How did Christianity adjust to pagan beliefs? What was the Christian respone to pre-Christian Culture?






These questions refer to early Christianity just after and just before the year 0


  1. 1) Christian churches built in pagan houses of worship (St. John the Divine was a temple to Saturn or Jupiter, for example)
    2) Acceptance of pagan holidays (Christmas & Halloween are two examples that come to mind)
    3) Christian belief in an immortal soul is based almost wholly on Greek philosophy. Early Christians also adopted Aritstotle’s teachings about science.

  2. There were different approaches to the way the believers of older religions and practitioners of older cults should be treated among the first followers of Christ. One tendency spoke of a proselytizing of only the Jews another of addressing all nations. The latter opinion (Paulinism) prevailed, and thus the Christians, first named thus in Antioch of the 1st century, had to adjust to the political social reality of their times. This was of course the Roman Empire – or the Persian for branches like the Manicheans.
    The process of assimilation of different aspects of other cults is called “syncretism”, it was a common practice in the Roman Empire, and inevitably affected Christian modes too.
    If now one wonders how could such a structure of beliefs remain an entity, then the answer is to be found in the central position of the leading figure in a given religion and/or cult. On the social level, the reality necessary to accommodate was the Emperor. Through the solar cults (mainly Mithras and Sol Invictus), he became the pivotal divinity legitimizing the rest, and subsequently offering legitimizing patterns for the Sun of the Christian Truth: Jesus the Christ.
    But these things do not happen before the 4th century CE, and are inevitably very briefly summarized here.

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