The Expansion of Christianity in the Roman Empire


(This essay was written for History 201.6, University of Saskatchewan, 1 April 1999)

Why did Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire?  This question could be answered in one of two ways.  First, it could be shown that the Roman Empire provided Christianity with a context in which it could readily spread.[1] However, that same context existed for the state religion, mystery religions and quasi-religious philosophies that existed in Rome during the time of Christian expansion.  Why, then, did Christianity expand within the Empire against these other religions to the point where, at the beginning of the fourth century, about ten per cent of the total population and perhaps fifty per cent of the population in Asia Minor were Christian[2]?  To answer that question, this essay will be looking at the period from the first century AD up to Constantine’s victory at the Milvian Bridge in AD 312.

Constantine’s conversion, which allow Christianity to leap-frog  in status over the pagan religions, will not be a part of the consideration.  Prior to Constantine’s conversion, Christian had already become a well-organised unified force without support or toleration from the state.  This essay will be focused on why Christianity was able to do that.  Also, the persecution of the Christians by the state will not be considered in this essay.  The impact of the persecutions and the resulting martyrdoms is a subject worthy of its own essay and sufficient space is not available within this essay to properly discuss it.

Within the range established, this essay will look at various ancient sources such as the Bible, Apuleius of Madauros, Lucretius, Seneca the Younger, Eusebius and Athanasius, as well as several works of modern scholarship on the subject to support its conclusion.  In this way, it will be shown that Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire because of three reasons.  First, because it developed out of Judaism, it had historical credibility and it was able to use the Jewish Greek Scriptures and the network of Diasporic Judaism for its own benefit in its missionary work.  Second, Christianity appealed to Romans because it provided a genuine religious alternative that offered intellectual content, a high standard of morality, a genuine social concern, and universal salvation for all people of all races and all classes.  Third, Christianity developed an strong effective and united institutional organisation that was able to foster the Christian missionary programs, consolidate the gains made and withstand the fierce persecutions periodically unleashed by the state.

Christianity arose in a Jewish religious and social context[3] and was led, in its early years, entirely by Jews.  This Jewish heritage of Christianity gave it a solid foundation of history, morality and religious literature, which it built upon, modified, and made its own.[4] These Jewish roots were more than a useful foundation, however, for Christianity essentially claimed to be the culmination of Judaism.  Peter’s confession that Jesus is “the Christ the Son of the Living God”[5] encapsulates this claim.  Thus, the essence of Christianity, as it relates to Judaism, is that Jesus is the Messiah promised by the Jewish God.

The Jewish heritage of Christianity was important for three reasons.  First, Christianity was able to show non-believers that it, like the other religions of Rome, had its own history and literature.[6] The connection between Christianity and Judaism is genuine, for the early followers of Jesus did not think of themselves as adherents to a new religion, but as faithful Jews who believed in the Messiah promised by the Jewish God.  Many of them continued to observe the Jewish practices of temple worship[7] and dietary laws.[8] Also, after Pentecost, the believers would often meet inside the temple courtyard.[9] Thus the claim that Christianity arose out of Judaism is authentic and that gave Christians the right to claim Judaic history and Scriptures as their own.

Second, the Judaism offered Christianity an existing network throughout the Roman Empire and an existing pool of knowledgeable potential converts to proselytise among.  Because it was their scriptures to begin with, the Jews were very knowledgeable about the content of the Jewish Scriptures, and they placed a very heavy emphasis on that content.[10] The Jews already knew the history.  The early Christians only had to convince them that Jesus was the fulfilment of that history.  Also, because Jews  lived throughout the Roman Empire, the early Christian missionaries had an immediate point of contact in each town that they stopped in.  Time after time, Paul and the missionaries who would accompany him would go first to the local synagogue to reason “with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks.[11][12] The missionaries used the Jewish Scriptures to show how the coming of Jesus and his life were foretold in the Scriptures and how he fulfilled the promises made in those Scriptures.[13]

Third, Christianity was able to extensively use the Greek version of the Jewish Scriptures, called the Septuagint, in its missionary work among Greek-speaking Jews and Gentiles.  During previous centuries, many Jews were dispersed throughout the Greek-speaking world of the Hellenistic kingdoms, which later became a part of the Roman Empire.  Over time, many of these Jews learned to speak the international language of Greek and lost the ability to speak and read Hebrew.  Therefore, during the third and second centuries BC, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures was developed.  This Scripture, the Septuagint was used extensively by the Christians and considered the authoritative version of the Old Testament until the fourth century when it was supplanted by the Hebrew translation of the Old Testament.[14]

Christianity was accessible to the Romans because of its universality.  Over time, because of Jesus’ teachings, a vision received by Peter, and, especially, through the  experience and effort of Paul, Christianity was opened up to all people.  In response to the faith of a Roman centurion, Jesus declares,

I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.  I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.  But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.[15]

Jesus also debunked the Jewish dietary laws by saying, “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.'”[16] After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Peter receives a vision in which God instructs him to eat unclean animals.  Peter protests but God says, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”[17] Right after the vision, Peter receives an invitation from a centurion named Cornelius to come and talk to him.  Peter understands the vision to mean that he is not to consider any other human unclean (but it also counters the Jewish dietary laws).  Peter and the other Jews are amazed when the Holy Spirit comes upon the Gentile believers just as it did upon the Jewish believers.  They take this as confirmation from God that salvation through Jesus Christ is meant for both Jew and Gentile.[18] In Pisidian Antioch,[19] Corinth,[20] and Ephesus,[21] Paul preached the Christian message to the Jews first.  However, when he encountered obstinacy and abuse from the Jews, he turned to preach the message to the Gentiles, and many of them believed.[22] The issue finally came to a head when some Jewish Christians were insisting, in Antioch, that all Gentile believers be circumcised and follow the Mosaic Law.  At a council of the apostles and church elders in Jerusalem, it was decided that the Gentile converts should only be asked to refrain from eating meat from strangled animals or from animals offered to idols, avoid blood, and avoid sexual immorality.[23] This decision is monumental for it opens the new faith to all people, whether Jew or Gentile.  In this way, Christianity became open, accessible and available to all people of all race, class, gender and social status.  As Paul said in his letter to the Galatians, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew no Greek, slave nor free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”[24]

