Most historians recognize that in the first two centuries, conflict between churches and their wider civic communities was sporadic. This is also evident in the case of Paul’s churches. Church and civic community conflict was significant at Thessalonica and Philippi, but not at Corinth. Despite the potential offensiveness of Christian beliefs and practices to the average Greco-Roman “pagan,” there has been no scholarly investigation, until now, of why such conflicts were only sporadic. This book develops a specific social-scientific model to explain the differing incidence of such conflict for three of Paul’s churches.
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