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Abstract

Christian sources allow readers to gain the impression that the Christians were especially sensitive to, or even exaggerated for apologetic purposes, the Roman government’s hostility towards them. However, by using the often neglected papyrus documents which are contemporary with the events described, we now can gain direct evidence, from the official side, of the initiative of Decius in AD 250 which, at the time, provoked this sense in our surviving Christian literary tradition of a comprehensive attack. In the light of this evidence, we can perceive the emotional and intellectual realism of the literary accounts of this Christian response.

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