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Who Were the First Christians?Dismantling the Urban Thesis$
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Thomas A. Robinson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190620547

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190620547.001.0001

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Urban and Rural Relationships

Urban and Rural Relationships

(p.65) 5 Urban and Rural Relationships
Who Were the First Christians?

Thomas A. Robinson

Oxford University Press

It has been widely assumed that a stark dichotomy separated the rural and urban domains in the Roman Empire. Recent scholarship tends to challenge that portrait, calling attention to how the two worlds flowed together. Further, the question of what constituted an urban area is not easily answered, for neither size, structure, nor status provides clear indicators of what is counted by scholars as urban and what is rural. As well, the rural areas not only supplied cities with the basic necessities of life (food and clothing), but often with people too, as rural residents moved to cities for opportunities there or resided in cities and walked to their nearby plots each day. The Christian movement, then, would have had contact with rustics and rurals within the urban environment and would have had, as well, routine links to the countryside.

Keywords:   urbanization, rural, urban, rustics, countryside, Roman Empire

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