The polytheistic and syncretic religious scene in Rome at this time contrasted sharply with the monotheism and exclusiveness of Judaism and Christianity.  The state religion purported a pantheon of anthropomorphic gods and goddesses which required the honour and attention of all the citizens of the state to continue bestowing peace, prosperity and good fortune upon the state.  Failure to give honour to the gods would bring swift retribution.[25]

However, in spite of the fact that the state religion was the official and public sponsored religion, on its own, it failed to fulfil the religious needs of the Roman people.  Joscelyn Godwin describes the state religion as “a solemn but unmystical affair, respectable yet undemanding of personal enthusiasm or spiritual effort…. it lacked any conception of the Absolute, had no real Mother Goddess, and held out no hopes for an after-life.”[26] Furthermore, the state religion was seen by some as merely superstition implemented “for the sake of the common people,”[27] and maintained for its “great political usefulness.”[28] However, because of the syncretic nature of Rome, it would tolerate and often adopt any religion that was willing to compromise with the state religion.[29] Therefore, mystery religions from the east were able to come to Rome and flourish.[30]

The plethora of mystery religions that came to Rome from the East in the two centuries before Christ helped to fill the religious void left by the state religion.  Among them were Cybele, or Magna Mater, who came from Asia Minor in 205 BC,[31] Isis, who came to Italy from Egypt in the second century BC, and Mithras, who may have been introduced to Rome by Cilician pirates c. 67 BC or earlier.[32] Mystery religions differ from the state religion in that they are voluntary associations centred upon personal beliefs that offer personal benefit or salvation by approaching the divine.[33] Cybele is a powerful, violent mother goddess who will deflect her fury from her petitioning devotees.[34] But she is also a source of renewal in this life and she is associated with some sort of life after death.  In the taurobolium, the participant is reborn with the effects lasting twenty years or, sometimes, for eternity.[35] To what extent Cybele offers life after death is not clear from the evidence.  Violets arising from the blood of the dying Attis and Jupiter’s agreeing to allow the dead Attis to persist in a state of suspended animation indicate some sort of life after death.[36] However, by the fourth century AD there is evidence that the resurrection of Attis is celebrated.[37] Isis, who was thought to rule over all of nature and all the gods of heaven and hell, was considered a Redeemer of humanity who protected people on sea and land, and controlled the harmful twists of Fate.[38] As the ruler over both this life and the next and she was able to bestow upon her devotees an extension of this life and the opportunity to worship her in a life after death.[39] Similarly, devotees of Mithras thought that, through Mithras, they could be “born again” to a glorious immortal life after death.[40]

The mystery religions contribute to the spread of Christianity by serving as the theological shock troops for the Christian faith.[41] Not only did they preveniently introduce the concepts of a personal, voluntary religion that could bestow life after death, but there were other similarities as well.  The cults of both Cybele and Isis practised rituals which were very similar to baptism.[42] Cybele and Mithras emphasise the saving power of shed blood.[43] Both Isis[44] and Cybele[45] are mother goddesses similar to Mary the theotokos (qeotokoj) –the god bearer.[46] Through Mithraism one could ascend into heaven[47] and the idea of abstinence was introduced to the west by the monks of Isis and the eunuch priests of Cybele.[48]

A mystery religion also played a role in the final triumph of Christianity.  Mithras is associated with Helios the Sun god,[49] and the cult had a wide following in the Roman legions.[50] Constantine was a soldier and an emperor and, prior to his conversion, a devotee of the Unconquered Sun.[51] The day before the decisive victory against Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge in October of AD 312, Constantine “saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and an inscription, CONQUER BY THIS attached to it.”[52] After becoming sole emperor, Constantine made Sunday as a special day  set aside for worship.[53] This edict would have been welcomed by both Christians and Mithraites for both considered Sunday to be a special day of worship.[54] The genuineness and completeness of Constantine’s ‘conversion’ is a debatable subject that will not be discussed in this essay.  There is no doubt that he favoured Christianity[55] and placed restrictions upon pagan religions[56] in Rome, but it has been speculated that Constantine may have seen no disjunction between the Unconquered Sun and the Unconquered Son–Jesus Christ.[57] It seems reasonable to believe that the Mithraic mystery cult played a preparatory role of some kind in the development of Constantine’s attitude towards Christianity and that attitude was decisive in the Christian conquest of the Roman Empire.

Though there are some remarkable similarities between Christianity and the mystery religions, it would be a mistake to classify Christianity merely as a mystery religion or a synthetic imitation of those religions, for there are very significant differences.[58] First,  mystery religions cost money to join[59] whereas Christianity was accessible to both rich and poor, slave and free.[60] The second major difference was institutional organisation. Christianity, intent on spreading the gospel to as many people as possible, created a institutional structure to consolidate the gains that were made and facilitate the continued missionary work.[61] The mystery religions, on the other hand, were more concerned with keeping their proprietary knowledge secret and, as a result, they had no interest in developing any kind of formal network between individual centres of worship.[62] As a result, when the mystery religions lost state support and were declared illegal in the fourth century, they soon disappeared.[63] The third major difference was that while Christianity claimed to be the only way to salvation,[64] the mystery religions were very tolerant of their followers participating in other religions and cults.[65]

