Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Following Jesus in the Ancient World

The situation faced by the Christians of Anatolia, modern day Turkey, would have been something like this: 

Christians in the first-century Mediterranean world would have attracted widespread but localised ill will for their failure to participate in the religious celebrations that permeated Roman culture – some in honour of the goddess of Rome herself, Roma, others in honour of the emperor and his divine attributes, and so on.  Failing to associate themselves with these religiocultural activities, Christians would have invited social ostracism and other forms of harassment.  Indeed, their behaviours would have been perceived by the general populace as antisocial, perhaps even bordering on the unlawful; failing to participate in these activities, they would have been charged with bringing on the city or town the disfavour of the gods.  Official Roman policy need not have dictated action against Christians for followers of Jesus as Lord to be subjected to mob action on account of their association with the name of Christ.[1]

[1] Achtemeier, Green, Thompson, Introducing the New Testament, 519-20.

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