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In this second part of my conversation with Dr. Larry Hurtado about his book Destroyer of the gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World, we discuss the distinctive “bookishness” of early Christianity, their distinctive use of their scriptures, and early Bible translations. We also compare and contrast early Christian moral instruction with what was typical for their pagan contemporaries. Dr. Hurtado explains some interesting differences regarding different groups of people and sexual ethics. Finally, we discuss to what extent some of these distinctives were lost during the development of “Christendom,” and how present-day Christians’ place in contemporary Western societies compares to that of early Christians in the Roman Empire.
Acts 20:7New American Standard Bible (NASB)
7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his [a]message until midnight.
1 Corinthians 16:2New American Standard Bible (NASB)
2 On the first day of every week each one of you is to [a]put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.
In the year 321 A.D., Constantine decreed, "On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed" (Codex Justinianus lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; trans. in Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, p. 380, note 1).