Minor in the early fourth century. For him, common suffering at the hands of demonically incited state authorities (in this case, the edicts under Diocletian and Maximinus Daia in 303-11 ce)19 unifies the church of his day throughout the world, and cements their claim to be the successors of the earliest Christians whose fate they share. He tells of more than forty deaths of Palestinian Christians, including Silvanus, bishop of the churches around Gaza, and his mentor, Pamphilus, presbyter of Caesarea (HE 8.13.5-6). His home, Caesarea Maritima, the major Palestinian coastal city that had been for more than a century a renowned centre of Christian and Jewish life and learning, had Christian roots stretching back to the earliest days (Paul's two-year imprisonment there is told in Acts 23-6; Peter's conversion of the Roman centurion, Cornelius, in Acts 10). This splendid Hellenised coastal city, built up by Herod the Great in honour of his Roman overlords, was home to both Christians and Jews for the entire period of this volume, in which their exegetical work was mutually influenced (as invective evidences).20 An immensely important event in its history was Origen's move to Caesarea c.231 from Alexandria, and his establishment there of a Christian academy, library and centre for textual production.21
The destruction and isolation of Jerusalem after the two revolts meant that the traditional relationship between diaspora and centre was in some sense pulled inside out, until the formation of the Christian 'Holy Land' traditions in the fourth century reversed the direction once again.22 In the meantime, as the Epistle to Diognetus has it, Christians were spread throughout the empire, but, in distinction from Jews, were distinguished by neither land, language nor customs, neither special towns nor select dialect or lifestyle, living in cities both 'Gentile' and 'barbarian', in each case following local customs in dress and diet and lifestyle (Ep. Diognet. 5.1-5). For this anonymous author, such accession to local custom that created Christian cultural invisibility is cause for wonderment, expressed in theological paradoxes that go back to the Pauline and Johannine writings: that Christians are in the world but not of it, for they have their own commonwealth. Their sojourn is not defined by distance from Jerusalem, but from heaven: 'every alien homeland is theirs and every homeland alien' (5.5). He stresses the division between Christians
20 See Hirshman, A Rivalry of Genius.
21 See ch. 19 and pt v, ch. 27, below. A continuous line extends for almost a century from Origen to Pamphilus to Eusebius in the stewardship of the library and academy at Caesarea.
22 Wilken, The land called holy; Taylor, Christians and the holy places; Walker, Holy city, holy places; see Prelude, above.
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