As perceived by the average Roman citizen, the early rites and behavior of Christians laid them open to charges of cannibalism, immorality, and the practice of magic and conspiring and fomenting rebellion aganst the state.
The early church fathers rejected these accusations and portrayed pagans as victims of misinformation or perpetrators of ill will. Benko proposes to give the pagans the benefit of the doubt and analyzes their charges against Christianity under the premise that they may have been right within the context of the times. He has provided a persuasively argued and refreshing—if controversial—perspective on the confrontation of the pagan and early Christian worlds.
I. The Names and Its Implications
II. Portrait of an Early Christian
III. The Charges of Immorality and Cannibalism
IV. The Kiss
V. Magic and Early Christianity
VI. Pagan Criticism of Christian Theology and Ethics