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EARLIEST CHRISTIANITY IN COUNTERFACTUAL FOCUS

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image of Biblical Interpretation

Granted that the historical Jesus existed and was confessed as Christ and Lord, what might have changed earliest Christianity utterly or even stopped it completely? I propose four events which would have altered Christianity beyond at least my capacity to imagine. What if all of earliest Christianity had stayed among the small hamlets of rural Galilee rather than some of it moving immediately to great cities like Jerusalem, Damascus, and Antioch? What if earliest Christianity had not accepted pagans alongside Jews within the new eschatological community of God? What if three revolts within seventy years, inside and outside the Jewish homeland, had not brought down upon it the destructive vengeance of the Roman empire? What if that same empire had not adopted a "don't ask, don't tell" attitude towards earliest Christianity but made it immediately a forbidden superstition?

Affiliations: 1: DePaul University (Emeritus)

10.1163/156851500750119169
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2000-01-01
2016-12-08

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