s/t: The Thrust of the Christian Movement into the Roman World Beginning with the death of Augustus, the 1st Roman emperor, in AD 14, & ending with the death of the 1st Christian emperor, Constantine, in 337, this study of early Christianity brings to life the religious, political & cultural developments thru which a Jewish sect became the religion of the Roman emperor.
Grant aims to examine the growth of the Chriatian movement in the wider context of the Graeco-Roman world of the Empire. In doing so, he attempts to assess how much the direction of its development was shaped internally by its beliefs & practices & how much its development was shaped by its social & cultural context in which it existed.
The work ranges over the history of the 1st three centuries of Christianity, not only where it interacted directly with the state, but also with reference to the changes in its own internal life, such as theological disputes & divisions in the Christian community. Hes concerned not to overemphasise the significance of the persecutions. Such periodic confrontations with the authorities were no more than isolated outbursts against the background of the more patient & lasting process of Christian accommodation with the Empire.
Indeed much of the hostility to Christianity took place at a local level when long held religious practices brought Christians & pagans into conflict at a local level. It was in these circumstances of civil disorder that the authorities tended to act against the Christians in order to restore civil peace.