Antioch: one of the four largest cities in the Roman Empire and the center of its eastern territory. As an important hub in the exchange of goods and culture, news from all over the empire converged there and spread quickly to other parts by sea and land. This resulted in economic, cultural, linguistic, and religious diversity and openness to new things.
Because of this central position, Antioch also became a destination for Jewish fugitives, creating there a minority amounting to a tenth of the city’s total population and providing fertile ground for the massage of Christianity. After Jerusalem, Antioch was the second great turning point in the spread of the Christ-ian
ian faith. The expansion of missionary activity so as to include Gentiles opened a new world of possibilities, but also significant potential for conflict in the first two centuries CE.
But what was the composition of the local communities and what were the prevailing theological influences? How did the emergence of the Gentile mission affect the multicultural community in Antioch? What challenges and oppor-tunities did this present for the leader-ship team? What interaction with the urban context resulted from this?
These and similar questions will drive the research of the early church in Antioch.