heirs of the vast conquests of Alexander the Great that compelled Rome to emerge from isolation but Carthage -- the

50 The Ancient World mighty north African empire of the West: though never conquered by Alexander the Great nor an inheritor of any part of his conquests, was economically and militarily a great Hellenistic power” ( ).

51 The Ancient World - Rome The Punic Wars: 1) First Punic War ( ). 2) Peace Terms (241). 3) Illyrian Wars ( ). 4) Second Punic War ( ). Hannibal!

52 The Ancient World - Rome Into the Hellenistic Greek World! “No sooner had Rome conquered Carthage and won dominion over the Western Mediterranean than she was drawn into conflict with the Hellenistic powers of the Balkans and the Middle East. Since she had no vital interests or obligations in that area, and since not one of the Hellenistic powers had ever attacked, injured

53 The Ancient World - Rome or threatened her in any way, modern historians have been at a loss to explain why she carried on unprovoked and aggressive war against them” (138). The Romans landed in Illyria in the fall of 200. Battle of Cynoscephalae (197). War with Antiochus III the Great ( ). Battle of Pydna (168 BC): Lucius Aemilius Paullus.

54 The Ancient World - Rome Although there was still work of consolidation and there were many vicissitudes, for all in- tents and purposes the Romans had become the masters of the Mediterranean world. Eventually, the empire stretched from Scot- land in the NW to the Euphrates (never really beyond the Euphrates) in the East, and from Central and Northern Europe to the whole of North Africa.

55 The Ancient World - Rome It became a colossal political entity. It incorporated many subjects with enormous ethnic, political, social, economic, religious and cultural differences. And yet, out of this vast conglomerate a number of diagnostic features arose – features that were to be of great significance for the spread of the Christian gospel.

56 The Ancient World - Rome But at the same time, there were massive factors that weighed mightily against any prospect of the Christian message making any inroads whatsoever.

57 The Ancient World Factors Weighing against Christianity: 1) Religion: This was doubtless the most formidable of all. Two instances will suffice to illustrate the point: a) Athens: When we think of Athens, we probably think first and foremost of the quintessence of intellectual activity.

58 The Ancient World - Religion “And Paul stood up in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious [δεισιδαιμονεστέρους – deisi- daimonesterous – only here in NT] in all respects’ (Ac 17:22). ‘... they say that Athens is most pious towards the gods’ (Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus 260); ‘... the Athenians... are

59 The Ancient World - Religion affirmed by all men... to be the most religious of the Greeks (Josephus, Against Apion ii.11); ‘The Greeks... venerate the gods more than other men’ (Pausanias, Description of Greece i.17.1). ‘For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship [τὰ σεβάσματα – ta sebasmata] [cf. II Thes 2:4), I also found an altar with this inscription, « TO AN UNKNOWN GOD » ‘ (17:23a).

60 The Ancient World - Religion “In addition to the twelve Olympian gods and innumerable lesser deities, the ancient Greeks worshiped a deity they called ‘Unkown’ – and dedicated to this god, and very often the Athenians would swear ‘in the name of the Unknown god’. Apollodorus, Philotratus and Pausanias also wrote about the Unknown god. At Athens there are “altars of gods called

61 The Ancient World - Religion ‘unknown’” (Pausanias, Description of Greece i.1.4); “At Athens, where even unknown divinities have altars erected to them” (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius vi.3.5). The Unknown god was not so much a specific

62 The Ancient World - Religion deity, but a ‘placeholder’ for whatever god or gods actually existed, but whose name and nature were not revealed to the Athenians or the Hellenised world at large. According to a story told by Diogenes Laer- tius, Athens was once hit by a plague, and desperate to appease the gods by means of appropriate sacrifices. Accordingly, Epimeni- des gathered a flock of sheep to the Acropolis

63 The Ancient World - Religion and released them. The sheep roamed about Athens and the surrounding hills. On Epime- nides’ suggestion, wherever a sheep stopped and lay down, a sacrifice was made to the local god of that place. Many of the gardens and buildings of Athens were indeed associated with a specific god or goddess – and so an appropriate altar was built and sacrifice carried out.

64 The Ancient World - Religion But at least one, if not several, sheep led the Athenians to a spot which did not have any god associated with it. Accordingly, an altar was built there – without the god’s name inscribed” (FFB).

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66 “Whatever may have been the original circumstances or intention of the inscription which Paul took as his text, he takes it as a confession of ignorance regarding the divine nature, and says that the purpose of his coming is to dispel that ignorance” (FFB).

67 The Ancient World - Religion “What therefore you worship [εὐσεβεῖτε – eusebeite - εὐσεβέω – eusebeo: to reverence, show piety towards] [only here in NT] in ig- norance, this I proclaim [katangello] to you. The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands, neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things;

68 The Ancient World - Religion and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined [their] appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, if perhaps they could grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said...

69 The Ancient World – Religion - Ephesuss b) Ephesus : Another centre that illustrates the force of religion and at the same time magic in the first century is Ephesus – on the continent of Asia, and the most important cultural centre in Asia Minor. The most illustrious of the Greek cities was Ephesus – at the mouth of the Cayster.

