William Ramsay’s The Church in the Roman Empire

William M. Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire Before AD 170William M. Ramsay’s book, The Church in the Roman Empire Before AD 170 is now available for free download in PDF. The map facing p.472 of the Lycus Valley in particularly useful and is reproduced at various resolutions.

This work will be of help to anyone studying Roman persecutions of the church before AD 170 and the background of Paul’s letter the Galatians and of the book of Acts.

William M. Ramsay [1851-1939], The Church in the Roman Empire Before AD 170, 8th edn. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1904. Hbk. pp.510. Download in PDF [8.9MB]

Map of the Lycus Valley from William M. Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire Before AD 170

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Table of Contents

Part I. – Earliest Stage: St. Paul In Asia Minor

Chapter I – General

  1. Plan of the Work
  2. The Travel-Document
  3. The Churches of Galatia
  4. Social Condition of Asia Minor, A. D. 50-60

Chapter II – Localities of The First Journey

  1. Pamphylia
  2. Pisidia and Ayo Paulo
  3. Pisidian Antioch
  4. Route From Antioch to Iconium
  5. Iconium
  6. Lystra
  7. Derbe
  8. Character of Lycaonia in the First Century

Chapter Ill – The First Journey as a Narrative of Travel

Chapter IV – The Second Journey

Chapter V – The Third Journey

Chapter VI – The Epistle To The Galatians

  1. Arguments Founded on the Epistle
  2. St. Paul’s Feelings Towards the Galatian Churches
  3. Arguments for the North-Gaiatian Theory
  4. Analogy of I Peter
  5. Change in the Meaning of the Name Galatia

Chapter VII – St. Paul at Ephesus

  1. Demetrius the Neopoios
  2. Acts XIX.23-41
  3. Demetrius the Neopoios and Demetrius the Silversmith
  4. Action of the Priests of Artemis
  5. Shrines of Artemis
  6. Attitude of the Ephesian Officials Towards Paul
  7. Fate of the Silver Shrines
  8. Great Artemis
  9. Text of Acts XIX.23-41
  10. Historical Character of the Narrative Acts XIX.23-41

Chapter VIII – The Original Authority for St. Paul’s Journeys: Value and Text

  1. Rapid Spread of Christianity in Asia Minor
  2. Distinction of Authorship
  3. Text of Codex. Bezae: Asia Minor
  4. Text of Codex Bezae: Europe
  5. Codex Bezae Founded on a Catholic Recension
  6. Postscript: Spitta’s Apostelgeschichte

Part II – A.D. 64-170 – Being Lectures At Mansfield College, Oxford, May & June, 1892

Chapter IX – Subject and Method

  1. Aspect of History Here Treated
  2. Connexion Between Church History and the Life of the Period
  3. The Authorities: Date
  4. The Authorities: Trustworthiness
  5. Results of Separating Church History from Imperial History
  6. The Point of View

Chapter X – Pliny’s Report and Trajan’s Rescript

  1. Preliminary Considerations
  2. The Religious Question in Bithynia-Pontus
  3. First and Second Stage of the Trials
  4. Pliny’s Attitude Towards the Christians
  5. The Case was Administrative, Not Legal
  6. Pliny’s Questions and Trajan’s Reply
  7. The Christians Were Not Punished as a Sodalitas
  8. Procedure
  9. Additional Details
  10. Recapitulation
  11. Topography

Chapter XI – The Action of Nero Towards the Christians

  1. Tacitus Annals XV.44
  2. The Evidence of Suetonius
  3. First Stage in Nero’s Action
  4. Second Stage: Charge of hostility to Society
  5. Crime Which the Christians Confessed
  6. Character, Duration, and Extent of the Neronian Persecution
  7. Principle of Nero’s Action
  8. Evidence of Christian Documents

Chapter XII – The Flavian Policy Towards the Church

  1. Tacitus’ Conception of The Flavian Policy
  2. Confirmation of Nero’s Policy by Vespasian
  3. The Persecution of Domitian
  4. Bias of Dion Cassius
  5. Difference of Policy Towards Jews and Christians
  6. The Executions of A.D. 95 An Incident of the General Policy
  7. The Evidence of Suetonius About the Executions Of A.D. 95-271
  8. The Flavian Action Was Political in Character

