Herculaneum Christian House
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Prayer Desk 161

Cross Impression in Wall

Herculaneum FurnitureThe theory that this is a Christian house at Herculaneum is strengthened by another interesting piece of carbonized house furniture which the room held there. It was a small wooden cupboard, thirty six inches or so high and half as wide converted from organic wood into carbon by heating or burning found directly beneath a cross impression on the wall. The cupboard or prayer desk looks as if it was used for worship. Indeed, it bears a striking resemblance to the wooden chests common in Pompeii and Herculaneum, in which small household gods were housed. This Christian prayer desk was probably directly developed from the pagan wooden chest and furnishings. It is yet another example of pagan customs, cult objects, words and symbols being "baptized" and taken over by the growing Christian movement in this Herculaneum community.

The Christian Home

Herculaneum interiorDr. Michael Green in his book "Evangelism in the Early Church" writes, "If this reconstruction is anywhere near the truth, it gives concrete attestation of the process which we know must have been going on at the time, the gradual infiltration of the middle and upper classes of Roman society by Christianity through the lives and words of slaves and freedmen. This is how that unique institution, the Christian home, began to make an impression on surrounding paganism."

"Herculaneum Christian House"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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