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The Thirteenth Apostle

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Chapter Summary

From its earliest days Christianity, of whatever stripe, was constantly confronted with the need to define itself, first, within the Jewish community in which it arose and, second, with the surrounding Gentile world. The first and most important of all the Christian leaders to address this issue was St. Paul. The participation of Christians in the Roman military had a direct impact on relations between the Christian and pagan communities and the attitudes of the governing authorities during the first three centuries of the imperial era. The Roman attitude towards religious observance was based on a close connection between religion and politics that went back to the earliest days of the Roman state. The military orientation of Diocletian's religious program probably explains why the persecution against the Christians commenced within the army.

Keywords: Christianity; Constantine; Diocletian; Roman military; Roman state; St. Paul



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