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by Archaeology Newsroom

D. Iosif, Early Christian Attitudes to War, Violence and Military Service

«Gorgias Studies in Classical and Late Antiquity»

Despina Iosif, Early Christian Attitudes to War, Violence and Military Service, «Gorgias Studies in Classical and Late Antiquity» 1, Gorgias Press, 2013, 402 p., ISBN: 978-1-61143-486-6

The traditional view is that early Christians, prior to emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, were pacifists who stubbornly refused to enlist in the Roman army and engage in warfare, preferring to die rather than betray their beliefs. However, a plethora of literary and archaeological evidence demonstrates that was not usually the case. The majority of early Christians did not find military service or warfare particularly problematic. Christians integrated with the dominant mores of society and that included military service. It is, in fact, possible that Christianity was particularly attractive to those in military service. This study looks to reposition early Christian ethics and the attitude towards war and to bring new understanding to the relationship between military service and Christianity.