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71 There had been a Carian settlement here before the Ionian Greeks came (c BC). The Carians were one of the non-Greek populations of SW Asia Minor. The Carians (or Carites of II Ki 11:4,19)(related to the Philistines) were probably so called

72 The Ancient World – Religion - Ephesus because they came from there. The Carians venerated the great Anatolian mother-goddess in her local manifestation. She was given a variety of names throughout Anatolia -- Ma, in Cappadocia; Cybele or the Great Mother, in Pessinus; Cybebe, in Lydia. The Greeks called her Artemi s. More on Artemis in a moment.

73 The Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus Ephesus was a great seaport in NT times. But today it is about 12 km from the sea – thanks to the silt carried down by the Cayster Pergamum remained the titular capital of the province – but Ephesus was the greatest and most populous city (there were 42 in Asia). According to Strabo, it was the greatest trading centre west of the Taurus.

74 Ancient World – Religion - Ephesus According to Rackman, ‘at Ephesus, Hellenistic culture and philosophy had made a disastrous union with oriental superstition’. The result was a city preoccupied with magic. Paul must have deplored their superstition – and yet the very interest of the Ephesians in magic gave the gospel an entry” (DJW).

75 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus One of the chief aspects of ancient Ephesus was the practice of the magical arts. Exorcism was a specific part of the magical arts, but they were much broader and much more pervasive. This has been well captured by Shakespeare. In his Comedy of Errors, e.g., Antipholus of Syracuse [on the SE coast of Sicily] comes

76 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus to Ephesus, a centre for the learning and practice of magical arts: ‘They say this town is full of cozenage, As, nimble jugglers that deceive the eye, Dark-working sorcerers that change the mind Soul-killing witches that deform the body, Disguised cheaters, prating mountebanks, And many such-like liberties of sin (Act 1, Scene 2, lines 97 ff.).

77 Ancient World – Religionb: Ephesus “Its reputation in this respect is indicated by the fact that the phrase ‘Ephesian writings’ [’Εφησία γράμματα – Ephésia grammata] was commonly used in antiquity for docu- ments containing spells and formulae like the lengthy magical papyri in the London, Paris and Leiden collections, or small amulets (like the mottoes in Christmas crackers) to be rolled up and placed in cylinders or lockets

78 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus worn around the neck or elsewhere about the person. One of the latter, in the Princeton University collection of papyri, begins with an odd series of letters arranged in a special pattern:

79 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus Z A G O U R E P A G O U R E A G O U R E P A G O U R G O U R E P A G O U O U R E P A G O U R E P A G R E P A E P E

80 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus This is followed immediately by the petition: ‘Sovereign and good angels, deliver... the son of Sophia from the fever which has him in its grip, this present day, this very hour, now, now, quickly, quickly’. The carefully arranged pattern with which the amulet begins may represent an effort to express the name of some divinity or demon. The great magical papyri are full of such real

81 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus or imagined names. These documents have come down to us from all over the Near East, but Ephesus was specially renowned for them.

82 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus “And about that time there arose no small disturbance concerning the Way. For a certain man named Demetriu s, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen” (Ac 19:23-24). Note not silver statues of Artemis, but silver temples – a much more complex enterprise.

83 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus “Demetrius... competing in the very lucrative trade that Ephesus had in such things (cf. Dio Cassius, Roman History 39.20; Ammianus Marcellinus, History 22.13). Examples of model temples in terra-cotta and marble abound – but not surprisingly, none have been found in silver” (DJW).

84 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus The temple of Artemis at Ephesus had a long history. An earlier version was destroyed by fire in 356 BC – according to tradition, on the day that Alexander the Great was born. It was allegedly due to an act of arson – by a young man, writes Plutarch, who claimed to have carried out the mischief simply to perpetuate his name in history.

85 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus As a matter of fact, his name, Herostratus, is known to us only from this vile act of arson. A new temple, considerably more magnifi- cent than the former was built soon there- after – thanks in no small measure to funds provided by Alexander the Great. It was of enormous size – four times as large as the Parthenon in Athens. It had a surrounding colonnade of 127

86 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus columns – each one 60 feet high. It was adorned by relief sculpture by none other than Praxiteles, as well as other sculptors. So magnificent was it that it was acclaimed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World! Models of this temple in silver must have been something to behold – and expensive!

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88 Ancient World – Religion: Epehsus

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90 Demetrius must have been in the business of making silver models of the Artemision in a big way. But there is a possible additional factor for his taking the lead at this moment: he may have been the Master of the Guild of Silversmiths for the year. “His object was to involve all the related trades in a protest against the Christians ”.

91 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus “... bringing no little business to the crafts- men; these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, ‘Men – you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. And you see and hear that not in Ephesus, but in almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all.

92 Ancient World – Reliogion: Ephesus And not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis regarded as worthless and that she whom all Asia and the world worship should even be dethroned from her magnificence’ (19:25- 27).

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95 “The time of this disturbance may have been the great festival – the Artemisia ” (DJW). The city would have been thronged with visitors, and religious and national feeling would have been running high. A meeting was called – with tumultuous results.

96 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus “And when they heard this and were filled with rage, they [began] crying out [ἔκραζον – ekrazon], saying, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians! ’’ (19:28). Demetrius knew how to work a crowd! “And the city was filled with confusion. And they rushed with one accord into the theatre – dragging along Gaius and

97 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus Aristarchus, Paul’s travel companions from Macedonia” (19:28-29). “They may have been meeting in a hall belonging to one of the guilds – but now we must picture them as spilling into the street and fanning out through the city, still shouting and gathering more people as they went.

