SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.32 issue1[witness] in John 1-4: Towards an emerging, missional ecclesiology author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google


Verbum et Ecclesia

On-line version ISSN 2074-7705
Print version ISSN 1609-9982

Verbum Eccles. (Online) vol.32 n.1 Pretoria  2011 



Cities of god in northern Asia minor: Using Stark's social theories to reconstruct Peter's communities



Mark W. Wilson

Research Fellow, Department of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa





This article used seven hypotheses from R. Stark's Cities of God (2007) as a heuristic tool to investigate the rise of Christianity in the five Roman provinces mentioned in 1 Peter 1:1. It affirmed that the Christian communities in these provinces were located in an urban, not rural, setting. Building on the research of Hort and Hemer, seven major cities in these provinces were proposed to test Stark's hypotheses with. These cities are Sinope and Amisus in Pontus, Ancyra in Galatia, Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Dorylaeum in Asia and Nicea and Nicomedia in Bithynia. An important factor noted in several of these cities was their prominence as a commercial seaport and the presence of a Diaspora Jewish community. Utilising this methodological approach helped to elucidate more fully the audience of 1 Peter's geographic and historical background.



Full text available only in PDF format.




Ameling, W., 2004, Inscriptiones Judaicae Orientis, Band II, Kleinasien, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen.         [ Links ]

Barsanti, C., 2003, 'The İznik-Nicea's archaeological museum: In search of a catalogue', in I. Akbaygil, H. İnalcık & O. Aslanapa (eds.), İznik through history, pp. 267-301, Turkiye Is Bankasi Kultur Yayinlari, Istanbul.         [ Links ]

Bauckham, R.J., 1995, 'James and the Jerusalem church', in R. Bauckham (ed.), The book of Acts in its Palestinian setting, BAFCS vol. 4, pp. 415-480, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids.         [ Links ]

Bekker-Nielsen, T., 2008, Urban life and local politics in Roman Bithynia, Aarhus, Aarhus University Press, viewed 23 July, 2010 from        [ Links ]

Broughton, T.R.S., 1938, 'Roman Asia Minor' in T. Frank (ed.), An economic survey of ancient Rome, vol. 4, pp. 503-916, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.         [ Links ]

Bruce, F.F., 1990, The Acts of the apostles, 3rd edn., Eerdmans, Grand Rapids.         [ Links ]

Bruce, F.F., 1992, 'Travel and communication (NT world)', in D.N. Freedman (ed.), The anchor Bible dictionary , vol. 6, pp. 648-653, Doubleday, New York.         [ Links ]

Bryer, A. & Winfield, D., 1985, The Byzantine monuments and topography of the Pontos, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.         [ Links ]

Chandler, T. & Fox, G., 1974, Three thousand years of urban growth, Academic, New York.         [ Links ]

Chandler, T., 1987, Four thousand years of urban growth: an historical census, 2nd edn., Edwin Mellen, Lewiston, N.Y.         [ Links ]

Claerhout, I. & Devreker, J., 2008, Pessinous, Homer Books, Istanbul.         [ Links ]

Cohen, G., 1996, Hellenistic settlements in Europe, the islands, and Asia Minor, University of California Press, Berkeley.         [ Links ]

Cox, C.W.M. & Cameron, A., 1937, Monuments from Dorylaeum and Nacolea, MAMA V, University of Manchester, Manchester.         [ Links ]

Elliott, J.H., 1981, A home for the homeless, Fortress, Philadelphia.         [ Links ]

Elliott, J.H., 2000, 1 Peter, Doubleday, New York.         [ Links ]

Fine, S. & Rutgers, L.V., 1996, 'New Light on Judaism in Asia Minor', Jewish Studies Quarterly 3, 1-23.         [ Links ]

Gates, C., 2003, Ancient cities: The archaeology of urban life in the ancient near east and Egypt, Greece and Rome, Routledge, London.         [ Links ]

Grant, M., 1997, A guide to the ancient world, New York, Barnes & Noble.         [ Links ]

Gruen, E.S., 2002, Diaspora, Harvard University Press, Harvard University.         [ Links ]

Hachlili, R., 1998, Ancient Jewish art and archaeology in the Diaspora, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.         [ Links ]

Hanfmann, G.M.A., 1983. Sardis from prehistoric to Roman times, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.         [ Links ]

Hemer, C.J., 1978, 'The address of 1 Peter', Expository Times 89(8), 239-243.doi:10.1177/001452467808900805        [ Links ]

Høfte, J.M., 2009, 'The administrative organization of the Pontic kingdom', in J.M.Høfte (ed.), Mithridates VI and the Pontic kingdom, pp.95-107, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, viewed 23 July 2010, from        [ Links ]

Hopkins, K., 1998, 'Christian number and its implications', Journal of Early Christian Studies 6(2), 185-226.doi:10.1353/earl.1998.0035        [ Links ]

Hort, F.J.A., 1898, First epistle of St. Peter I,1-II,17, Macmillan, London.         [ Links ]