This exclusiveness of Christianity is very important for it meant rejection of the state religion and thus a denial by the state of any tolerance or support toward Christianity.  This forced Christianity to create its own organisation to do its own work of spreading the gospel.  Already in the first century, there are indications of a form of organisation with elders and deacons.[66] This developed into an episcopal style of organisation which was so effective that it was soon adapted by Christian communities throughout the Empire.[67] Under Cyprian, who was elected Bishop of Carthage  circa AD 246, the episcopacy took on a divine nature, for Cyprian saw the episcopacy as the preserver of the sanctity and unity of the church.  The church became like a “great federative republic”[68] that was “a standing challenge to the authority of the state and its gods.”[69] This organisation proved to be very resilient, so much so that the longest, most pervasive, and fiercest persecution that the Roman Empire could muster against it was unable to destroy it.  The realisation of this fact and the parallel realisation of the potential of Christianity as a unifying force within the Empire that would be loyal to the emperor may have contributed to Constantine’s acceptance of Christianity.[70]

This exclusiveness is also very important because it meant that only when a Roman was considering Christianity as an alternative to Rome’s syncretic conglomerate of polytheistic religion did he or she have a genuine religious option.  To understand what is meant by this statement, one will need to take a close look at the work of the renowned American pragmatic philosopher, William James (1842-1910).  In  The Will to Believe, he writes,

Let us give the name of hypothesis to anything that may be proposed to our belief; and… let us speak of any hypothesis as either live or dead.  A live hypothesis is one which appeals as a real possibility to him to who it is proposed [and a dead hypothesis has no such appeal]…

Next, let us call the decision between two hypotheses an option.  Options may be of several kinds.  They may be–1, living or dead; 2, forced or avoidable; 3, momentous or trivial; and for our purposes we may call an option a genuine option when it is of the forced, living, and momentous kind.

1.  A living option is one in which both hypotheses are live ones….  each hypothesis makes some appeal, however small, to your belief.

2.  Next, if I say to you;  “Choose between going out with your umbrella or without it,” I do not offer you a genuine option, for it is not forced.  You can easily avoid it by not going out at all….  But if I say, “Either accept this truth or go without it,” I put on you a forced option, for there is no standing place outside of the alternative.  Every dilemma based on a complete logical disjunction, with no possibility of not choosing, is an option of this forced kind.

3.  Finally, if I were Dr. Nansen[71] and proposed to you to join my North Pole expedition, your option would be momentous; for this would probably be your only similar opportunity, and your choice now would either exclude you from the North Pole sort of immortality altogether or put at least the chance of it into your hands.  He who refuses to embrace a unique opportunity loses the prize as surely as if he tried and failed.  Per contra, the option is trivial when the opportunity is not unique, when the stake is insignificant, or when the decision is reversible if it later prove unwise.  Such trivial options abound in the scientific life.  A chemist finds an hypothesis live enough to spend a year in its verification:  he believes in it to that extent.  But if his experiments prove inconclusive either way, he is quit for his loss of time, no vital harm being done.[72]

Consider the religious decision-making process of a second century Roman in light of James’ paradigm.   She is participating in the state religion but she is considering joining  a mystery cult.  Both of her two hypotheses, either joining a mystery cult or not, are live for her, therefore she has a living option.  Her option is a momentous one for the mystery cult offers an opportunity for personal salvation, life after death and immortality.  However, her option is not a forced option because there is not a complete disjunction between the state religion and the mystery religion.  Even if she were to join the mystery religion, she would continue to participate in the state religion.  The mystery religion is tolerated in Rome only because it compromises with the state religion.  It cannot deny, condemn or distance itself in any way from the state religion.  Her choice is not one or the other, it is one or both.  Because Christianity is the only universal religion in the Roman world which claims an exclusive way of salvation, it is the only hypothesis which would create a forced option.  Therefore, only when considering the Roman state religion (with or without a mystery religion) versus Christianity does a Roman have a genuine religious option.

The only thing that a mystery cult can do, within the Roman religious system, to portray itself as offering something unique and desirable is to offer a secret enhancement of the state religion.  The mystery religions are offering an enhancement of, not an alternative to, the state religion.  If the enhancement of one mystery religion becomes publicly available, then that mystery religion is no longer offering an enhancement.  Therefore, a mystery religion has to jealously guard the secrecy of its enhancement in order to maintain its existence.[73]

In contrast to the mystery religions, philosophy did offer an alternative to Roman religion, the way of Truth.  For philosophers, Truth is the end and reason is the means to that end.  After coming to an understanding of the Truth, living in accordance with the Truth is the personal goal of the philosopher.  It is important to consider philosophy, when studying the reasons for the Christianity’s success in Rome, for three reasons.  First, two philosophies, Stoicism and Epicureanism, both had a major impact upon Roman society and each had something to say with respect to religion.[74] Second, pagan philosophy challenged Christianity to develop intellectual and philosophical content.[75] This asset allowed Christianity to appeal to the educated elite[76] by offering its own way of Truth.  Third, because Christianity, in its own defence, used tools and concepts developed by pagan philosophy, the prior use of such concepts by pagan philosophy served as significant preparatory work for the new faith.[77]

Epicurean thought sought to show, through scientific explanation, that things were matter, including the soul.  Upon death, the body and soul decay and the atoms that make up the body and soul disperse.[78] Therefore, personal existence ceases upon death.  All events are due to natural processes and the gods play no part in the affairs of humans.  The most important thing was the peace of mind that came from partaking only of the minimum of life’s simple necessities.[79]

Stoicism also maintained that everything was matter.  However, instead of Epicurean atoms, Stoics believed that everything was one substance which ranged in refinement from the coarseness of solid material, like rocks, wood, and bodies, to the more refined state of vapour and ether.  The most highly refined form of the one substance which was everything is spirit, or soul, and it is found embodied in humans and pervading throughout the universe, actively governing through its rational abilities.  This universal spirit, called Reason, or Logos, functioned as the plan of the universe, but was not the planner.  The individual was a microcosm of the universe, with his body relating to the solid material of the universe and his material soul relating to the material soul of the universe.  Upon death, his soul would be reunited with the universal Reason, but prior to that the body was considered a prison of the soul.  The greatest good for an individual was to live his life in harmony with the universal Reason, or Logos, by allowing it, and not emotions, to govern his life.[80]

In the first chapter of his Gospel, John refers to Jesus Christ as the Word, or Logos.  He writes,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it….