98 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus The theatre was their objective – the usual place for public meetings in most towns (Josephus, War ; Tacitus, Hist. 2.80). The theatre was well located for further ruckus – in full view of the temple of Artemis.

99 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus The theatre had a capacity of about 25,000!

100 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus

101 “And when Paul wanted to go into the assembly, the disciples would not let him. And some of the Asiarchs, who were friends of his, sent to him and repeatedly urged him not to venture into the theatre” (19:30-31).

102 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus But the Ephesian Christians, in alarm, forcibly prevented him from doing what to them seem such a mad thing. The chief citizens of the place also sent a message urging him not to run such a risk. These chief citizens are called ‘Asiarchs’. This was a title given to the foremost men in the cities of the province.

103 Ancient World – Religion: Ephesus “So then, some were shouting one thing and some another – for the assembly [ekklésia] was in confusion, and the majority did not know for what cause they had come together. And some of the crowd concluded it was Alexander, since the Jews had put him forward” (19:32- 33a).

104 Ancient World – Religion:Ephesus “There was complete disorder, for the majority of the crowd had no idea why they were there – a remark which reveals Luke’s sense of humour. The resentment against those who paid no honour to the great goddess was as much anti-Jewish as anti-Christian. And this alarmed the Jews of Ephesus! They judged it necessary to dissociate

105 Ancient world – Religion: Ephesus themselves from Paul and the other missionaries – and put up Alexander” (FFB). “But when they recognised that he was a Jew a single outcry arose from them all as they shouted for about two hours: ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians’! ‘Great Artemis of the Ephesians!’

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107 Ancient World - Religion The instances of Athens in Europe and Ephesus in Asia could be repeated a thousand times over and illustrate graphically the deeply ingrained power that pagan religion had over vast swaths of people – from the most eminent intellectually elite to the humblest peasants. How could Christianity make any impact on any ancient culture?

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111 Christianity After Paul’s conversion, the first major impact of Christianity on ancient culture took place in Anatolia (Asia Minor) – in a place one would surely not have predicted: Antioch in Pisidia. Pul’s First Missionary Journey (AD 47-48).

112 Christianity


114 “Antioch lay on the lower slopes of the mountain now called Sultan Dagh, on the banks of the river Anthius – a commanding position well protected by natural defences. This it needed to be, for in earlier days this had been the borderland of Pisidia and Phrygia. Antioch was a Phrygian city (Strabo Geography ).

115 Christianity “During the reign of Claudius (AD 41-54) Antioch reached its greatest height of importance. Throughout the period the Romanisation of both the city and the region moved apace. New roads were built – radiating out from the city to the SW and the SE. The road to the SE became a link in a southern loop of the road from Ephesus.

116 Christianity These roads were primarily for military purposes – but before long they would serve to carry the gospel: ‘And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region’ (Ac 13:49). Antioch had a mixed population of mostly Romans, Greeks and Phrygians. But the Seleucid kings had settled many Jews throughout this area” (DJW).

117 Christianity “Pisidian Antioch was a Seleucid foundation (early third century BC) – though the site was inhabited long before Seleucid times. The position was well chosen by the Seleucids – to serve as a border fortress. And the same strategic advantages probably moved Augustus in 6 BC to give the city the status of a Roman colony – under the new name of Colonia Caesarea.

118 Christianity Army veterans were settled among the local population. The city became the military centre for the surrounding territory” (FFB)

119 Christianity It was at (Pisidian) Antioch that Luke records Paul’s first sermon. “The speech is given at length – so that on other occasions Luke needed only to say that Paul ‘proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues’ (13:5; 14:1; etc.). It is possible to see in the pattern of ministry outlined in this passage a parallel between Jesus and Paul.

120 Christianity “... they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down” (Ac 13:14). “The synagogue in the Disapora necessarily played a far more important part in Jewish life than did the synagogue in Judaea. It was the general meetinghouse and com- munity hub, the schoolhouse, the courthouse

121 Christianity and the archive, as well as the locus of religious education and worship. It was to the synagogue that Paul and his colleagues went whenever they came to a new town. There were three more or less distinct groups of people to be found there: 1) Jews by birth; 2) proselytes; 3) God-fearers – a ‘providen- tially prepared bridgehead into the Gentile

122 Christianity world’ – for these ‘God-fearers’ were an informed audience familiar with the Scriptures and the messianic hope of the Jews. But at the same time they were profoundly aware that they were themselves excluded from that hope as long as they remained as they were. These ‘God-fearers’ always remained second- class citizens.

123 Christianiy Proselytes were buried in Jewish cemeteries in Jerusalem and Rome and elsewhere... But not ‘God-fearers’. From an official point of view, despite their visits to synagogue worship and their partial observance of the law, the ‘God-fearers’ con- tinued to be regarded as Gentiles, unless they went over to Judaism completely through circumcision and ritual baptism’ (Hengel).

124 Christianity It is hardly surprising, then, when they were told that ‘the messianic hope had come alive in Jesus, that in Him the old distinction be- tween Jew and Gentile had been abolished, that the fullest blessings of God’s saving grace were as readily available to Gentiles as to Jews, many of this class embraced the Good News’ (FFB). They formed the nucleus of many of the early

125 Christianiy congregations (along with a scattering of Jews), and through them the church had entry into the Gentile world that lay beyond the ambit of the synagogue” (DJW).

