As was the case for Asia and Macedonia, the descendants of Paul's first Corinthian Christians were to be the recipients of a letter from another ekklesia (Rome), calling upon it, in the epistolary medium Paul had made so popular among Christians, to heed the voice of the now-dead apostle (1 Clem. 5.7) and cease from the fresh contentions that have arisen among them. Once again we can see how remarkably quickly the Pauline mission had created a sense of its own history as the sure foundation for its future:
Take up the letter of the blessed apostle Paul. What first did he write to you in the beginning of the gospel.. . because even then you had made divisions for yourself. ...Itis shameful, beloved, both terribly shameful and unworthy ofconduct in Christ for it to be heard that the most firmly rooted and ancient assembly of the Corinthians is factionalised. (1 Clem. 47.1-7)
Rome, Italy and west
From Corinth Paul wrote ahead to Christians at Rome, the capital of the imperium Romanum, to set the stage for further missionary work (Rom 15:23; cf. 1:13). His famous letter to 'all the beloved of God who are in Rome, called saints' demonstrates that Christianity had arrived in Rome before Paul.70 Paul regards these believers as 'among the Gentiles' (Rom 1:5-7,13), and therefore within his missionary responsibility.71 Despite his acknowledgement that he had never been there (Rom 1:10-13; cf. 28:20-1), at least some of the house churches in Rome were apparently (assuming Romans 16 is original to the letter) hosted by missionaries in league with Paul, such as Prisca and Aquila,72 or Epainetus.73 Both had apparently moved there from Asia, bringing their evangelising efforts into a context that may already have included some groups of Jewish Christians.74 These Jewish Christians may have been exiled under Claudius' edict in 49 ce,75 but returned after his death in 54 ce, a scenario that may account for the rise in Gentile Christianity there during the interval.
70 The letter says nothing of other Christian communities on the Italian penninsula, but see Acts 28:14 (Puteoli); cf. Heb 13:24.
71 See Klein, 'Paul's purpose in writing to the Romans' (they are lacking an apostolic foundation).
72 His 'co-workers in Christ Jesus' who have an ekklesia in their house (Rom 16:3-4; cf. 1 Cor i6:i9; Acts i8:i-3, 26).
73 Rom 16:5. Yet an early history of the gospel among Roman Jews, thoroughly independent of Paul, is also possible (Lampe, From Paul to Valentinus, 11-16).
74 Such as Paul's syngeneis, 'relatives,' Andronicus andJunia, and Herodion (Rom 16:7,11).
75 Fitzmyer, Romans, 31-4.
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