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Religious Freedom and Early Christianity

April 12, 2019

I’m pleased to point to the publication of my essay in which I argue that pre-Constantinian Christianity provides an early impetus and argument for freedom of religion.  It appears in the online magazine, Marginalia here.  The editors chose the title, which uses the word “race.”  I, however, refer to “ethnicity” in the article, and contend that there are strong theological and traditional reasons that Christians should support a society in which there is uncoerced “space” to choose one’s religion, or to choose none.

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One Comment
  1. Professor Hurtado,

    Thank you. I enjoyed your article in Marginalia, as I much enjoyed you book, ‘Destroyer of the gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World’. It is astonishing to modern eyes that Christians in the earliest centuries of the faith endured what they did. Your article makes a vital point about plurality when we see what sometimes seems like a global reaction in many parts of the modern world (including not just those associated with authoritarian regimes but also those associated with democracy), against the idea of plurality and tolerance. As perhaps under the Roman Empire, the suspicion, scapegoating and persecution of minorities is seen as an easy option for those seeking to maintain a grip on power for their own benefit to the detriment not only of minorities but also of the majority.

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