Early-Christianity

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					Early Christianity
Roman and Jewish Background
Diversity of Roman religion
Spread of Eastern mystery religions
Roman involvement in Palestine from 63
B.C.
Jewish Factions: Pharisees, Zealots, etc.
Jesus’ Early Life
Sources: Gospels (esp. Matthew, Luke)
Annunciation
Nativity (c. 6 B.C.), visit of the Magi
Flight to Egypt
Return to Nazareth
Upbringing as an artisan
Jesus’ Ministry
Began at age 30 – baptism by John
Attitude toward Jewish law
 Fulfillment, not destruction (Matt. 5:17-19)
 A clean heart more important than ritual

Law & Prophets boil down to this:
 Love God
 Love each other
Jesus’ Ministry (2)
Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7)
 Humility, Charity, Peace
 Ethics alien to Greco-Roman outlook

The Son of God or Messiah?
 “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36)
 Repentance brings salvation, eternal life
 Condemnation by legal authorities
 Crucifixion
The Early Church
Resurrection and ascension
Early converts and missionaries
   Peter
      Pentecost sermon (Acts 2)
      Conversion of Cornelius (Acts 10)
      Founder of church in Rome?

   Paul (apostle to the Gentiles)
      Three missionary journeys; imprisonmnet
      Confrontation with Greeks (Acts 17)
Christian Doctrine
Mankind’s Fallen State (Rom. 1-3)
 Worship of creature, not of Creator
 Jews and Gentiles alike are lost because of their
  sin
The Atonement & Christ’s priestly role (1
John 1:7-2:2; Heb. 7)
Christ as God and King (Phil. 2:5-11; Ps.
110:1-2)
Christian Practices
Weekly meetings
Baptism of initiates
Agape feast or Lord’s Supper
 Commemorated Jesus’ Last Supper
 Gradually became formalized
Christian Practices (2)
Church organization
 Bishops/presbyters/elders
 Deacons (Acts 6:1-7)

Church discipline (Matt. 18:15-18; 1 Cor. 6)
 “Court system”
 Excommunication/disfellowship
Persecutions
Romans initially ignored Christians
Gradual change of view
 Rumors of ritual murder, etc.
 Viewed as a threat to public order, traitors
 Romans 13

Sporadic attacks in 1st and 2nd centuries
 Nero’s and Domitian’s persecutions
 Pliny the Younger
3rd Century Growth
Reasons
 Promise of eternal life
 Some similarities to mystery religions?

 Jesus was human, not mythological

 Universal appeal; open to all

 Holy Spirit
Legitimacy
Fierce persecutions under Decius (249-251)
and Diocletian (284-305)
Constantine (306-336)
 Battle of Milvian Bridge (312)
 Edict of Milan (313)

Theodosius I (378-395) – made Christianity
the empire’s official religion
Early Church Concerns
Conversions and
missionary activity
Organization
   Bishops and dioceses
   Big Four (later Five)
Heresies
   Donatism
   Arianism
   Nicene Council (325)

				
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posted:11/12/2012
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