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ERIC Number: EJ1104378
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 34
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1559-0151
"Flee from the Worship of Idols": Becoming Christian in Roman Corinth
Byler, Dorvan
Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, v17 n1 p37-70 Spr-Sum 2016
The religious contexts in which early Christian communities grew were important factors in the first-century development of Christianity, affecting what it meant to become a Christian--either as a convert from a background in Judaism or as a convert from a background in Greek, Roman, or Egyptian cults. Surrounding religions and cultural norms strongly influenced the first Christian communities in urban environments throughout the Roman Empire because the first generation of Christian converts came directly from other religious constructs. As the early Christians distinguished themselves from the Diaspora Jewish communities in which they originated and actively pursued Gentile converts, the fusion of believers with differing religious backgrounds caused uncertainty and conflict over acceptable beliefs and practices within Christian communities. The focus of this essay is how these two groups coincided at the same time and in the same place. The author has chosen to further narrow the focus to one particular setting: Roman Corinth in the first century. Analyzing the population in one location during a specific time frame allows clear comparisons among Christians, Jews, and worshipers of Roman, Greek, and Egyptian cults instead of general statements about how most Christians related to most Jews or polytheists throughout the Empire. Corinth is a compelling choice for this type of study because its population contained significant numbers of Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians. Its role as a seaport in the center of the Roman Empire ensured a constant interchange of individuals from throughout the Empire. The Apostle Paul, Strabo, Appian, Apuleis, Plutarch, Pausanius, and other ancient writers who reference Corinth provide ample primary source material. These sources, as well as architectural evidence, suggest an interpretation of the Christian, Jewish, Roman, and Greek populations in Corinth and provide a platform for discussing the effects of the local religious environment on the development of early Christianity.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A