Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity A.D. 100-325, “Chapter 8. Christian life in Contrast with Pagan Corruption.” Sections 88-103, Loc. 16158-17158.
§ 88. Literature.
Schaff presents a lightly annotated bibliography of sources for life and customs of various people who interacted during the time of primitive Christianity (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16158).
§ 89. Moral Corruption of the Roman Empire.
Schaff makes his view clear. He recognizes Christianity as the source of holiness. “Christianity is not only the revelation of truth, but also the fountain of holiness under the unceasing inspiration of the spotless example of its Founder, which is more powerful than all systems of moral philosophy (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16186). It regenerates individuals and whole cultures. To show this clearly, Schaff contrasts it with various evidence from non-Christian antiquity. Imperial Rome around the time of Christ offered considerable safety, stability, and prosperity (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16197). At the same time, slavery, abuse, poverty, and despair were very common (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16208). The culture was in decline and, given the excesses in society, the decline could not be reversed (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16229). The failings of some of the emperors are well known in popular culture. Scaff notes that the decadent behavior and attitudes spread from the ruling classes to the public at large (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16255). The move from a once glorious nation to a crumbling ruin was not difficult to foresee.