Click here to get the answers to the most commonly asked RBL questions.

Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Contra Christianos: La critique sociale et religieuse du christianisme des origines au concile de Nicée (45-325)
Levieils, Xavier

Berlin: de Gruyter, 2007 pp. xiii + 548. $205.00

Series Information
Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche, 146

Description: The persecution of the Church ordered by the Roman State, whether it was by local magistrates or on imperial command, was the most visible manifestation of the hostility directed against Christians during the first three centuries of our era. In reality however, this persecution, more virulent in some of its episodes than in others, was merely the crystallisation of the rejection of Christianity already expressed by the population at large. Christianity, spreading rapidly beyond its original Jewish context, was perceived by Graeco-Roman society through the deforming lens of ideas and values entirely foreign to it. For this reason, Christians became the victims of religious and social categorisations which forced them into the margins of society. Christianity's assimilation with superstition (Jewish origins, irrational doctrine, recruitment from the masses, doubtful practices [magic, anthropophagy, ritual murder, sexual debauchery, Christ-worship, cross-worship, sun-worship, ass-worship]) and the accusations against it of atheism (a reaction against its exclusive monotheism) and of ‘hatred of mankind’ (non-adherence to the common values [civil, familial or political]) reveal that public opinion played a crucial role preceding the measures taken against Christians, and that the anti-Christian hostility was a reactionary movement against a group that threatened the basic structures of the City.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Early Church Origins

Login to Read the Review(s)

You must be a member of SBL to read the review(s). In May 2019, SBL improved security of its main site with a new login procedure that requires an email address and a password, instead of an SBL member number. RBL’s login procedure is now synched to SBL’s. Please use your email address and SBL password to log in to RBL. Your use of this site indicates your acceptance of RBL’s Terms of Use.

Email Address
SBL Password
 Forgot Your Password
 Join SBL or Renew Membership

Review by Stephan Witetschek
Published 11/7/2009
Citation: Stephan Witetschek, review of Xavier Levieils, Contra Christianos: La critique sociale et religieuse du christianisme des origines au concile de Nicée (45-325), Review of Biblical Literature [] (2009).

Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.


Privacy PolicyTerms of UseContact Us