Jul 17, 2022
In the second century, there were three groups of Jewish-leaning
Jesus clubs: the Johhanines, the Nazoreans, and the Ebionities.
These had either vanished or been absorbed into gentile Christanity
by the year 200.
While that was happening, the Christian movement came to the attention of the imperial authorities. Writing in 110, governor Pliny only knew they seemed to be vaguely seditious, and had depraved practices, such as meeting before dawn. Forty years later, Christians had gained an appalling reputation. They refused to participate in any of the state rituals that bonded the emperor, the people, and the state to the gods. They were unpatriotic. Even worse, they were wicked sexual deviants with barbaric rituals. The Romans viewed them as witches.
I finish the episode by introducing the earliest Christian apologies, books written to defend the faith from the calumnies made against it.