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1 Peter is written to encourage Christians suffering some sort of local persecution. This persecution may have come from the Jewish population, who began to view Christianity as heresy, or else something distinct from Judaism: a new religion altogether. This disconnection from Judaism led to oppression from the local government, which carved our an exception fro Jews and let them worship in the way they chose, but did not tolerate new religions. It is probable that Peter’s audience was experiencing persecution from both ends, then: the Jewish and Gentile communities, leaving them with little sense of their own identity.