126 Christianity “... they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, ‘if you have any word of exhortation/ encouragement [παρακλήσεως – parakléseos] (‘And Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas

127 Christianity by the apostles, which, translated, means Son of Encouragement [παρακλήσεως – paraklé- seos][Ac 4:36]’) for the people, say it’. And Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand, said: ‘Men of Israel, and you who fear God [οἱ φοβούμενοι τὸν θεόν – hoi phoboumenoi ton theon] [‘God-fearers’], listen: The God of this people Israel chose our Fathers,

128 Christianiy and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out from it. And for a period of about forty years He put up with them in the wilderness/ bore them up in His arms as a nurse in the wilderness [ἐτροποφόρήσεν – etropophorésen]. And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land as an inheritance – [all of which took] about 450

129 Christianity years. And after these things He gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. And then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for 40 years. And after He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do

130 Christianity will’. From the offspring of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Saviour – Jesus – after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And while John was completing his course, he kept saying. ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not [He]. But behold, one is coming after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worth to untie’. Brethren, sons of Abraham’s

131 Christianiy family, and those among you who fear God, to us the word of this salvation is sent out. For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognising neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled [these] by condemning [Him]. And though they found no ground for [putting Him] to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed. And when

132 Christianiy they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from among the dead ; and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. And we preach to

133 Christianity you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this [promise] to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, THOU ART MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN THEE ’. And [as for the fact] that He raised Him from the dead, no more to decay,

134 Christianity He has spoken in this way, ‘ I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE [blessings] OF DAVID ’. Therefore He also says in another [Psalm], ‘ THOU WILT NOT ALLOW THY HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay; but He whom God raised did not undergo decay. Therefore, let it be known to you,

135 Christianity brethren, through Him, forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him, everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses. Take heed, therefore, so that the thing spoken of in the prophets may not come upon you:

136 Christianity ‘BEHOLD YOU SCOFFERS, AND MARVEL, AND PERISH; FOR I AM ACCOMPLISHING A WORK IN YOUR DAYS, A WORK WHICH YOU WILL NEVER BELEIV EVEN THOUGH SOMEONE SHOULD DESCRIBE IT TO YOU’.” (13:16b-41). “And as Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next Sabbath. Now when [the meeting of] the synagogue

137 Christianity was broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God” (13:42-43). “And the next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of God. BUT when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, and [began]

138 Christianity contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, and said, ‘it was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For thus the Lord has

139 Christianity commanded us, I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU SHOULD BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH [Is 49:6). And when the Gentiles heard this, they [began] rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed (13:44-48). “And the word of the Lord was being spread

140 Christianity through the whole region” (49). “BUT the Jews aroused the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust of their feet [in protest] against them, and went to Iconium” (13:50-51).

141 Christianity “The God-fearers in the congregation were especially attracted by Paul’s message, and spread the news abroad among their fellow- Gentiles. The result was that a week later there were more Gentiles than Jews present at the synagogue service. The leaders of the Jewish community were displeased and visited their displeasure on

142 Christianity the two missionaries. But many of the Gentiles accepted the salvation through faith in Christ which the missionaries proclaimed and formed a Christian group in separation from the synagogue – the first of the churches of Galatia” (FFB).

143 Christianity - Paul Here it is pertinent to pause to look a little more closely at the man who played such a significant role in the impact which Christianity made on the ancient world. One of the ways of doing this is by consider- ing the various roles in which Paul functioned – but not only that he functioned in these roles, rather also how he functioned.

144 Christianity - Paul T Great r a v e l e r

145 Christianity - Paul Great E v a n g e l i s t

146 Christianity - Paul T Great e a c h e r

147 Christianity - Paul O Great r g a n i s e r

148 Christianity - Paul A Great p o s t l e

149 Christianity - Paul T Great h i n k e r

150 Christianity - Paul T Great h e o l o g i a n

151 Christianity - Paul C Great o m u n i c a t o r

152 Christianity - Paul V Great i s i Strategist o Tactician n a r y

153 Christianity - Paul Great W r i Letters t e r

154 Christianity - Paul Proportionate contribution to the NT Greek text = 657 pp Paul: 157 = 24% Hb: 30 = 4.5% % Ac: 57 = 8.2% % Matthew: 84 = 12.78% Mark: 53 = 8% Luke (G): 92 = 14%

155 Christianity - Paul Luke (A): 94 = 14.3% -- Luke: 28.3% John (G): 66 = 10% John (E): 12 = 01.8% John (R): 45 = 06.8% -- John: 18.6% Hebrews: 30 = 4.5% Peter: 14 =.02% James: 9 =.01% Jude: 3 =.045%

156 Christianity - Paul “Of all the New Testament authors, Paul is the one who has stamped his personality unmistakably on his writings. It is for this reason that he has his secure place among the great letter-writers in world literature... because they express so spontaneously and therefore so eloquently his mind and his message” (FFB). Bruce then cites one of the leading classical

157 Christianity - Paul philologists of his day, Gilbert Murray: “He [Paul] is one of the great figures in Greek literature”. Bruce goes on: “... and a greater Hellenist even than Murray, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, described him [Paul] as ‘a classic of Hellenism’. Paul, he said, did not directly take over any of

