Paganism with its ancient and new cults was alive and well when Christianity arose. What singled out Judaism and Christianity among the many religious groups was that these religions required personal dedication to the one God and imposed on their adherents ethical demands as essential to that religious dedication. To the Jewish faith in God and obedience to his commands Christians added a personal devo­tion to their founder. The linkage of an ethical code with religious faith was practically unknown to most contemporary religions, which rarely went beyond the opinion that the gods liked virtue. Some pagan philosophies (see chapter 3), however, unlike pagan religions, had developed high standards of morality and it is not surprising that Chris­tianity was to seek an alliance with such philosophies. Soon true piety came to be seen as residing in faith and good conduct, over above mere practices; it aimed to mobilize the entire domain of the self in obedi­ence to God's will.

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