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Who were the first Christians? : dismantling the urban thesis

Author: Thomas A Robinson
Publisher: New York City : Oxford University Press, 2016.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Thomas Robinson argues that popular views of early Christian growth--one concentrated in urban environments--would nearly saturate every urban area of the entire Roman Empire with Christians, leaving no room for Jews or pagans. It is a scenario that simply does not work. But where does the solution lie? Robinson argues that the urban thesis is defective, and the neglected countryside must now be considered in any  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Robinson, Thomas A. (Thomas Arthur), 1951- author.
Who were the first Christians?
New York City : Oxford University Press, 2016
(DLC) 2016010012
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Thomas A Robinson
ISBN: 9780190620578 0190620579 9780190620554 0190620552
OCLC Number: 951754495
Description: 1 online resource.
Contents: Cover; Who Were the First Christians?; Copyright; Dedication; Contents; Preface; 1. Introduction: Must Historians Count?; The Need for Numbers; Counting Romans, Jews, and Christians; Religion as an Aspect of Identity; The Rural Factor; 2. The "Urban" Thesis; The Current Consensus; The Problem with the Urban Thesis; Dissenting Voices; 3. Counting Romans and Christians; The Accepted Numbers; The Population of the Roman Empire; The Problem of the Christian Numbers; The Rural Christianity Factor; 4. Counting the Jewish Population; Jews in the Roman Empire; Jews in the Eastern Empire The Urban Character of Diaspora JudaismA Rural Jewish Diaspora?; A Proposed Solution; 5. Urban and Rural Relationships; General Views; The Problem of Definition; Status; Size; Structure; Arbitrary Boundaries; Rural/​Urban Contacts; Supplying the Cities with Food; Supplying the Cities with Clothing and Manufactured Goods; Supplying the Cities with People; Supplying the Cities with Religion; Soldiers, Slaves, Convicts, and Exiles; Conclusion; 6. Supposed Barriers to Christian Success in the Countryside; The Urban Character of Paul's Mission; The Conservative Nature of the Countryside The Case of Alexander, the "Oracle Monger"Urban and Rural Conservatism; Linguistic Barriers; Evidence for Christian Worship in the Rural Vernacular; Bilingualism; Urban Dislocation and Religious Conversion; Urban Views of Rural Inhabitants; Conclusion; 7. The Pre-​Constantinian Evidence; Finding Evidence; A Great Divide: 250 c.e.; Theories of the Origins of a Rural Christianity; Imperial Crises and the Weakening of Paganism; Persecution; Imperial Toleration; Increasing Social Status of Bishops; Making Romans out of Rurals; Failed Explanations; Evidence for a Rural Church (50 c.e.-​250 c.e.) Early General EvidenceSpecific Statements Regarding the Rural Situation; Asia Minor; Egypt; North Africa; Syria; Other Areas within the Empire; Beyond the Empire; Problems for the Urban Thesis; 8. Dismissing the Evidence of Christianity in the Countryside; Restricting Rural Christianity to the Late Third Century; Treating Rural Christianity as Abnormal; Treating Christianity in Rural Areas as Urban; The Pagan Countryside; The Term "Pagan"; Conclusion; 9. The Country Bishop; The Chorepiscopos; First Mention and Earliest Evidence; Chorepiscopoi and the Early Councils The Spread and the Range of the OfficeDetermining the Origins; 10. Conclusion; The Numbers; The Rural Element; The Rustic Element; Back to the Countryside; Appendix A. The Numbers According to Ramsay MacMullen; Multiple Places of Assembly; Calculating Space; The Complexion of the Membership; The Synagogue: A Test Case; Diaspora Synagogues; Palestinian Synagogues; The Mosque: A Modern Parallel?; Appendix B. The Numbers According to Rodney Stark; Jews in the Roman Empire; The Problem of Rural Christianity; The Mormonism Parallel; Jewish Conversion to Christianity; Conclusion
Responsibility: Thomas A. Robinson.

Abstract:

Thomas Robinson argues that popular views of early Christian growth-one concentrated in urban environments-would nearly saturate every urban area of the entire Roman Empire with Christians, leaving  Read more...

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This is a compelling study that reminds us of the significant shortcomings in our grand portraits of Christian origins...Robinson...revives an important conversation about the sociological character Read more...

 
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