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1 CuriousLurker  Tue, Feb 26, 2013 8:34:49pm

Interesting subject, thanks.

2 freetoken  Tue, Feb 26, 2013 8:58:02pm

This is, I propose, a widely common phenomenon. Many groups reinforce their identity, and each individual as part of that group, by identifying the “outsider”, or in this case, the persecutor.

Religions tend to have murky beginnings if they were started long ago simply because literacy was so limited, and even those who could write did not necessarily compose “history” as we understand that discipline today.

There is also a case here of transference. As teachers/leaders of “Christianity” arose from the Jewish diaspora of that time they were indeed victims of the Roman eradication of Jewish self-rule that was basically over after 73AD and definitely over a few decades later. How much the Jewish experience with the Roman wars transferred onto the “new and improved” variant of Judaism that was eventually come to be called “Christianity” is an interesting problem.

As the Christian community became more and more dominated by Greek-thought teachers there is then the additional problem of how they, in the second and third centuries, re-interpreted the first century events.

3 Bulworth  Wed, Feb 27, 2013 4:26:43am

Yeah, I grew up with these persecution assumptions. Should be an interesting book. Didn’t realize much of the persecution theme had been debunked long ago.

Of course the very fact of this book’s existence will be cited as absolute PROOF that today’s Christians are persecuted.

4 Destro  Wed, Feb 27, 2013 7:03:44am

re: #3 Bulworth

Yeah, I grew up with these persecution assumptions. Should be an interesting book. Didn’t realize much of the persecution theme had been debunked long ago.

Of course the very fact of this book’s existence will be cited as absolute PROOF that today’s Christians are persecuted.


The story of Christianity’s rise to prominence is a remarkable one, but the traditional story of its progression from a tiny, persecuted religion to the established religion in the medieval West needs some debunking.

Although in the first few centuries AD Christians were prosecuted and punished, often with death, there were also periods when they were more secure. Secondly, the rise of Christianity to imperial-sponsored dominance in the fourth and fifth centuries, although surprising, was not without precedent, and its spread hardly as inexorable as contemporary Christians portrayed it.

The theory I like best is that Constantine, who was born in the eastern Roman empire (though proclaimed as emperor in York, England) chose to adopt Christianity because it had become a dynamic religion amongst the Greek populations of the Eastern part of the empire. Once Greek culture went Christian the Roman Latin empire adopted it (Latin Rome never developed it’s own culture and saw itself as an extension of Hellenism). How persecuted was Christianity if Constantine’s own mother was a Christian (nominal though she may have been at first) and his staff and inner circle was filled with Christians as well as Pagans?

The important question to me is not why Rome became Christian but why did the Greeks (and or the Hellenized eastern peoples) become Christians?

And judging by the Hebrew/Jewish DNA in Italians and Greeks (a larger percentage than say found in German or eastern European populations) how many of these Christians were Hellenized Jews who just adopted the Hellenistic version of Judaism and intermarried with the local population they were living with?

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