2. Rome Sets the Scene
This is the second post in a series of notes taken from Dairmaid MacCulloch’s epic book ‘A History of Christianity’. Please refer to the first post in this series for a justification of why these notes exist and their purpose (found here)
Post 2: Rome sets the scene.
The idea of ‘Roman inclusiveness’ – that anyone could become a citizen, even former slaves, and that whole new groups and cultures could be assimilated quickly into the body politic – also becomes a mainstay of Christian thought about expansion and inclusiveness.
The ‘peace’ that the first Emperor Augustus brought to the Mediterranean (for the first time – piracy was quashed and the sea was safe from end to end) allowed the safe passage of the Christian message once it got going.
The Emperors made themselves divine and inserted themselves into the pantheon (selection/array) of Roman Gods to be worshipped. This caused some discontent amount the elites who saw their former colleagues suddenly be elevated the that of God. However, it did open the door to a degree of ‘religious dynamism’ with people willing to accept change to the religious environment in order to ensure stability – something again that Christianity will make use of at a later date.