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x to the First Spanish-language Printing

The six lectures in this volume were originally delivered orally as part of a longer course at the Latin American Pastoral Institute in Quito and the Liturgical Institute in Medellin.1 In their present form they were delivered in Buenos Aires in November 1971. They followed a simple format and were set in a simple framework. That basic framework can be seen in the subtitles which have been added in this volume.

It should be kept in mind that these chapters were originally presented as spoken lectures by one Latin American to other Latin Americans. Traces of this fact are evident in this printed edition. They could not be eliminated entirely without destroying the whole thrust of their delivery. They are words spoken to people, not words typed in the privacy of a comfortable study. They are spoken discourse, not textbook material.

The lectures present and discuss the following theses. Against the broad backdrop of various neolithic cultures, of various Semitic cultures in particular, the apostolic community in Palestine was transformed into a Church that was scattered and persecuted throughout the Mediterranean basin. Marginal elements of it also took root outside the Roman empire. From the fourth century A.D. on, it consti-

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