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.[81]

Using the gospel of John, Greek philosophy like Stoicism, and the work of Philo,[82] Christian philosophers, such as Athanasius, developed their own concept of the Logos that centred upon the person of Jesus Christ.  In the Christian philosophy of the second to fourth centuries, God created the world and all that is in it out of nothing through the Logos, His Son, Jesus Christ.  In this way, man was also created.  However, man was unique in the creation for he was given a small portion of the Logos so that he would have Reason.[83] God had wanted all of humanity to remain immortal, but humans chose to disobey God and, as a result, all humanity suffers from illness and death. Wishing to restore humanity, the Logos came to earth and took on the human form of Jesus of Nazareth.[84] The death he suffered was a universal replacement for the deaths of all of humanity, so humanity, being indwelt with the Son of God because of its likeness to him, could once again have immortal life.[85]

On the question of truth, apologists such as Justin Martyr argued that Christianity, through the Logos, the Son of God, possessed the truth.  Whatever truth non-Christian philosophers, poets and prose writers know, they know through the use of the divine Logos.  However, whatever truth they know is incomplete, for they only possess the “seed” of the Logos.  Christians, on the other hand, know the truth more fully, for they know, love and worship the revealed Logos, Jesus Christ.[86]

For the purposes of this essay, it is not necessary to show that Christianity bested all competitors in the realm of philosophy.  The Christian apologists of the second, third and fourth centuries AD participated in this field, not to establish philosophical superiority, but, just as with contemporary apologists, to provide a reasoned defence for the Christian faith[87] and to show that such beliefs are reasonable.[88] The eventual triumph of Christianity within the Empire is evidence of the early apologists’ success.

In the realm of religion, Christianity clearly had an advantage over the pagan philosophies. In contrast to the cessation of existence upon death as found in Epicureanism, Christianity offered the hope of life after death.  In contrast to Stoicism’s concept of a cold emotionless Divine Logos, Christianity offered a God so loving that he was willing to suffer and die for all people.  In contrast to Stoicism’s denial of emotion, Christianity had agape feasts, joy and happiness.  In contrast to Stoicism’s vague concept of the human soul reuniting with the Divine Reason, Christianity offered a glorious personal afterlife with God and the believers who have gone on before hand.  The combination of intellectual content and personal salvation made Christianity a formidable force to its competitors.

A contributing factor to the attractiveness of Christianity in Rome was its high moral standards based upon the teachings of Jesus Christ.  With respect to the Mosaic Law and the Words of the Prophets of Judaism, Jesus said that did not come to abolish them, “but to fulfill them.”[89] In terms of the Words of the Prophets, Jesus’ words are understood as pointing to himself as the fulfilment of the promises of a coming Messiah.  In terms of the Mosaic Law, Jesus’ words, in light of his teaching, can be understood to mean that he has come to show how the Mosaic Law, in its fullness and completeness, is to be properly understood.  In other words, it is not sufficient to keep the letter of the law, the law demands one must keep the higher standard of the spirit of the law.[90] In the Sermon on the Mount, found in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus reveals the new morality,

You have heard that is was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder,’….  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement….  You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart….  It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’  But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery….  You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth,’  But I tell you, Do not resist and evil person.  If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’  But I tell you;  Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.[91]

From the first century BC to the fourth century AD, Rome was in a period of moral decline.[92] However, even pagans saw that Christians were living exemplary lives[93] and this strict morality coupled with unswerving obedience may have been seen by Constantine as a means to support the rule of the emperors.[94]

The benevolence and charity of Christianity was also was a positive attribute of Christianity.  Like the high standards of Christian morality, it was based upon the teachings of Jesus.  When asked which of the commandments of the Law was the greatest, he replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”[95] Paul expanded upon this theme when he wrote, “Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil;  cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.”[96] Christians took this teaching to heart and were showing such concern for their fellow human beings that Julian the Apostate urges his fellow pagans to imitate the Christians in their holy living, “humanity shown strangers, [and] the reverent diligence shown in burying the dead.”[97]

Christianity’s final triumph began in the fourth century.  In AD 311, Galerius pardoned the Christians and allowed them to practice their faith.[98] After his victory at the Milvian Bridge, Constantine issued, with Licinius the Edict of Milan in AD 313 which granted the Christians freedom to practice their religion and ordered that confiscated places of assembly be returned to the Christians.[99] However, persecution of the Christians continued in some regions of the Empire not under Constantine’s control. Finally, in AD 324, Constantine became sole emperor and all persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire ceased.[100] Constantine not only extended toleration to Christianity, but he favoured it as well.  Through his edicts, Christian clergy were not required to attend public services of the state religion and no one was allowed to interfere with them in any way in the performance of their religious duties.[101] After defeating Licinius, Constantine gave instructions for church buildings to be repaired and restored and for new ones to be built where necessary.  He also gave instructions to provincial governors to provide any needed supplies for this building program.[102] In AD 380, Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.[103] By AD 405, paganism was totally defeated and Christianity was the one true faith in Rome.[104]

Christianity is a comprehensive religion that appealed to the Romans on many different levels.  Because of this appeal, combined with its history and literature, its strong institutional organisation, and a fervent missionary zeal, Christianity was able to spread throughout an intolerant empire.  The contemporary religious situation is comparable.  We are living in a secular age, where all religions are marginalised.  We are living in a post-modern age where claims of exclusive truth are pilloried.  We are living in a cosmopolitan, high tech age, where a smorgasbord of religious and intellectual ideas are readily available.  Since the sixteenth century Reformation, Christianity has become increasingly fragmented.  The challenges before Christianity are every bit as formidable as those it faced in the first four centuries of the Roman Empire.  To future historians, it will be very interesting to see how Christianity adapts and what the results will be.

