chapter  1
The pre-history of Christian thought
Pages 18

Christian thought began in the third or fourth decade of the first century of what is now known as the Common Era (ce). This is when Jesus of Nazareth – later known as Jesus Christ – began his career of public teaching. But before beginning the story of Christian thought, some attention to its context will be prudent. Even if Jesus was “God come to earth in human form” as most Christians believe, he came at a specific time and to a specific place in world history. His thought – and perhaps even more so, the thought of his followers – was conditioned by a definite context that included geographical, political, cultural, and intellectual factors. Having at least a cursory overview of this context will prove helpful in trying to understand the thought that sprang from it. The three civilizations which had converged at the time of Christ in a stretch of land along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea are most relevant in this respect: the Hebrews, the Greeks, and the Romans.