Chapter XIII – Christian Authorities for the Flavian Period

  1. The First Epistle of Peter
  2. Later Date Assigned to I Peter
  3. Official Action Implied in I Peter
  4. The Evidence of the Apocalypse
  5. The First Epistle of John
  6. Hebrews and Barnabas
  7. The Epistle of Clement
  8. The Letters of Ignatius

Chapter XIV – The Policy of Hadrian, Pius, and Marcus

  1. Hadrian
  2. Pius
  3. Marcus Aurelius
  4. The Apologists

Chapter XV – Cause and Extent of Persecution

  1. Popular Hatred of the Christians
  2. Real Cause of State Persecution
  3. Organisation of the Church

Chapter XVI – The Acta of Paul and Thekla

  1. The Acta in Their Extant Form
  2. Queen Tryphaena
  3. Localities·of the Tale of Thekla
  4. The Trials at Iconium
  5. The Trial of Thekla at Antioch
  6. Punishment and Escape of Thekla
  7. The Original Tale of Thekla
  8. Revision of the Tale of Thekla, A. D. 130-50
  9. The Iconian Legend of Thekla

Chapter XVII – The Church From I20 To 170 A.D.

Chapter XVIII – Glycerius the Deacon

Chapter XIX – The Miracle at Khonai

Addenda to the Fourth Edition

Index

Alfred Plummer’s Church of the Early Fathers

I recent conducted a poll on the Facebook Group Theology on the Web asking members to vote to the most useful book on church history from a list of possible titles I had available to scan. The winner was a work by Alfred Plummer (1841-1926), which was regarded as one of that author’s most important books. The full text is now available on-line and is in the Public Domain.

Alfred Plummer, The Church of the Early Fathers, 6th edn. London: Longman, Green & Co., 1892. Hbk. pp.210.

 Preface

The Christian Church has three ideals set before it in Scripture- to be Universal, to be Holy, and to be One. It is to ‘ make disciples of all the nations.’ It is to be ‘ without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. ‘It is to ‘ become one flock ‘ with a union between its members admitting of no lower standard than the Unity of the Divine Persons in the Godhead. The external history of the Church is the history of the attempt to realise the first of these three ideals; its internal history tells of the attempt to realise the second and third. The three taken together sum up what is meant by ecclesiastical history – the history of the spread of Christianity and of the development of Christian life and Christian doctrine. Thus a convenient division of the subject is at once suggested. Only the first of these three points is treated in this handbook the progress of the Church in the attempt to become universal, including all that impeded that progress, especially literary attack and civil persecution. The worship and discipline of the Church and the development of its doctrine, though often touched upon, are reserved for treatment in a separate volume.

The present sketch is limited to the Ante-Nicene period, and indeed to only a portion of that. Neither the Apostolic Age nor the history of Arianism falls within its scope. Its limits are, roughly speaking, the second and third centuries, or, more exactly, the period from the death of St. John, about A.D. 100, to the Edict of Toleration published at Milan by Constantine and Licinius A.D. 312 or 313.

It is obvious that in a volume of this size nothing more than a sketch can be attempted; but help will be offered to the student who desires to have fuller information and to examine original sources for himself. A list is given of some of the best and most easily accessible authorities, especially in the English language, together with the chief ancient witnesses from whom the information given by modern writers is ultimately derived. Perhaps in no branch of history is it more important to study original authorities than in the history of Christianity during the second and third centuries. Neither in number nor in bulk are these sources so formidable as in the later periods of Church history; so that the ordinary student may hope to do a good deal in the attempt to make himself acquainted with primary materials. Moreover, nearly all these early writings have been translated; so that even those who are unable to read Latin or Greek are never the less able to obtain fairly accurate knowledge of what these early writers in their own words tell us. This handbook will have failed in one of its objects if it does not lead some of those who use it to check its statements by a comparison with standard works, and above all by an appeal to the original authorities.

As references are almost entirely forbidden by the plan of this series, the compiler of this volume is unable to express in detail his obligations to other writers. They are very numerous to a large number of the works mentioned below, especially to those of Bishop Lightfoot and Dr. Schaff, and to the ‘ Dictionary of Christian Biography ‘ edited by Smith and W ace. An asterisk is prefixed to the name of modern writers whose writings are of special importance.

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