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“Edict of Toleration from Galerius, April 30, 311.”  From Lactantius.  On the Deaths of the Persecutors.  34.  Also from Eusebius.  Ecclesiastical History. 8.17.6-10.  In Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 2, 571-572.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

Eusebius.  “Ecclesiastical History.”  10.6,7.  In Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 2, 575-576.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

Eusebius, “Ecclesiastical History.”  10.7.  In Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 2, 575-576.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

Eusebius.  “V. C. (Life of Constantine).”  1.26-29.  In The New Eusebius, edited by  J. Stevenson, 299-300.  London:  Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1957.

Frend, W. H. C.  “Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) and Early Christianity.”  Journal of Ecclesiastical History.  Vol. 45.  No. 4.  (October 1994):  661-672.

Frend, W. H. C. Review of Religion and Authority in Roman Carthage from Augustus to Constantine, by J. B. Rives.  Journal of Ecclesiastical History.  Vol. 47.  No. 2.  (April 1996):  332-333.

Galen.  From Walzer, R., editor.  Galen on Jews and Christians.  Oxford:  Oxford, 1949.  15.  Cited in Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by  Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 2, 566, footnote 26.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

Glover, T. R.  The Conflict of Religions in the Roman Empire.  Fifth edition.  London:  Methuen & Co., 1909.

Godwin, Joscelyn.  Mystery Religions in the Ancient World.  London:  Thames and Hudson, 1981.

González, Justo L.  The Story of Christianity.  Two volumes.  New York:  Harper Collins, 1984.

Horace.  “Odes.”  3.6.1-20, 33-43.  In As the Romans Did:  A Source Book in Roman Social History, edited by Jo-Ann Shelton, 391-392.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1988.

Hunt, E.D.  “Constantine and Jerusalem.”  Journal of Ecclesiastical History.  Vol. 48.  No. 3.  (July 1997):  405-424.

Hyde, Walter Woodburn.  Paganism to Christianity in the Roman Empire.  Philadephia:  University of Pennsylvania Press, 1946.

James, William.  “The Will to Believe.”  In Readings in the Philosophy of Religion:  An Analytic Approach, edited by Baruch A. Brody, 35-47.  Second edition.  Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:  Prentice-Hall, 1992.

Julian.  “Ep. 49, ad Arsacium.”  In A Source Book for Ancient Church History, edited by  Joseph Cullen Ayer, 332-333.  New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1952.

Justin Martyr.  “Apologia 2.”  13.  In The Early Christian Fathers, edited by Henry Bettenson, 63-64.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1956.

Lactantius.  “On the deaths of the persecutors.”  44.3-6.  In The New Eusebius, edited by  J. Stevenson, 298-299.  London:  Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1957.

Lewis, Naphtali & Meyer Reinhold, editors.  Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings. Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

Livingstone, E. A.,  editor.  The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church.  Third edition.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1997.

Livy.  “History of Rome.”   29.10-14.  In The Ancient Mysteries:  A Sourcebook, edited by   Marvin W. Meyer, 120-125.  New York:  Harper & Row, 1987.

Lucian of Samosata(?).  “The Syrian Goddess (De Dea Syria).”  1-16, 30-60.  In The Ancient Mysteries:  A Sourcebook, edited by Marvin W. Meyer, 131-141.  New York:  Harper & Row, 1987.

Lucretius.  “About the Nature of the Universe.”  1.107-115, 127-135, 146-148.  In As the Romans Did:  A Source Book in Roman Social History, edited by Jo-Ann Shelton, 427-428.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1988.

Lucretius.  “About the Nature of the Universe.”  1.149-158.  In As the Romans Did:  A Source Book in Roman Social History, edited by Jo-Ann Shelton, 428.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1988.

Lucretius.  “About the Nature of the Universe.”  2.1002-1004, 72-79, 575-580. In As the Romans Did:  A Source Book in Roman Social History, edited by Jo-Ann Shelton, 430.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1988.

Meyer, Marvin W., editor.  The Ancient Mysteries:  A Sourcebook. New York:  Harper & Row, 1987.

Minucius Felix.  “Octavius.”  6. In As the Romans Did:  A Source Book in Roman Social History, edited by Jo-Ann Shelton, 423.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1988.

Minucius Felix.  “Octavius.”  6.23.1-4. In Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 2, 542.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

Minucius Felix.  “Octavius.”  8.3-12.6. In Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 2, 553-555.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

“Mithraic Inscriptions of Santa Prisca.” In The Ancient Mysteries:  A Sourcebook, edited by Marvin W. Meyer, 207.  New York:  Harper & Row, 1987.

“Mithras Liturgy, The.” In The Ancient Mysteries:  A Sourcebook edited by Marvin W. Meyer, 211-217.  New York:  Harper & Row, 1987.

NIV Study Bible, The.  Grand Rapids, Mich.:  Zondervan, 1985.

Origen.  “Against Celsus (Contra Celsum).”  6.22. In The Ancient Mysteries:  A Sourcebook, edited by Marvin W. Meyer, 209-210.  New York:  Harper & Row, 1987.

Paulinus of Nola.  “Poems.” 19.   From P. G. Walsh.  The Poems of St. Paulinus of Nola. New York/Ramsey, N.J.:  [no publishing firm given], 1975.  In Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 2, 617-618.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

Plantinga, Alvin.  “The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology.” In Readings in the Philosophy of Religion:  An Analytic Approach, edited by Baruch A. Brody, 74-86.  Second edition. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:  Prentice-Hall, 1992.  74-86.

