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Christian Trade Associations 174

Emperor Julius Caesar

Emperor Julius Caesar AD 85Wayne A. Meeks writes in "The First Urban Christians - The Social World of the Apostle Paul" that "the house church like the group that gathered with the tent makers Prisca, Aquila, and Paul in Corinth and Ephesus might well have seemed to their neighbors as a Christian trade association or a club of some kind." During the closing days of the Roman republic, the trade associations in Rome were to become a cover for political demonstrations and criminal acts and were successively banned, restored, and banned again. For similar reasons, the Christian trade associations were dissolved on earlier occasions by Julius Caesar in BC 144 and the Emperor Augustus between BC 31 and 14 AD, and recognized associations including Christian ones were required to follow special licensing procedures.✞

Riots and Political Disturbances

E. Earl Ellis writes in "Pauline Theology - Ministry and Society" that "From time to time, various associations and clubs continued to get involved in riots and political disturbances, for which the silversmiths at Ephesus in Acts 19.23-41 and the sports clubs at Pompeii provide well known examples, and sometimes they were dissolved for a season. But it probably goes too far to characterize such disturbances as 'genuine attempts at social revolution.'"

"Christian Trade Associations"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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