158 Christianity - Paul the elements of Greek education, yet he not only writes Greek but thinks Greek; without realising it, he serves as the executor of Alexander the Great’s testament by carrying the gospel to the Greeks”. Here it is apt to cite the following words: “Neither the Roman Empire nor the triumphal march of Christianity, whose congregations at the end of antiquity

159 Christianity - Paul encompassed the vast area from Ireland to India, nor the Byzantine Empire nor Arabic civilisation are conceivable without the life- work of Alexander” (Hermann Bengtson). Wilamowitz went on to say: “At last, at last, someone speaks Greek out of a fresh inward experience of life. That experience is his faith, which makes him sure

160 Christianity - Paul Adds Bruce: “No mean tribute from a Hellenist of Hellenists to a Hebrew of Hebrews!” It cannot get better than that.

161 Christianity - Paul P Great a s t o r Shepherd

162 Christianity - Paul Great H u B m e a i n n g

163 Paul 1) Traveller 9) Visionary 2) Evangelist 10) Writer 3) Teacher 11) Human being 4) Organiser 12) Pastor/ Shepherd 5) Apostle 6) Thinker 7) Theologian 8) Communicator

164 Christianity - Paul As a second example, we can choose Paul’s initial foray into Europe – namely at Philippi.

165 Christianity – Paul - Philippi

166 Christianity - Paul - Philippi Paul and Silas and Timothy and Luke followed the Via Egnatia for about 16 km in a NW direction – then came upon Philippi.

167 Christianity – Paul - Philippi




171 Christianity - Paul - Philippi “... to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia, a [Roman] colony...” (16:12b). Philippi was founded by Philip II of Macedonia (father of Alexander the Great) in 356 BC (he reigned ) – on the foundation of an earlier town, Krenides. It was the first city named after an individual.

172 Christianity – Paul - Philippi “There does not seem to have been a synagogue in Philippi – presumably because there does not appear to have been a Jewish community of any size” (FFB). “And we were staying in this city for some days: (Ac 16:12b).

173 Christianity – Paul - Philippi “And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer...” (16:13a).

174 Christianity – Paul - Philippi

175 “The Greek text has them simply going ‘out of the gate,’ and as long as we understand ‘the gate’ to be that of the city. But another identification is possible. About 2 km to the west of the city, on the Via Egnatia, stood a Roman arch – now in ruins. And a little beyond this ran the river Gangites -- a tributary of the Strymon.

176 Christianity – Paul - Philippi The Jews may therefore have been obliged to hold their meetings at this distance – beyond the gate. Here the missionaries expected to find their ‘place of prayer’. The Greek has only the one word, προσευχήν – proseuchén, which can mean either an act of praying or the place in which it is done – in the latter sense sometimes denoting a build-

177 Christianity – Paul - Philippi ing (e.g., a synagogue). But Luke’s use of the word here probably means that there was no building – just a regular meeting spot in the open. When Jews were obliged to meet in this way, as far as possible they would do so near a river or the sea - to facilitate their ceremonial washings: and so at Philippi, it would seem.

178 Christianity – Paul - Philippi

179 Here Paul and his companions found some women. The absence of men may explain the lack of a synagogue – since at least ten men were needed before a synagogue could be established. They ‘sat down’ – the usual posture for teaching among Jews, though in this case it may simply indicate informality” (DJW).

180 Christianiy – Paul - Philippi And a certain woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira...” (Ac 16:13b-14a).

181 Christianity – Paul - Philippi

182 Lydia : « Her name was Lydia, and that was also the name of her country – though it no longer existed independently [it was conquered by Cyrus the Great in 546 BC], but had long since been absorbed into the province of Asia » (DJW).

183 Christianity – Paul - Philippi

184 “Lydia... Thyatira... a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God [σεβομένη τὸν θεόν – sebomené ton theon], was listening [ἤκουεν – ékouen] … » (14).

185 Christianity – Paul – Phiippi Purple fabrics: “Dyeing was one of the stable industries of Thyatira – and it was probably from here that Lydia bought [brought] her purple cloth. It was a luxury trade, and Lydia must have been a relatively wealthy woman to be engaged in it” (DJW).

186 Christianity – Paul - Philippi A God-fearer : “... It may have been at Thyatira that she had been introduced to the Jewish faith. There is evidence that the Jews of Thyatira were especially involved in the dyeing trade. Thus the way had been prepared in her for the gospel” (DJW).

187 Christianity – Paul - Philippi «… was listening [ἤκουεν – ékouen … » (16:14b): « The imperfect tense of the verb ‘to hear’ suggests that she heard the missionaries on more than one occasion » (DJW). Being an intelligent woman, she must have reflected much and seriously on what she had heard!

188 Christianity – Paul - Philippi « … and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul » (16:14c). « Luke attributes her readiness to respond to something more than her background. The Lord ‘opened her heart’. This must always be the case. Without in any way diminishing the importance of repentance and faith and of

189 Christianity – Paul - Philippi preaching the faith of Christ, there can be no life in Christ unless the gospel comes, ‘not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit’ (I Thes 1:5; cf. Eph 1:18)” (DJW).