Plantinga, Alvin. “The Argument Restated and Vindicated.” In Readings in the Philosophy of Religion:  An Analytic Approach, edited by Baruch A. Brody, 117-120.  Second edition. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:  Prentice-Hall, 1992.

Plutarch of Chaeronea.  “Life of Pompey.”  24.1-8. In The Ancient Mysteries:  A Sourcebook, edited by Marvin W. Meyer, 204-206.  New York:  Harper & Row, 1987.

Polybius.  “Histories.”  6.56.6-12. In Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 1, 512.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

Prudentius.  “On the Martyr’s Crowns (Peristephanon.”  10.1011-1050. In The Ancient Mysteries:  A Sourcebook, edited by Marvin W. Meyer, 129-130.  New York:  Harper & Row, 1987.

Seneca the Younger.  “An Essay about Providence.”  5.4,6. In As the Romans Did:  A Source Book in Roman Social History, edited by Jo-Ann Shelton, 433.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1988.

Seneca the Younger.  “An Essay about Anger.”  1.7.2,3. In As the Romans Did:  A Source Book in Roman Social History, edited by Jo-Ann Shelton, 433-434.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1988.

Seneca the Younger.  “An Essay about Providence.”  5.4,6. In As the Romans Did:  A Source Book in Roman Social History, edited by Jo-Ann Shelton, 433.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1988.

Seneca the Younger.  Letters.  65.21,22. In As the Romans Did:  A Source Book in Roman Social History, edited by Jo-Ann Shelton, 435.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1988.

Seneca the Younger.  “Letters.”  124.7, 14. In As the Romans Did:  A Source Book in Roman Social History, edited by Jo-Ann Shelton, 432.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1988.

Shelton, Jo-Ann, editor. As the Romans Did:  A Source Book in Roman Social History. New York:  Oxford University Press, 1988.

Stevenson, J., editor. The New Eusebius.  London:  Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1957.

“Theodosian Code.”  2.8.1. In Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 2, 577.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

“Theodosian Code.”  4.7.1. In Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 2, 577.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

“Theodosian Code.”  8.16.1. In Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 2, 577.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

“Theodosian Code.”  9.16.2.  In Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 2, 578.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

“Theodosian Code.”  16.1.2. Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 2, 617-618.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

“Theodosian Code.”  16.2.5. Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 2, 578.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

“Theodosian Code.”   16.5.1.  Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 2, 577-578.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

“Theodosian Code.”  16.10.1.  Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, vol. 2, 578-579.  Third edition.  Two volumes.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990.

Treadgold, Donald W.  A History of Christianity.  Belmont, Mass.:  Nordland Publishing Co., 1979.


[1] Donald W. Treadgold, A History of Christianity, (Belmont, Mass.:  Nordland Publishing Co., 1979), pp. 37-39.

[2] Walter Woodburn Hyde, Paganism to Chhristianity in the Roman Empire, (Philadephia:  University of Pennsylvania Press, 1946), p. 180.

[3] cf. Matt 1:1-17 (NIV), and Luke 3:23-38, where Jesus’ geneology is traced back to Abraham in the Gospel of Matthew, and to Adam and God in the Gospel of Luke, to show that Christianity arose from Judaism.

[4] cf. T. R. Glover, The Conflict of Religions in the Roman Empire, fifth edition, (London:  Methuen & Co., 1909), p. 144.

[5] Matt 16:13-20.

[6] Glover, p. 175. For additional information, see Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew.

[7] Acts 3:1-9.

[8] Acts 10:14.

[9] Acts 5:12,42.

[10] Matt 5:17, 7:12, Luke 16:17.

[11] A God-fearer was a Gentile who was mono-theistic, respected the Jewish ethical and moral teachings and usually attended synagogue.  However, they did not convert to Judaism, nor did they follow the Jewish dietary rules or submit to circumscion. The NIV Study Bible, (Grand Rapids, Mich.:  Zondervan, 1985), footnote on Acts 10:2, p. 1662.

[12] Acts 17:17.  For other examples see:  Acts 17:16-17 (at Athens), Acts 18:1-4, 19:8 (at Corinth), Acts 14:1 (at Iconium), Acts 13:2-5 (at Salamis on Cyprus), Acts 9:20 (at Damascus), Acts 13:13-41 (at Pisidian Antioch in Asia Minor), Acts 17:1-4 (at Thessalonica), Acts 17:10 (at Berea), and Acts 18-:19 (at Ephesus).

[13] Acts 13:13-41, and Acts 17:1-4.

[14] Justo L. González, The Story of Christianity, two volumes, (New York:  Harper Collins, 1984), Vol. 1, pp. 12-13; and E. A. Livingstone, editor, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, third edition, (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1997), “Septuagint,” p. 1483.

[15] Matt 8:5-12.  cf. Matt 21:42-44, 22:1-10.

[16] Matt 15:10-20.

[17] Acts 10:9-15.

[18] Acts 10:16-48.

[19] Acts 13:44-48.

[20] Acts 18:5-6.

[21] Acts 19:8-10.

[22] Acts 14:26-27.

[23] Acts 15:1-29.

[24] Gal 3:26-29.

[25] Horace, “Odes,” 3.6.1-20, 33-43, in As the Romans Did:  A Source Book in Roman Social History, edited by Jo-Ann Shelton,  (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1988), pp. 391-392.

[26] Joscelyn Godwin, Mystery Religions in the Ancient World, (London:  Thames and Hudson, 1981), p. 38.

