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Christian Biblical Studies

 

 

Hayes And Moon On The Roman Empire

 

Hayes and Moon, Modern History (New York: The Macmillan Company; 1944), p. 25. Extract reproduced with original spellings.

 

‘The influence of Christianity upon social conditions was powerful and far-reaching. One of the changes brought about by Christianity was the adoption of a new attitude toward women. Pagan peoples, even the highly civilized Greeks and Romans, seem to have had little respect for women or for moral purity. To an Athenian, a wife was not a companion, to be loved and idealized. Of the Romans, the same was true. But Christianity placed woman on a higher plane, made marriage sacred, and insisted upon purity of life.

 

‘Another great change concerned the working people. Hitherto, those who toiled with their hands had been looked down upon as inferiors. A large proportion of the working class consisted of slaves. The Christians, however, believed that rich and poor were equal in the sight of God; all had immortal souls; and the poor man might be a better Christian than the rich man. Jesus had worked as a carpenter. The Christian doctrine of human equality was one of the great factors in destroying the institution of slavery, which had been the basis of Greek and Roman economic life, and in promoting a more democratic spirit. Furthermore, by teaching that work was not a disgrace, but a wholesome and honorable way of earning a livelihood, Christianity did much to establish the dignity of labor. Many of the Christian monks set an example by engaging in manual toil. It was a lesson that was much needed, for the poorer people of Rome had been learning to demand free bread from the government and to live in idleness.’

 

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