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Christian Persecution, Martyrdom, and Orthodoxy$
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Geoffrey de Ste. Croix, Michael Whitby, and Joseph Streeter

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199278121

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278121.001.0001

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Early Christian Attitudes to Property and Slavery * 1

Early Christian Attitudes to Property and Slavery * 1

(p.328) 7 Early Christian Attitudes to Property and Slavery* 1
Christian Persecution, Martyrdom, and Orthodoxy

G. E. M. De Ste. Croix

Oxford University Press

This chapter reprints a 1975 contribution to Studies in Church History, which had also appeared with minimal changes in Ste. Croix's Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World. Ste. Croix sets the early Church in the context of the dominant Greek culture of the eastern Mediterranean, with particular reference to the cities which constituted the dominant form of social organization. Although Jesus came from rural Galilee and never seemed to have visited a proper Greek city, the strongest groups among the early Christians emerged in the Greek cities of the eastern Roman Empire so that the early Church had to reach an accommodation with current attitudes to property, and especially the difficult question of human property. Ste. Croix analyses how almost all early Christian writers managed to find Biblical support for the maintenance of slavery while arguing away the apparently radical messages of the Gospels.

Keywords:   early Christians, early Church, cities, Jesus

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