Roman Influence on the Birth of Christianity

Megiddo Excavation

  • In 2005 during the excavation for the expansion of an Israeli prison in Megiddo, a very early Christian church was discovered.
  • Following are excerpts from an article entitled “Foundations of Christianity Unearthed” from the February 2006 issue of Discover magazine:
    Mosaic fish symbols and references to a table donated for “the God Jesus Christ” firmly identify the building, located near Megiddo, Israel, as a place of Christian worship. ...the phrasing and the lettering style of the inscriptions support the idea that the church predates Roman approval. Moreover, the use of a fish motif rather than a cross, which became the dominant Christian symbol under Constantine, also suggests the building is older... The most puzzling aspect of the find is an inscription identifying a Roman military man named Gaianos as the donor who paid for the mosaics.
  • This find clearly supports Roman support in the early Christian movement.
  • Scholars are perplexed that this finding appears to pre-date the traditional positive Roman involvement during Constantine. Prior to Constantine, it is well known that the Romans persecuted Christians in Rome.
  • It is logical to speculate that the positive Roman support un-earthed in Megiddo pre-dates the period of Roman persecution. This would place the excavation during the earliest stages of Christianity.
  • In an interview with MSNBC Stephen Pfann, a biblical scholar and professor at the Holy Land University, states:
    This was a time of persectuion and in this way it is quite surprising that there would be such a blatant expression of Christ in a mosaic.
  • National Geographic states:
    The experts add that it likely predates the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325, when Roman Emperor Constantine I legalized Christianity across the Byzantine Empire.
  • It is interesting to note that even today's most dominant symbol of Christianity (the cross) was a Roman adaptation under Constantine.


Historical Discussion
In Depth

Historical Context

Dating the Gospels

I Was a Sunday-School Spy

The Crucifixion (animation)

Post Appearance of Jesus

Who Did Jesus Curse-Praise

Taxes to Rome

Submissiveness to Oppression

John the Baptist

Admirable and Amazing Works

The Term Gospel

Jewish Judgment

Pilate's Defense (animation)

Roman Soldiers at the Tomb

Migration of Christianity to Rome

Irony of Faith

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