Essay on Christian Persecution ..
Jewish opposition appears plainly in thenarrative of the Acts, and Jewish antagonism seems to have been theprincipal cause of many, but not all, the earlier persecutions of theChurch. The first actual persecution of Christians as a community tookplace in Rome under Nero, certainly instigated by Jews who werepowerful at court. After this there were outbreaks of popularantagonism in many parts, especially in Asia Minor where Christianswere numerous, and in some of these outbreaks Jewish influence seems tohave been active. Under Trajan some attempt was made to regularize thepolicy to be followed in dealing with the Christians. When Pliny wasgovernor of Bithynia he found many Christians there and a good manydisturbances took place for which they were blamed. Pliny had hadexperience of legal administration in Rome, but apparently had had nocontact with cases connected with Christians, as such cases came beforethe Praefectus Urbis or his deputy. He sought the Emperor's guidance,and Trajan replied in letters which gave a precedent for dealing withpersons charged with practising this unauthorized religion. It wasdecided that Christianity was a crime deserving of death, but it wasnot permitted to make search for Christians and informers against themincurred penalties. At a later period Domitius Ultianus compiled atreatise, of which the seventh bookgave a summary of anti-Christian legislation. This work would havegiven us a complete view of the attitude of Roman law towards theChristians, but unfortunittely only a few extracts survive, the mostimportant is Lactantius' indignant criticism (Lactantius, v,11, 12). The subject remains obscure, which is to be regretted asundoubtedly persecution, or at least liability to persecution, was astrong motive causing Christians to go outside the Roman Empire, and soone of the chief causes of the spread of Christianity.
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Christians and Persecution Essay - 1146 Words | Bartleby
Christians were first, and horribly, targeted for persecution as a group by the emperor Nero in 64 AD. A colossal fire broke out at Rome, and destroyed much of the city. Rumours abounded that Nero himself was responsible. He certainly took advantage of the resulting devastation of the city, building a lavish private palace on part of the site of the fire.
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The persecution of Christians is the historical equivalent of a false memory, she argues. Early Christians were persecuted by Rome only sporadically, less for religious heterodoxy than for political insubordination in an empire that was draconian across the board. Early Christian writers Irenaeus, Justin Martyr and Tertullian chronicled such incidents as proof of the faith’s righteousness, laying a scriptural basis for a self-image of eternal persecution.
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