I have been giving a lot of thought to the implication of my research that most of the early Christians were slaves or people from the Empire whose testimony in court would be necessarily questioned. I am wondering now with respect to the persecution tradition in the Church - could a Christian slave actually swear to anything? What are the implications of 'swearing' according to the genus of Caesar or whatever when you are dealing with a class of people whose testimony was only secured by torture in the first place? In other words, could the persecutions have been brought about merely because the state was making demands upon a class of people who had to be tortured - or who were routinely tortured - as a preliminary to their giving any testimony about anything.
Has scholarship been simply putting the cart before the horse here - i.e. focusing on the tortures as if they were 'caused' by the refusal to swear when in fact any swearing process it required torture for Christians at the very outset because they were almost all slaves to begin with?
Torture was to swearing for Christians like going 'dating' is to get laid for young people today.
Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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