190 Christianity – Paul - Philippi “It is noticeable that in the three Macedonian towns, Philippi, Thessalonica and Beroea, women are mentioned especially as influenced by the gospel. This corresponds to the considerable freedom and social influence enjoyed by Macedonian women, who were hardly less active than men in public affairs” (DJW). But remember that Lydia was not a ‘native’!

191 Christianity – Paul - Phiippi “And she prevailed upon us [παρ-εβιάσατο – par-ebiasato] » (16:14-15). [παραβιάζομαι – para-biazomai: this word is used only by Luke in the NT, and only in one other instance – the two disciples with Jesus on the road to Emmaus: « And they urged Him saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is getting towards evening, and the day is now nearly over’. And He went in to stay with them » ].

192 Christianity – Paul - Philippi What a pearl was the first convert to Christianity on the European continent! A woman of noble disposition and character. Intelligent. Thoughtful. Dynamic. Sensitive. Enterprising. Cordial. Warm-hearted. Strong-minded. Generous. Influential. Persuasive. Hospitable. Caring.

193 Christianity – Paul - Corinth This took place early in Paul’s Paul’s Second Missionary Journey (50-52). There is of course also the instance of the Philippian jailor, and Thessalonica, and Boerea, and Athens – but those are for another day. On to Corinth !

194 Christianity – Paul - Corinth “And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Do not be afraid [any longer], but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city’. And he settled [there] a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them” (18:9-11). And how they needed teaching!

195 Christianity – Paul - Corinth “But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul, and brought him before the judgement seat [bema], saying, ‘This man persuades men to worship [σέβασ- θαι – sebasthai -- σέβομαι – sebomai: to stand in awe, venerate, reverence, worship, adore] contrary to the law’.

196 Christianity – Paul - Corinth “But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, ‘If it were a matter of wrong or vicious crime, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you; but if there are questions about words and names and your own law, look after it yourselves; I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters’.

197 Christianity – Paul - Corinth And he drove them away from the judgement seat [bema]. And they all took hold of Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him in front of the bema. And Gallio was not concerned about any of these things” (18:12-17).

198 Christianity – Paul - Corinth Gallio “On this occasion [Paul’s] Jewish opponents, instead of stirring up the city rabble against him or accusing him before the civic magistrates, approached the Roman administration of the province. Any decision that civic magistrates, such as the politarchs at Thessalonica, might take would be valid only within their own civic

199 Christianity – Paul - Corinth jurisdiction. By contrast, the verdict of a Roman governor would not only be effective within his province, but would be followed as a precedent by the governors of other provinces. Had the proconsul of Achaia pronounced a

200 Christianity – Paul - Corinth verdict unfavourable to Paul, the story of the progress of Christianity during the next decade or so would have been very different from what it actually was” (FFB). Gallio was an exceptional individual! He was the son of the elder Seneca. Lucius Seneca – born of an equestrian family at Corduba in Spain ca. 55 BC. Elder Seneca.

201 Christianity – Paul - Corinth Writer of rhetoric (ca. 55 BC – ca. AD 40). Was in Rome as a young man and later. He amassed a considerable fortune, and may have held an official post in Spain, or engaged in trade. By his marriage with Helvia, he had 3 sons: 1) Annaeus Novatus – adopted by L. Junius Gallio, and later became governor of Achaia. 2) L. Annaeus Seneca – the philosopher. 3) M. Annaeus Mela – the father of Lucan.

202 Christianity – Paul - Corinth His original name, Marcus Annaeus Novatus, but was adopted by the senator Lucius Junius Gallio – by which name he was then known. Brother of Seneca the philosopher (ca. 3 BC – AD 65). “He appears to have been a man of consider- able personal charm – ‘no mortal,’ said his brother Seneca [the philosopher], ‘is so pleasant to any one person as Gallio is to

203 Christianity – Paul - Corinth to everybody’ (Natural Questions iv a; Preface,11), Dio Cassius refers to his wit (History lxi.35). After holding the praetorship [next rung up to the consulship], he was appointed proconsul of Achaia. From an inscription at Delphi in Central Greece, recording a proclamation made by

204 Christianity – Paul - Corinth the Emperor Claudius between the end of 51 and August of 52, it can be inferred, Gallio entered upon his proconsulship in July 51. (The inscription, which mentions Gallio as proconsul of Achaia, is datable by its reference to Claudius having been acclaimed imperator for the 26 th time; the evidence of other inscriptions indicates that the period during which Claudius could be so described

205 Christianity – Paul - Corinth covers the first seven months of AD 52. As a proconsul entered on his term of office [nominally] on July 1, it is just possible that Gallio became proconsul on July 1, AD 52, but much more probable that he did so on that date in the year 51 [Deissmann, Lake])” (FFB). Gallio’s proconsulship is the anchor date for NT chronology. His handling of the situation was of cardinal importance for Christianity.

206 Christianity – Paul - Ephesus Paul’s Third Missionary Journey (AD ) “... reasoning daily in the scholé of Tyrannus. And this took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord – both Jews and Greeks” (Ac 19:10).

207 Christianity - Ephesus “Luke tells us little of Paul’s years at Ephesus, but the little he does tell shows how great an impact Paul had on the city” (DJW). This is enormous when one considers the history and character of the city. It reveals Paul as a colossal, towering figure. “At the same time, it portrays accurately the religious and moral atmosphere of the place.

