The Christian intellectuals who took the first steps toward defining Christianity were attempting to reshape the symbolized world in which they lived. As mentioned in the first pages of this book, all of us are born into a world whose signs and symbols we learn through the process of socialization. 1 When we change communities—for example, if we go to live in Japan or China—we may have to learn the way people in those societies interact and perceive their world. What the early Christian intellectuals were doing was trying to reinterpret the cultural traditions of the Greco-Roman and Jewish world in light of their allegiance to the Christian community. In a world where kinship relationships were very strong, the Christians were marginals, outsiders to the normal flow of daily living, no longer paying respect to the gods and goddesses who protected household and city. This sense of marginality, of being aliens in this world, strangers within it, would remain entrenched in the Christian self-definition throughout this period. It found expression in the earliest writings by Christians: "Our citizenship is in heaven" (Phil. 3:20); "they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world" (John 17:16); "here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come" (Heb. 13:14). Christians were a pilgrim people, a people newborn, "not of perishable but of imperishable seed" (1 Pet. 1:23), and so they should behave as aliens and exiles in this world ( 1 Pet. 2:11). This image of alienation is found in the fourth century in the Syriac Christian writer Aphrahat, who in 337 exhorted, "We should be aliens from this world, just as Christ did not belong to this world" (Sixth Demonstration). Augustine of Hippo's great early-fifth-century work contrasted the city of God with the city of this world. The metaphor Augustine returned to again and again was that of Christians as pilgrims in this world, moving on to their true homeland. This image of themselves as "not of this world" articulated itself in their way of life and also in their cosmological speculations. For if they were not of this world, of what world were they? If they were pilgrims, where were they bound? How should they live in this world?