V. Greek Influence on the Burgeoning Church


It is undeniable that Greek culture had a very large influence on early Christianity; it is most obvious from the language. Taking a quick glance at the original text of the New Testament will show that it was – including its most important books, the Synoptic Gospels – written in Greek. (Court 17) "The sophistication and philosophical associations of the Greek language made it particularly suitable for articulating ideas, so that the basis of doctrinal formulation is Greek" (364).

The Greek language was not just used for writing the gospels; many of the Apostles actually dropped their Hebrew names and acquired a Greek ones. Simon changed his name to Peter, Saul to Paul, and so forth. This last may have been "symbolic of Paul's shift away from the Mosaic Law and towards what we might call the Gentilization of Christianity" (Asimov 1040). To get through to these people that the early Christians were trying to convert from Greek Religion, it was necessary to speak to them in their own language: Paul and Peter always preached in Greek, and it was used in prayers all the way up until AD 200. "Even in Rome or as far away as Gaul, Greek was used because the first Christians in these places were traders from the Greek world. . ." (Chadwick 33). Christianity was no longer a religion for just converted Jews. It was acquiring many gentile members, and therefore many gentile characteristics, as well.

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