[27] Polybius, “Histories,” 6.56.6-12, in Roman Civilization:  Selected Readings, edited by Naphtali Lewis & Meyer Reinhold, editors, third edition, two volumes, (New York:  Columbia University Press, 1990), Vol. 1, p. 512. cf. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, “Roman Antiquities,” 2.6, in Lewis & Reinhold, vol. 1, p. 513.

[28] Cicero, “On Divination,” 2.32.70, in Lewis & Reinhold, vol. 1, p. 513.

[29] Minucius Felix, “Octavius,” 6, in Shelton, p. 423.  See also Hyde, p. 184.

[30] Minucius Felix, “Octavius,” 6.23.1-4, in Lewis & Reinhold, vol. 2, p. 542.

[31] Livy, “History of Rome,” 29.10-14, in The Ancient Mysteries:  A Sourcebook, edited by Marvin Meyer, 120-125, (New York:  Harper & Row, 1987), pp. 120-121.

[32] Plutarch of Chaeronea, Life of Pompey, 24.1-8, in Meyer, pp. 204-206.

[33] Walter Burkert, Ancient Mystery Cults, (Cambridge, Mass.:  Harvard University Press, 1987), p. 12.

[34] Catullus, “Poem 63”, lines 70-94, in Meyer pp. 126-128.

[35] Prudentius, “On the Martyr’s Crowns (Peristephanon),” 10.1011-1050, in Meyer, pp. 129-130, and Meyer’s own comments in Meyer, pp. 128-129.

[36] Arnobius of Sicca, “The Case Against the Pagans, (Adversus Nationes),” Book 5.5-7, 16-17, in Meyer, 117-120, Section 7, pp. 118-119.

[37] cf. Meyer, p. 114, where Meyer states,  “In Firmicus Maternus, The Error of the Pagan Religions, 3.1ff., explicit mention is made of the resurrection of Attis.”

[38] Apuleius of Madauros, “The Golden Ass (Metamorphoses),” Book 11, in Meyer, 177-193, Section 25, p. 190.

[39] Apuleius of Madauros, “The Golden Ass (Metamorphoses),” Book 11, in Meyer, 177-193, Section 6, pp. 179-180.

[40] “The Mithras Liturgy,” in Meyer, 211-217, lines 520-530, p. 214.

[41] Burkert, p. 3, and Hyde, p. 68.

[42] For the baptism-like ritual of Isis, see Alpuleius of Madauros, “The Golden Ass (Metamorphoses),” Book 11, in Meyer, 177-193, Section 23, pp. 188-189.  For the taurobolium blood baptism ritual of Cybele, see Prudentius, in Meyer, pp. 129-130.

[43] For emphasis on shed blood in the worship of Cybele, see Apuleius of Madauros, “The Golden Ass (Metamorphoses),” Book 8.23-32, in Meyer, 141-146, sections 27-28, p. 144, and Lucian of Samosata(?), “The Syrian Goddess (De Dea Syria),” 1-16, 30-60, in Meyer, 131-141, section 50, p. 139.  For emphasis on shed blood in the worship of Mithras, see “Mithraic Inscriptions of Santa Prisca,” in Meyer, p. 207, line 14.

[44] Apuleius of Madauros, “The Golden Ass (Metamorphoses),” Book 11, in Meyer, 177-193, Section 5, p. 179, and Meyer’s own comments in Meyer, p. 159.

[45] Livy, in Meyer, 120-125, section 10, p. 121.

[46] “The Definition of Chalcedon 451,” in Documents of the Christian Church, edited by Henry Bettenson, second edition, (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1963), pp. 51-52.  cf. Hyde, pp. 54-55.

[47] “The Mithras Liturgy,” in Meyer, line 485, p. 213, and Origen, Against Celsus (Contra Celsum), 6.22, in Meyer, pp. 209-210.

[48] Glover, p. 24.

[49] “The Mithras Liturgy,” in Meyer, line 640, p. 217.

[50] Burkert, p. 7.

[51] González, Vol. 1, p. 107.

[52] Eusebius, “V.C. (Life of Constantine),” 1.26-29, in J. Stevenson, editor, The New Eusebius, (London:  Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1957), pp. 299-300, section 28, pp. 299-300.  Also see Lactantius, “On the Deaths of the Persecutors,” 44.3-6, in Stevenson, pp. 288-299.

[53] “Theodosian Code,” 2.8.1, in Stevenson, pp. 335-336, and in Lewis & Reinhold, Vol. 2, p. 577.

[54] Hyde, p. 60.

[55] Eusebius, “Ecclesiastical History,” 10.6,7, in Lewis & Reinhold, vol. 2,  pp. 575-576; “Theodosian Code,” 8.16.1, 2.8.1, 4.7.1, 16.2.5, and 16.5.1, in Lewis & Reinhold, vol. 2, pp. 577-578.

[56] “Theodosian Code,” 9.16.2,and 16.10.1, in Lewis & Reinhold, vol. 2, pp. 578-579.

[57] Clayton Beish, “Events Under Constantine,” Religious Studies 221.3 (section 01), Thorvaldson 258, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, September, 25, 1998.

[58] Burkert, p. 3.

[59] Apuleius of Madauros, “The Golden Ass (Metamorphoses),” Book 11, cited in Meyer, pp. 177-193, Sections 21, 23, 28, and 30, pp. 187, 188, 192, and 193.

[60] Gal 3:26-29.

[61] W. H. C. Frend, “Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) and Early Christianity,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 45, no. 4, (October 1994):  661-672, p. 667.

[62] Glover, p. 20.

[63] Cumont, The Mysteries of Mithra, second edition, (Chicago and London:  [no publishing firm given], 1910), p. 199, in Hyde, p. 60.  See also Hyde, pp. 52, 62, 68.

[64] John 14:6, 15:5.

[65] Burkert, p. 4.

[66] 1 Cor 12:27-28, 1 Tim 3, and Titus 1.

