Christianity and Paganism
Early Christianity developed in an era of the Roman Empire during which many religions were practiced, that are, due to the lack of a better term, labeled paganism. Paganism is commonly used to refer to various, largely unconnected religions from the time period, such as the Greco-Roman religions of the Roman Empire, including the Roman imperial cult, the various mystery religions, monotheistic religions such as Neoplatonism and Gnosticism, and more localized religions practiced both inside and outside the Empire. During the Middle Ages the term was also adapted to refer to religions practiced outside the former Roman Empire, such as Germanic paganism and Slavic paganism.From the point of view of the early Christians these religions all qualified as ethnic (or gentile, ethnikos, gentilis, the term translating goyim, later rendered as paganus) in contrast with Second Temple Judaism. Since the Council of Jerusalem, the Christian Apostles accepted both Jewish and pagan converts, and there was a precarious balance between the Jewish believers, insisting on the obedience to the Mosaic Laws by all Christians, on one hand, and Gentile Christians, developed in the gentile missionary context, on the other, resulting in many Christian views on the Old Covenant.