Thursday, June 07, 2018

The Roman Empire- An appreciation

So if we're not completely pooped my husband will read a chapter or section of verses from the Bible before praying and passing off to sleep. So Paul has been running around the Roman Empire and makes his way back to Jerusalem. I was impressed with his travels because after the fall of the empire this would have been much harder if not impossible.

A few months ago I was going through a fall of Rome kick. I was greatly enjoying Wondery's Fall of Rome followed by Tides of History, and some Great Courses on the topic. The Roman Empire had a very functional transportation and trade system. This system that connected the southern part of Britain to Egypt and Mesopotamia. More importantly it connected a middle eastern backwater to this whole system. Super duper bonus points if you remember that Paul (the murderer formerly known as Saul) was a Roman Citizen, and he did whip out his citizenry to complain about his treatment at the hands of locals.

If Jesus came before Israel became a client state of Rome how far would his message get? The Egyptian Empire was comparatively small and not as diverse. And what do we remember that Empire for? Wealthy kings and queens and pyramids. Also the Jews may have spent too much time complaining about the Egyptians treatment of them during the time of slavery if they were the client state of Egypt.

If Jesus came after the fall of Rome, probably the same result. Maybe the Gospel would have to compete with Islam . It probably would not go farther than where ever Jewish merchants and other Jews were settled.

So here's to you Pax Romanus! Yes, the oppression was bad. You did kill our savior, but there is plenty of blame to go around for that. You provided the roads and merchant networks that allowed the author of a huge chunk of the New Testament to run around, meet various cultures, tell them of how great Jesus is, because he is, and providing the symbol of death that showed his triumph over it.

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