Christian Society

Adam H. Becker

in The Oxford Handbook of Social Relations in the Roman World

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780195188004
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Christian Society

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  • Classical Studies
  • Religion in the Ancient World
  • Ancient Roman History


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This article focuses on the Christian society in the early Roman Empire. It shows how the Christians and Christian community were simultaneously added into and alienated from the broader society of the early Roman Empire. It then looks at Jesus' role in the development of the ecclesia as a social movement and discusses the Pauline House-Church. It studies the different Christian communal practices and offices, the new models for a new Christian community, and the concept of a Christian family. The article briefly discusses the persecution of the Christians and the conversion of Emperor Constantine to Christianity. The self-definition of Christians, the relations between Jews and Christians, and Christian apologetics are also discussed.

Keywords: Christian society; Jesus; ecclesia; social movement; Pauline House-Church; communal practices; persecution; Emperor Constantine; apologetics; self-definition

Article.  9063 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Religion in the Ancient World ; Ancient Roman History

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