208 Christianity – Paul - Ephesus According to Rackman, ‘at Ephesus, Hellenistic culture and philosophy had made a disastrous union with oriental superstition’. The result was a city preoccupied with magic. Paul must have deplored their superstition – and yet the very interest of the Ephesians in magic gave the gospel an entry” (DJW).

209 Christianity – Paul - Ephesus “Many of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practised magic brought their books together and [began] burning them in the sight of all; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver” (19:18-19).

210 Christianity – Paul - Ephesus “So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing” (19:20). The effects of evangelism “were being increasingly felt in both Ephesus itself and in the province” (DJW).

211 Christianity The Wider Circle: Asia Minor

212 Christianity – Wider Circle “And they [Paul and Silas on Paul’s Second Missionary Journey – AD 50-51] passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia [Roman province of Asia], and when they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them” (Ac 16:6-7).

213 Christianity – Wider Circle

214 “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia...” (I Peter 1:1). These represent districts in which Paul was not active – at least not in northern Galatia.

215 Christianity – Wider Circle


217 Christianity – Bithynia

218 Christianity - Bithynia If the First Epistle of Peter was written by Peter, and there are good grounds for thinking that it was, and Peter’s death is to be put in the middle of the 60s, how were the vast regions covered by his letter evangelised, and evangelised so early? This raises major, intriguing questions. The subject is all the more intriguing for five reasons:

219 Christianity - Bithynia 1) We have information from one of these regions – Bithynia. 2) Bithynia is comparatively remote. 3) The information is from a non-Christian source. 4) The source is of the highest quality. 5) The information is highly illuminating.

220 Christianity - Bithynia Pliny the Younger (AD 61 or 62 – ca. 114) Nephew of Pliny the Elder He showed talent at an early age, and received and excellent education. He trained as an advocatus -- lawyer. He began a distinguished legal career at the age of 18.

221 Christianity - Bithynia He succeeded in navigating unscathed through the reign of terror of Domitian (AD 81-96). (Domitian had insisted on being addressed as ‘’Dominus et Deus - Lord and God”.) In AD 100 he addressed to Trajan (98-117) the customary gratiarum actio – ‘address of thanks,’ and then produced his Panegyricus.

222 Christianity - Bithynia His most notable success also took place in AD 100 – prosecution of Marius Priscus. In AD 104 and 106 he acted as counsel for the defence of two senatorial ex-governors accused of maladministration in Bithynia.

223 Christianity - Bithynia The experience and knowledge thus acquired as well as in finance made Pliny an obvious choice when the emperor Trajan (AD ) decided to place Bithynia under an imperial legatus (legate) with special powers to over- haul its finances – probably in AD We know that Pliny spent at least two years in Bithynia and that his time there over- lapped C. Macer, governor of Moesia in 112.

224 Christianity - Bithynia Pliny to Trajan: “Among the chief features of Amastris (Greek city on the south coast of the Black Sea), Sir, a city which is well built and laid out, is a long street of great beauty. But throughout the length of it there runs what is called a stream [flumen] that is in fact a filthy sewer, a disgusting eyesore which gives off a noxious stench. The health and appearance alike of

225 Christianity - Bithynia the city will benefit if it is covered in, and with your permission this shall be done. I shall see that money is not lacking for a large- scale work of such importance” (X. 98). From the above we see that Pliny was a highly civlised individual – something to be noted in what follows a little below.

226 Christianity - Bithynia Trajan to Pliny: “There is every reason, my dear Pliny, to cover the water which you say flows through the city of Amastris, if it is a danger to health while it remains uncovered. I am sure you will be active as always to ensure that there is no lack of money for this work” (X. 99). (Note Trajan’s emphasis on health – a very Roman touch.)

227 Pliny to the Emperor Trajan “It is my custom to refer all my difficulties to you, Sir, for no one is better able to resolve my doubts and to inform my ignorance. I have never been present at an examination of Christians. Consequently, I do not know the nature or the extent of the punishments usually meted out to them, nor the grounds for starting an investigation and how far it should be pressed. Nor am I at all

228 Pliny to the Emperor Trajan sure whether any distinction should be made between them on the grounds of age, or if young people and adults should be treated alike; whether a pardon ought to be granted to anyone retracting his beliefs, or if he has once professed Christianity, he shall gain nothing by renouncing it; and whether it is the mere name of Christian which is punishable, even if innocent of crime, or

229 Pliny to the Emperor Trajan rather the crimes associated with the name. For the moment this is the line I have taken with all persons brought before me on the charge of being Christians. I have asked them in person if they are Christians, and if they admit it, I repeat the question a second and third time, with a warning of the punishment awaiting them. If they persist, I order them to be led away for execution;

230 Pliny to the Emperor Trajan for whatever the nature of their admission, I am convinced that their stubbornness and unshakeable obstinacy ought not to go unpunished. There have been others similarly fanatical who are Roman citizens. I have entered them on the list of persons to be sent to Rome for trial. [It is not clear whether Pliny was obliged to do this, whether or not those charged had (like Paul)

231 Pliny to the Emperor Trajan exercised their right to appeal, but it was probably the custom to do so.] Now that I have begun to deal with this problem, as so often happens, the charges are becoming more widespread and increasing in variety. An anonymous pamphlet has been circulated which contains the names of a number of accused persons. Among these I considered that I should

232 Pliny to the Emperor Trajan dismiss any who denied that they were or ever had been Christians when they had repeated after me a formula of invocation to the gods and had made offerings of wine and incense to your statue (which I had ordered to be brought into court for this purpose along with the images of the gods), and furthermore had reviled the name of Christ: none of which things, I understand, any genuine Christian can be induced to do.

