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By Gillian Clark

Did Christianity remodel the Roman international during which it all started, or did the Roman international form Christianity? This paintings explores present debates and new interpretations of Early Christianity in Roman Society. Adopting an interdisciplinary and thematic strategy, it deals the coed unusual with the Christian culture, a finished advent to its position within the Roman international.

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Converts to Judaism were called ‘proselytes’, a Greek word for a stranger who comes to live in a new place. 11) that Jews might circumcise their own sons, but a Jew who circumcised anyone else, including his slave, was liable to the penalty for inflicting castration. Once again, interpretation of Jewish practice has changed. There is some evidence for converts, but more for ‘godfearers’ who did not formally convert, but whose interest in Judaism was encouraged (J. Lieu 2002: 31–68). Jewish practice varied, both in seeking conversion rather than encouraging interest, and in requiring converts to observe Jewish law, including male circumcision (Cohen 1993, Goodman 1994).

Converts to Judaism were called ‘proselytes’, a Greek word for a stranger who comes to live in a new place. 11) that Jews might circumcise their own sons, but a Jew who circumcised anyone else, including his slave, was liable to the penalty for inflicting castration. Once again, interpretation of Jewish practice has changed. There is some evidence for converts, but more for ‘godfearers’ who did not formally convert, but whose interest in Judaism was encouraged (J. Lieu 2002: 31–68). Jewish practice varied, both in seeking conversion rather than encouraging interest, and in requiring converts to observe Jewish law, including male circumcision (Cohen 1993, Goodman 1994).

According to Irenaeus, who cited some of their texts, Gnostics claimed that they had special knowledge (Greek gn¯osis) revealed only to a spiritual elite. Other Christians accused them of extreme sexual licence (ch. 1): this is one possible consequence of contempt for the body, for why should sexual licence matter if the body does not? They were also said to be female-dominated (see above). But when some of the texts were rediscovered, at Nag Hammadi in Egypt, it became much easier to understand how intelligent people might have believed what Irenaeus presented as dangerous nonsense.

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