Cultural Christians in the Early Church

Cultural Christians in the Early Church

A Historical and Practical Introduction to Christians in the Greco-Roman World

Nadya Williams
$26.99 USD

Are you an Instructor? Request a Trial

Inside this Enhanced Edition*

  • Perpetual access:
    • Cultural Christians in the Early Church eBook
    • Highlight and make notes
  • 12 month access:
    • 10 videos with Nadya Williams
    • Reflection questions in each chapter
    • 10 quizzes
    • Review items for each chapter using Cerego learning engine
    • Student dashboard to check your progress
    • Export your notes

* For more details click here

Product Details

  • ISBN:
  • Format:
  • Platforms:
  • Release:
  • Category:
  • 9780310151647
  • Digital Enhanced Edition
  • Desktop, iOS, Android
  • November 14, 2023
  • Early Christian History

About the Authors

Nadya Williams

Nadya Williams

PhD, Princeton University

Nadya Williams is a military historian of the Greco-Roman world and the coeditor of Civilians and Warfare in World History. She is book review editor at Current, where she also edits The Arena blog. She is a regular contributor to the Anxious Bench and has also written for Plough, Front Porch Republic, Church Life Journal, History Today Magazine, History News Network, and The Conversation.


Christians today tend to see the earliest followers of Jesus as zealous converts who were much more counterculturally devoted to their faith than typical churchgoers today. Cultural Christianity might seem like a modern concept, one most likely to occur in areas where Christianity is the majority culture, such as the American Bible Belt. The story that this book presents refutes both of these faulty assumptions. Aiming to be both historical and practical, Cultural Christians in the Early Church argues that in the early church cultural Christians were the rule rather than the exception. Using categories of sin as an organizing principle, classicist Nadya Williams considers the challenge of culture to the earliest converts to Christianity, as they struggled to live on mission in the Greco-Roman cultural milieu of the Roman Empire. Recognizing that cultural sins were always a part of the story of the church and its people is a message that is both a source of comfort and a call to action in our pursuit of sanctification today.

“An excellent example of how understanding the struggle of Christianity and culture in antiquity can help us to understand our own cultural struggles in the present.”
         —Michael F. Bird, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia

“This book is not for the fainthearted, but it is highly recommended.”
        —John Dickson, Wheaton College

“[A] convincing and convicting book.”
        —Meghan DiLuzio, Baylor University

“A series of captivating stories and vivid scenarios that help us see the past and the present in conversation.”
        —David E. Wilhite, Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University

Table of Contents

  • Map of the Roman Empire

  • Introduction

    • Part 1: Cultural Christians in the New Testament Era

    • 1. More for Me, Less for Thee: The Curious Case of Sharing without Caring in the Early Church
    • 2. BBQ and Wine: When Food Leads to Sin
    • 3. (Un)Holy Bodies, (Un)Holy Minds: Resisting the Cultural Views of Sexuality
    • Part 2: Cultural Christians in the Age of Persecution

    • 4. Trouble in Bithynia: How Cultural Sins Lead to Apostasy
    • 5. Unexpected Martyrs: Women’s Challenge to Cultural Christianity in the Third-Century Church
    • 6. When Sharing and Caring Disappear: The Problem of Self-Care in the Age of Crisis
    • Part 3: Cultural Christians in the Age of Constantine and Beyond

    • 7. “Are You Washed in the Blood?”: Sectarian Violence among Cultural Christians
    • 8. The Altar and the Cross: Christian Nationalism in the Twilight of Empire
    • 9. The Siren Call of the Desert: Why Running Away from the Church Cannot Solve the Problem of Cultural Sin

  • Conclusion

  • Acknowledgments

  • Subject Index

  • Index Locorum


How does an Enhanced Edition compare to the print book?

  • Smarter Learning

    Learn faster and remember longer with the proven Cerego learning engine. Other tools include videos from the author and more.

  • Deeper Collaboration

    If your instructor uses this Enhanced Edition you can see their highlights and notes, plus any discussion prompts they may add for you and your classmates.

  • More Value

    For the price of the print book, you get 1 year of access to all Enhanced Edition tools–and keep the ebook and your class notes for good.