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Discussion of the development of Christianity in the early Roman Empire

Discussion of the development of Christianity in the early Roman Empire

Published in: Education, Spiritual
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  • 1. E X P L O R I N G T H E R O M A N C U L T U R E Chapter 5: The First World Civilization: Rome, China and the Emergence of the Silk Road
  • 2. Background on Christianity  Who was Jesus?
  • 3. Paul of Tarsus 25-67 C.E.  Helped spread the word of Jesus Christ  Hebrew name was Saul  Was a Pharisee, a strict adherent to Jewish law  Persecuted early Christians but underwent a conversion on the road to Damascus  Supported the position of the Hellenist Jews who saw Christianity as a new, universal religion
  • 4. The Persecution of the Jews/Christians  At first, Roman officials were indifferent to the new religion  But soon there were problems because the Christians would not worship ancient pagan deities or the emperor and were accused of disloyalty, atheism, and crimes such as cannibalism, infanticide and were blamed for plagues, floods, famines  Examples of what was said by prominent Romans  Christians began to be persecuted and found safety in the catacombs like those under the city of Rome
  • 5. History of the Catacombs  In the first century, Rome’s Christians did not have cemeteries. If they had land of their own, that is where they buried their dead  In the first half of the second century, the Christians received grants and donations of land and then started to build catacombs
  • 6. More on Catacombs  Many catacombs were family tombs who were new converts to Christianity  These families allowed fellow Christians outside of their own families to be buried there.  There are more than sixty catacombs in Rome with hundreds of miles of galleries and ten of thousands of tombs  There are also catacombs in North Africa, Naples, eastern Sicily  These catacombs are basically cemeteries
  • 7. However, catacombs are cemeteries with a story!
  • 8. Other images from the catacombs
  • 9. The catacombs gave us great examples of early Christian art
  • 10. More of the most important images is that of Christ
  • 11. Another image of Christ
  • 12. The catacombs allow us to know the lives of early Christians
  • 13. Triumph of Christianity  In 303, Diocletian launched a serious persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire  However, such persecution could not stem the tide of the growing Christian community which was bolstered by the example of martyrs  The conversion of Diocletian’s successor, Constantine, (312) and Constantine’s lavish support for the church and encouragement of conversions transformed the Christian community  In 394, Theodosius forbade the practices of pagan cults and by his death, Christianity was the official religion of the Roman Empire
  • 14. Chronology of the Triumph of Christianity  Jesus of Nazareth is born in ca. 4 B.C.E.  Crucifixion of Jesus in ca. 30 C.E.  Gospels written in ca. 70-100 C.E.  Major persecutions by Decius and Valerian in ca. 250-260 C.E.  Persecution by Diocletian in 303 C.E.  Conversion of Constantine to Christianity in 312 C.E.  Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E.  Christianity becomes official religion of Roman Empire in 395 C.E.

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