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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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Supposed Barriers to Christian Success in the Countryside

Supposed Barriers to Christian Success in the Countryside

(p.91) 6 Supposed Barriers to Christian Success in the Countryside
Who Were the First Christians?

Thomas A. Robinson

Oxford University Press

Various matters are put forward as obstacles to a Christian mission in the countryside. These are the focus of this chapter, from the conservative nature of the countryside, to the linguistic barriers, urban disdain for rurals, and, according to Rodney Stark, the need for the dislocation created by cities and confronted by newly arrived immigrants in order for new religious movements to take root. None holds up. Evidence shows that Christians ported their message into a variety of native languages, that bilingualism was common, and that the Christian message could have been appealing to rustics, whether in the city or beyond it. Whether Paul’s supposed practice of focusing on cities should be considered relevant to the possibility of Christian interest in the countryside is also addressed.

Keywords:   rural conservatism, bilingualism, Apostle Paul, urban dislocation, Rodney Stark, linguistic barriers, immigrants, new religious movement

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