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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Syria occupies a unique place in early Christian archaeology by virtue of the fact that Antioch was the first city where followers of Jesus Christ were referred to as “Christians” and because it is the country in which the only securely dated house church has ever been discovered. Away from the Holy Land and the events of Christ’s life, and the establishment of ecclesiastical authority in Rome and Constantinople, Syria’s significance to archaeologists of Christianity lies in what the country can tell us about the daily lives of early believers. In the hinterland of Antioch hundreds of villages dating to the first seven centuries ce attest to a fully Christian society from the second half of the fourth century onward, and they offer us valuable information about how the church supplanted the state as the source of moral and civic leadership.

Keywords: Syria, Christianity, Late Antiquity, archaeology, ecclesiastical history, architectural history

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