Christianity and Roman Society (Key Themes in Ancient by Gillian Clark

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By Gillian Clark

Did Christianity rework the Roman international during which it all started, or did the Roman global form Christianity? This paintings explores present debates and new interpretations of Early Christianity in Roman Society. Adopting an interdisciplinary and thematic strategy, it deals the scholar strange with the Christian culture, a accomplished advent to its function within the Roman international.

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The next chapter considers the Christian claim that martyrdom actually made converts: as Tertullian put it (Apol. 13), ‘the blood of Christians is seed’. chap t e r 3 The blood of the martyrs The people’s flag is deepest red: It’s shrouded oft our martyred dead. And ere their bones grow stiff and cold Their hearts’ blood dyed its every fold. So raise the scarlet standard high, Beneath its shade we’ll live or die. (James O’Connell, ‘The Red Flag’, 1899) Your cruelties, each more refined than the last, achieve nothing.

Was this also distinctive within Judaism? There is surprisingly little evidence, textual or material, to show how Judaism of the early centuries ce varied in specific contexts (Rowland 1985: 313–27 for texts; Rajak 2001). There were, and are, many different interpretations of Jewish belief and practice. Some scholars express this complexity by referring to ‘Judaisms’ in the plural. Others prefer the singular, because they see a common core or, more likely, a set of family resemblances in a religion that was ‘complex, capacious and rather frayed at the edges’ (Schwartz 2001: 9).

The pernicious cult (exitiabilis superstitio) was suppressed at the time, but was breaking out again, not only in Judaea, the source of the evil, but also in Rome, where all disgraceful or shameful practices convene from all directions to be followed. So first those who admitted it were arrested, then on their evidence a great multitude of others were convicted not so much on the charge of arson as for hatred of the human race. 217–27). Suetonius and Tacitus characterise Christian superstitio as pernicious, and that reaction corresponds to the deaths inflicted on Christians in 64.

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