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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
VII. THE LATER EMPIRE: CHRISTIANITY IN THE ROMAN WORLD, 180-395 A.D.
» Contents of this ChapterPage 13
RISE AND SPREAD OF CHRISTIANITY
CHRISTIANITY AMONG THE JEWS
Christianity rose among the Jews, for Jesus was a Jew and his disciples were Jews. At the time of the death of Jesus  his immediate followers numbered scarcely a Christianity hundred persons. The catastrophe of the crucifixion struck them with sorrow and dismay. When, however, the disciples came to believe in the resurrection of their master, a wonderful impetus was given to the growth of the new religion. They now asserted that Jesus was the true Messiah, or Christ, who by rising from the dead had sealed the truth of his teachings. For several years after the crucifixion, the disciples remained at Jerusalem, preaching and making converts. The new doctrines met so much opposition on the part of Jewish leaders in the capital city that the followers of Jesus withdrew to Samaria, Damascus, and Antioch. In all these places there were large Jewish communities, among whom Peter and his fellow apostles labored zealously.
 The exact date of the crucifixion is unknown. It took place during the reign of Tiberius, when Pontius Pilatus was procurator of Judea.
MISSIONARY LABORS OF PAUL
Up to this time the new faith had been spread only among the Jews. The first Christians did not neglect to keep up all the customs of the Jewish religion. It was even doubted for a while whether any but Jews could properly be allowed within the Christian fold. A new convert, Saul of Tarsus, afterwards the Apostle Paul, did most to admit the Gentiles, or pagans, to the privileges of the new religion. Though born a Jew, Paul had been trained in the schools of Tarsus, a city of Asia Minor which was a great center of Greek learning. He possessed a knowledge of Greek philosophy, and particularly of Stoicism. This broad education helped to make him an acceptable missionary to Greek-speaking peoples. During more than thirty years of unceasing activity Paul established churches in Asia Minor, Greece, Macedonia, and Italy. To many of these churches he wrote the letters (epistles), which have found a place in the New Testament. So large a part of the doctrines of Christianity has been derived from Paul's writings that we may well speak of him as the second founder of the Christian faith.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy