Christians Do Not Abandon Their Dead

‘Our brothers from Parthia do not marry two wives; Jewish Christians are not circumcised, our sisters from Gilan and Kushan do not associate with foreigners; those from Persia do not marry their daughters; those from Media do not abandon their dead, nor do they give them to the dogs to eat, nor do they bury the dying while still alive, Christians from Edessa do not kill their wives or sisters who commit adultery, and those from Hatra do not stone thieves.’ This quote from Bardaisan’s ‘Book of the Laws of the Lands’ from the early third century is not merely instructive on account of the descriptions of the morals of the Asian peoples mentioned but also provides valuable evidence of how far Christianity had spread to the east by the end of the Parthian dynasty (224/226 CE). Parthia should be understood here as Mesopotamia, and Persia and Media as Iran. Gilan lies to the south of the Caspian Sea, the most westerly part of the great Kushan empire was Transoxania, and Hatra lies south of Mosul. At the start of the third century, Christian cells existed in all of these regions.

Baumer, The Church of the East, p. 19

What a difference the gospel made in these ancient cultures!

Photo by DDP on Unsplash

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