233 Pliny to the Emperor Trajan Others, whose names were given to me by an informer, first admitted the charge and then denied it; they said that they had ceased to be Christians two or more years previously, and some of them even twenty years ago. They all did reverence to your statue and the images of the gods in the same way as the others, and reviled the name of Christ. They also declared that the

234 Pliny to the Emperor Trajan sum total of their guilt or error amounted to no more than this: they had met regularly before dawn on a fixed day to chant verses to a god, and also bind themselves by oath, not for any criminal purpose, but to abstain from theft, robbery and adultery, to commit no breach of trust and not to deny a deposit when called upon to restore it. After this ceremony it had been their custom to disperse and reassemble later to take food of

235 Pliny to the Emperor Trajan an ordinary, harmless kind; but they had in fact given up this practice since my edict, issued on your instructions, which banned all political societies. This made me decide it was all the more necessary to extract the truth by torture from two slave-women, whom they call deaconesses. I found nothing but a degenerate sort of cult [superstitionem pravam] carried to extravagant lengths.

236 Pliny to the Emperor Trajan I have therefore postponed any further examination and hastened to consult you. The question seems to me to be worthy of your consideration, especially in view of the number of persons endangered; for a great many individuals of every age and class, both men and women, are being brought to trial, and this is likely to continue. It is not only the towns, but villages and rural districts too which are infected through contact with this

237 Pliny to the Emperor Trajan wretched cult. I think though that it is still possible for it to be checked and directed to better ends, for there is no doubt that the people have begun to throng the temples which had been almost entirely deserted for a long time; the sacred rites which had been allowed to lapse are being performed again, and flesh of sacrificial victims is on sale everywhere, though up till recently scarcely

238 Pliny to the Emperor Trajan anyone could be found to buy it. It is easy to infer from this that a great many people could be reformed if they were given an opportunity to repent” (Letters X. 96).

239 Trajan to Pliny “You have followed the right course of procedure, my dear Pliny, in your examination of the cases of persons charged with being Christians, for it is impossible to lay down a general rule to a fixed formula. These people must not be hunted out; if they are brought before you and the charge against them is proved, they must be punished, but in the case of anyone who

240 Trajan to Pliny denies that he is a Christian, and makes it clear that he is not by offering prayers to our gods, he is to be pardoned as a result of his repentance however suspect his past may be. But pamphlets circulated anonymously must play no part in any accusation. They create the worst sort of precedent and are quite out of keeping with the spirit of our age” (X. 97).

241 Trajan to Pliny denies that he is a Christian, and makes it clear that he is not by offering prayers to our gods, he is to be pardoned as a result of his repentance however suspect his past may be. But pamphlets circulated anonymously must play no part in any accusation. They create the worst sort of precedent and are quite out of keeping with the spirit of our age” (X. 97).

242 Christianity – Wider Circle The picture which emerges here in Bithynia was doubtless duplicated in many other parts of Asia Minor. Indeed, the whole of this land mass became more or less saturated with the spread of the gospel. Much the same was true on the continent of Europe.

243 Christianity – Wider Circle It is also significant that it was in Asia Minor where some of the most basic doctrines of Christianity were hammered out. The various discussions culminated in numerous Church Councils, one of the earliestand most important was the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 – located, interestingly, in Bithynia, and summoned by Constantine (20 May).

244 Christianity – Wider Circle Christianity profoundly impacted virtually every aspect of culture – including the political realm. Diagnostic in this respect was the role of the Emperor Constantine the Great. It may be noted in passing that Constantine’s mother came from Bithynia and he himself grew up in Nicomedeia – in Bithynia.

245 Christianity – Wider Circle Constantine bowed to the impacting power of Christianity by declaring it the official religion – in the Edict of Milan (AD 313): granting complete freedom of religion and recognising the Christian Church or rather each separate local church as a legal ‘person’.

246 Christianity – Wider Circle The impact of Christianity also found expres- sion in architecture – especially in churches. The early climax was certainly the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. It was first dedicated on 15 February, 360. It was later expanded – between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor,

247 Christianity – Wider Circle Justinian. It is an architectural marvel. It is said to have “changed the history of architecture”. It was the largest cathedral in the world for almost 1000 years. Architects: Isidore of Miletus (physicist). Anthemius of Tralles (mathematician)

248 Christianity – Wider Circle Length: 269’ Width: 240’ Height: 180’ It became the model for many other churches and for many Ottoman mosques.

249 Hagia Sophia










259 Christianity – the Mega-Story “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law” (Gal 4:4).

260 Christianity – the Mega-Story The confluence of numerous streams: 1) The events of the OT – the chosen Jews. 2) The early Greek culture of the polis. 3) Alexander the Great. 4) Hellenistic culture – from the Indus to Europe. 5) The Greek language.

261 Christianity – the Mega-Story 1) Roman imperium – Roman empire. 2) Roman administration. 3) Pax Romana – Roman Peace. 4) Roman Law. 5) Roman roads.

262 Christianity – the Mega-Story “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law” (Gal 4:4).

263 Christianity – the Mega-Story

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