Marcus Aurelius and Christians


Larry Hurtado's Blog

The question of how to take Emperor Marcus and the treatment of Christians under his rule is fascinating:  the Roman Emperor widely regarded subsequently as unexcelled in his urbane learning and sophistication ruled in a time when it appears that Christians were often the object of persecution by officers of the Roman Empire.

This is why I find Marcus Aurelius so interesting.  One of the books I’ve recently waded through is a massive biography of Marcus by Frank McLynn.  I won’t offer a review here, but compare the reviews by Mary Beard here, and by Tom Holland here.  For me, Marcus illustrates well how early Christianity stood out and so was the object of hostility in that period.  This is one of the points I emphasize in my new book:  Destroyer of the gods:  Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World (Baylor University Press, 2016).

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