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pageId="iii"Oxford Bible Atlas Contextualizes the stories and lands of the Bible through user-friendly maps and illustrations.

The Early Expansion of the Church

The early spread of the Church from Jerusalem was initially through Judea and beyond, as far as Damascus (see ‘The Ministry of Jesus and the Beginnings of the Church’ ). The expansion continued and those who were scattered as a result of persecutions in the aftermath of the death of Stephen are said to have preached to Jews in Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch (Acts 11: 19 ). Antioch was the chief city of the province of Syria, and was an important base for further expansion. To the east lay Edessa and Mesopotamia (including Babylon where there was a sizeable Jewish colony). The New Testament, written in Greek, records the spread of Christianity through the Greek‐speaking provinces of the empire as far as Rome itself. But there was also expansion in Syria and to the east among those who spoke Syriac, an Aramaic dialect. Syriac‐speaking Christianity centred on Edessa.

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