Jobes, K., 2005, 1 Peter, Baker, Grand Rapids.         [ Links ]

Leafe, W., 1916, 'The commerce of Sinope', Journal of hellenic studies 36, 1-15. doi:10.2307/625746        [ Links ]

Levinskaya, I.A., 1996, Diaspora setting, BAFCS vol. 5, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids.         [ Links ]

Magie, D., 1950, Roman rule in Asia Minor, 2 vols., Princeton University Press, Princeton.doi:10.2307/500057        [ Links ]

Magie, D., 1953, 'Egyptian deities in Asia Minor in inscriptions and on coins', American Journal of Archaeology 57(3), 163-187.         [ Links ]

Meeks, W., 1981, The first urban Christians, Yale University Press, New Haven.         [ Links ]

Michaels, J.R., 1988, 1 Peter, Thomas Nelson, Nashville.         [ Links ]

Mitchell, S., 1982. The Ankara district: the inscriptions of north Galatia, RECAM II, B.A.R. International, Oxford.         [ Links ]

Mitchell, S., 1992, 'Galatia', in D.N. Freedman (ed.), The anchor Bible dictionary, vol. 2, 870-72, Doubleday, New York.         [ Links ]

Mitchell, S., 1993, Anatolia, 2 vols., Oxford University Press, Oxford.         [ Links ]

Mitchell, S., 2003, 'Nicomedia', in S. Hornblower & A. Spawforth (eds.), The Oxford classical dictionary, p. 1043, Oxford University Press, Oxford.         [ Links ]

Munro, J.A.R., 1901, 'Roads in Pontus, royal and Roman', Journal of hellenic studies 21, 52-66.doi:10.2307/623865        [ Links ]

Pascuiti, D. & Chase-Dunn, C., 2002, Estimating the population sizes of cities, viewed 14 July 2010, from        [ Links ]

Price, S.R.F., 1984, Rituals and power: The Roman imperial cult in Asia Minor, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.         [ Links ]

Ramsay, W.M., 1907, The cities of St. Paul, Hodder & Stoughton, London.         [ Links ]

Robinson, D., 1906a, 'Ancient Sinope, First Part', American journal of philology 27(2), 125-153.doi:10.2307/288823        [ Links ]

Robinson, D., 1906b, 'Ancient Sinope Second Part', American journal of philology 27(3), 245-279.doi:10.2307/288591        [ Links ]

Roller, L., 1999, In search of God the mother, University of California Press, Berkeley.         [ Links ]

Seland, T., 2005, Strangers in the light: Philonic perspectives on Christian identity in 1 Peter, Brill, Leiden.         [ Links ]

Sherwin-White, A.N., 1966, The letters of Pliny: a social and historical commentary, Oxford University Press, Oxford.         [ Links ]

Smallwood, E.M., 1981, The Jews under Roman rule, Brill, Leiden.         [ Links ]

Stark, R., 1997, The rise of Christianity, HarperSanFrancisco, San Francisco.         [ Links ]

Stark, R., 2007, Cities of God, HarperSanFrancisco, San Francisco.         [ Links ]

Talbert, C. (ed.), 2000, The Barrington atlas of the classical world, Princeton University Press, Princeton.         [ Links ]

Trebilco, P.R., 1991, Jewish communities in Asia Minor, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.doi:10.1017/CBO9780511520464        [ Links ]

Tsetskhladze, G.R., 2007, 'Greeks and locals in the southern Black Sea littoral: A re-examination', in G. Herman & I. Shatzman (eds.), Greeks between east and west: essays in Greek literature and history in memory of David Asheri, pp. 160-195, The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jerusalem.         [ Links ]

Turcan, R., 1996, The cults of the Roman Empire, Blackwell, Oxford.         [ Links ]

Van der Horst, P., 1990, 'Juden und Christen in Aphrodisias im Licht ihrer Beziehungen in anderen Städten Kleinasiens', in J. van Amersfoort & J. van Oort (eds.), Juden und Christen in der Antike, pp. 125-143, Kok, Kampen.         [ Links ]

Wilson, D.R., 1960, 'The historical geography of Bithynia, Paphlagonia and Pontus in the Greek and Roman periods', B.Litt. thesis, Oxford.         [ Links ]

Wilson, M., 2001, 'Early Christianity in the Black Sea region', paper presented at the Second International Congress on Black Sea Antiquities, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, 2001.         [ Links ]

Wilson, M., 2005, 'The trajectory of early Christianity in Dorylaeum and its environs', in O. Beklan, A. Oğuz & E. İznik (eds.), I. International Symposium on Eskişehir Throughout History, pp. 381-388, Anadolu Üniversitesi Yayınları, Eskişehir.         [ Links ]



Mark Wilson
PO Box 64788
Virginia Beach
VA 23467
United States of America

Received: 24 July 2010
Accepted: 09 Dec. 2010
Published: 04 Mar. 2011

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License