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Incredible book. Originally published in 1906. Especially interesting were the political and sociological factors leading to persecution. I suspect that our right to free assembly is somewhat of a response to Roman legal opposition to any small social/religious/labor societies.
"A Christianity which had ceased to be aggressive would speedily have ceased to exist. Christ came not to send peace on earth but a sword; against the restless and resistless force of the new religion the gates of hell should not prevail. But polytheism could not be dethroned without a struggle; nor mankind regenerated without a baptism of blood. Persecution, in fact, is the other side of aggression, the inevitable outcome of a truly missionary spirit; the two are linked together as action and reaction." Herbert Workman, Persecution in the Early Church, p. 39. RVC Blog 11/4/14.
"But Julius Caesar, on political grounds, suppressed all sodalities except those of ancient origin, while Augustus placed all religious societies under the strictest control." p. 51.
"Christ could not be one among many; His claims rested upon higher grounds than senatorial allowance." p. 58
"Nor must we forget that the toleration of Rome, such as it was, was nearer akin to contempt and indifference. Now, the toleration which springs from contempt is often intensely intolerant of one thing, namely, of enthusiasm, using the word in a sense better understood and disliked in the eighteenth century than today." p. 59.Read more ›
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