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Their search brought to Rome many alien religious cults ― in particular the worship of Mithra, the Persian god of light and wisdom, who became identified with Helios, the Greek sun god, as well as Sol, the Roman sun god.
This cult came to be so popular that the Romans named a day of the week ― "Sunday" ― in honor of Mithra, and celebrated the sun god's birthday in late December in conjunction with the Winter Solstice.
The Jewish people were also a unique and sizeable minority dispersed throughout the major cities of the empire.
Not only was their idea of one God unique, they also possessed a unique sense of community, had a highly developed social welfare infrastructure, as well as a uniquely high level of literacy.
Indeed, it had become offensive in Jewish eyes and the Jesus followers were considered heretics(1) .
they [the Jews] were fewer in those days than they are now-perhaps eight million...Roman Attraction to Judaism We had previously talked about the tension in the Greco-Roman world that pitted Hellenism against Judaism.But we neglected to mention that there were Romans who were very much attracted to Judaism.'Throughout the whole world,' says Pliny the Elder, 'at every place and hour, by every voice, Fortune alone is invoked and her name spoken...We are so much at the mercy of chance that chance is our god.' In such an atmosphere, the Jewish view that one is not lost at sea in a random and hostile universe, but is looked after by a one, omnipotent and loving God, who orders and runs the world, was likely to get a receptive hearing.