Paganism and Christianity in Egypt

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General Books LLC, 2009 - History - 120 pages
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This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1913. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... chapter iii the beginnings of christianity: literary evidence When and how Christianity was first introduced into Egypt is quite unknown. The tradition which makes Saint Mark the first preacher of the gospel in Alexandria is probably of the third century and has no historical foundation, although it was widely received after the first ages of the Church and continues to this day. Eusebius mentions it in his Ecclesiastical History but only as a traditional report1, while the Alexandrian list of bishops from Mark downwards is quite an artificial production from which little or nothing can be learnt2. Nevertheless, about 180 A.D., when the Church in Alexandria first appears in the daylight of history, it is a flourishing institution with an organization and school of higher learning attached which must have already made its influence felt far beyond the city itself. Eusebius tells us that "thousands...were martyred from Egypt and all the Theba'is" during the persecution of Septimius Severus in 202 s A.D., and Clement writing at about the same 1 H. E. n. 16. 2 Harnack, Chronologie, I. pp. 124 and 202 S. 8 H. E. vi. 1, 2 and 3. date tells us that Christianity had spread to "every nation, village and town1." Allowing for exaggeration on the part of Eusebius we see accordingly that while the pagan religious systems were undergoing the modification and decay described in the last two chapters Christianity had been making great strides. But the literary evidence is extremely scanty as to this period, while the archaeological is scattered and uncertain. One thing however is certain, viz., that all our evidence must be examined in the light of what has already been said about the changing and decaying religions which formed the environment of the new faith. If this be don...

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