[67] W. H. C. Frend, “Edward Gibbon,” p. 666.

[68] W. H. C. Frend, “Edward Gibbon,” p. 667.

[69] W. H. C. Frend, review of Religion and Authority in Roman Carthage from Augustus to Constantine, by J. B. Rives, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 47, no. 2, (April 1996):  332-333,  p. 333.

[70] W. H. C. Frend, review of Religion and Authority in Roman Carthage from Augustus to Constantine, by J. B. Rives, p. 333.

[71] Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) was a prominent Norwegian polar explorer who, in 1895, came within 272 miles of the North Pole, closer than anyone had previously come.  John Edwards Caswell, “Nansen, Fridtjof,”  World Book Encyclopedia, 1971 edition.

[72] William James, “The Will to Believer,” in Readings in the Philosophy of Religion:  An Analytic Approach, edited by Baruch A. Brody, 35-47, second edition, (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:  Prentice-Hall, 1992), p. 36.

[73] Regarding the emphasis of the mystery cults on secrecy, see Hyde, pp. 48, 52,

[74] Lucretius, “About the Nature of the Universe,” 1.149-158, in Shelton, p. 428; Seneca the Younger, “An Essay about Providence,” 5.4,6, in Shelton, p. 433; and Shelton’s own comments in Shelton, p. 426.

[75] Minucius Felix, “Octavius,” 8.3-12.6, in Lewis & Reinhold, vol. 2, pp. 553-555.

[76] Hyde, p. 177.  “By Decius’ [246-251] time the Church contained nobles, the wealthy and educated classes.”

[77] Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis:  Books One to Three, translated by John Ferguson, (Washington, D.C.:  Catholic University of America Press, 1991), 1.28.3, p. 42.

[78] Lucretius, “About the Nature of the Universe,” 2.1002-1004, 72-79, 575-580, in Shelton, p. 430.

[79] Lucretius, “About the Nature of the Universe,” 1.107-115, 127-135, 146-148, in Shelton, pp. 427-428; and Shelton’s own comments in Shelton, pp. 427, 428.

[80] Seneca the Younger, “Letters,” 124.7, 14, in Shelton, p. 432; Seneca the Younger, “An Essay about Providence,” 5.4,6, in Shelton, p. 433; Seneca the Younger, “An Essay about Anger,” 1.7.2,3, in Shelton, pp. 433-434; Seneca the Younger, “Letters,” 65.21,22, in Shelton, p. 435; and Shelton’s own comments in Shelton, p. 432.

[81] John 1:1-5, 14.

[82] Philo was a Hellenistic Greek Jew from Alexandria who synthesized the Greek Logos concept with the  Word of God of Judaism.

[83] Athanasius, “De Incarnatione,” 3, in The Early Christian Fathers, edited by Henry Bettenson, (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1956), pp. 274-275.

[84] Athanasius, “De Incarnatione,” 4-6, in Bettenson, The Early Christian Fathers, pp. 275-276.

[85] Athanasius, “De Incarnatione,” 8-9, in Bettenson, The Early Christian Fathers, pp. 291-292.

[86] Justin Martyr, “Apologia 2,” 13, in Bettenson, The Early Christian Fathers, pp. 63-64.

[87] Alvin Plantinga, “The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology,” in Brody, 74-86, p. 81.

[88] Alvin Plantinga, “The Argument Restated and Vindicated,” in Brody,117-120, p. 120.

[89] Matt 5:17.

[90] cf. Matt 15:1-9 where Jesus shows how the tradition of the elders transgresses the spirit of the Mosaic Law.

[91] Matt 5:21-45. cf. Glover, pp. 143-144.

[92] Henri Daniel-Rops, The Church of Apostles and Martyrs, translated by Audrey Butler, (London:  J. M. Dent & Sons, 1960),  pp. 126-127.

[93] Galen, from  R. Walzer, Galen on Jews and Christians, (Oxford:  Oxford, 1949), p. 15, in footnote 26, Lewis & Reinhold, Vol. 2, p. 556.

[94] W. H. C. Frend, “Edward Gibbon,” p. 668.

[95] Matt 22:37-40.

[96] Romans 12:9-13.

[97] Julian, “Ep. 49, ad Arsacium,” in A Source Book for Ancient Church History, edited by Joseph Cullen Ayer, (New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1952), pp. 332-333.

[98] “Edict of Toleration from Galerius, April 30, 311,” from Lactantius, On the Deaths of the Persecutors, 34, and Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 8.17.6-10, in Lewis & Reinhold, vol. 2, pp. 571-572.

[99] “Edict of Milan, AD 313,” from Lactantius, On the Deaths of the Persecutors, 48, and Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 10.5.2-14, in Lewis & Reinhold, vol. 2, pp. 572-575.

[100] González, Vol. 1, p. 107-108, 117-118.

[101] Eusebius, “Ecclesiastical History,” 10.7, in Lewis & Reinhold, vol. 2, pp. 575-576.

[102] E.D. Hunt, “Constantine and Jerusalem,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 48, no. 3, (July 1997), pp. 405-424, , p. 411.

[103] “Theodosian Code,” 16.1.2, in Lewis & Reinhold, vol. 2, 617-618.

[104] Paulinus of Nola, “Poems,” 19, from P. G. Walsh, The Poems of St. Paulinus of Nola, (New York/Ramsey, N.J.:  [no publishing firm given], 1975), in Lewis & Reinhold, vol. 2, 614-615.

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About James Paulgaard

Living in the in between, becoming, but not quite there yet, old and new mixed together, hanging on with all my might to the One who is holding onto me.
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5 Responses to The Expansion of Christianity in the Roman Empire

  1. Takawira karima says:

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  2. malaki says:

    This is all perfect to read for Christians.

  3. wendy lerma says:

    i was trying to find an article with a simple answer but then i saw the scroll bar…

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