as 'soul' and the world as 'body' in order to emphasise the separation and divisibility of the two.

But he might (with a different purpose) have used the same metaphor to examine how soul and body are mutually related. For historians of ancient Christianity, this image and the concessions the author makes press the question of how these 'local customs' may have influenced the Christian movement in various places. Surely language and lifestyle, inherited and imbibed in various locales throughout the Mediterranean world, could not have been without effect on the expressions, rituals and lifestyles ofthese Christian communities. And each region was also conditioned by realities of Roman rule in that district (with all its permutations and constants), as well as by the conspicuous individuals and historical events that marked each in turn. No area, as we shall see, was an island unto itself, so the distinct account ofeach region is in part a history of interaction. But before following Paul (and Abercius, and others) in their ambit around the Mediterranean, we shall turn to the issues involved in studying the diffusion and demographics of Christianity in the early centuries. Just how many people are we talking about when we discuss the 'spread' or the 'rise' of Christianity in the pre-Constantinian period in these six regions?

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