Forming part of a trilogy about the first generation Roman Christians,
this aricle concentrates on the ecclesiastical aspect. From some scattered
and relatively small groups, the numbers of Roman Christians
increased markedly in the second half of the first century. According to
Romans 16, Jewish Christians played a significant role in the initial
period, although Gentile Christians were in the majority. Friction
between these groups may have been a problem, but was not Paul's main
concern. The Gentile Christians were mainly from a foreign background.
Thus the first Christian community had a strongly cosmopolitan
character. The plurality of house-churches was mainly due to practical
factors, but social differentiation might have played a role. Meetings
most probably took place in the ordinary rented apartments of insulae.
Romans 16 renders a vivid picture of the leadership activities of
Christian women and of Paul's enlightened position in this regard.
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