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Jul 03, 2007


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Sam Carr

Jesus specific teachings were completely shocking in their settings. In each case there is visible dismay from His disciples at the practical implications of Jesus' teachings on the nature of life in the kingom of God.

Peter Kirk
remaining single for special service ... was directly against Augustan legislation.
Indeed. But the legislation was introduced not because singleness was rare, but because it had become common enough to be a threat to the nation, as I wrote in 1988. Tacitus reported that these laws were not effective:
people were not driven thereby to marriage and the rearing of children in any great numbers, so powerful were the attractions of the childless state
So we can conclude that in the time of Jesus and the apostles, at least among Gentiles, singleness was common and socially acceptable.
Michael W. Kruse

Good points Peter. This goes back to some things I wrote earlier in this series. The rise of the Empire was in many ways a conservative movement to recapture historical values and morals. Slaves were being freed at an "alarming" pace. Women were experiencing more freedom. The worship of the Gods was under threat.

Tacitus was writing several decades after Christ. The interesting question is whether or not things were truly as bad as he described, or was he just being a cranky conservative. *grin* Some of this stuff is hard to evaluate. But the fact that Jesus and Paul gave specific legitmation to singleness made the Christian ethos a threat to the cultural standards of members of the Roman establishment like Tacitus.

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