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Jewish and roman backgrounds of early christianity
 

Jewish and roman backgrounds of early christianity

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Lecture from the first day of New Testament 1.

Lecture from the first day of New Testament 1.

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Jewish and roman backgrounds of early christianity Jewish and roman backgrounds of early christianity Presentation Transcript

  • Jewish and Roman Backgrounds Of Early Christianity
  • Two ways to look at it:• Chronologically• Thematically
  • Major Periods in 2nd Temple Judaism• Exilic (587-539ish)• Persian Period (539-334/3)• Hellenistic Period (334/3-depends on how you think about it)• Maccabean (164-63)• Roman (63 BCE and onward)
  • Exilic Period•587-539 BCE•Babylon destroys Jerusalem in587 BCE•Exiles taken to Babylon•Characterized by defeat,destruction, exile Destruction of Jerusalem, Nuremberg Chronicles, 1493
  • Persian Period•539-334/3 BCE•Cyrus and the Persians defeat Babylonin 539 BCE•Cyrus issues edict allowing the returnof exiles and rebuilding of the temple•Waves of exiles return in the 530s,520s, mid-400s, and clash with those leftbehind•Temple rededicated in 516•Characterized by return, warm Cyrus Cylinder, 6th century BCErelations with Persia, conflicts betweenreturnees and those who had stayed
  • Hellenistic Period•334/3-164 BCE•Alexander the Great conquers prettymuch everything, 334/3•Alexander’s reign doesn’t last long, butGreek influence does•Egyptian Ptolemies rule for a centuryor so•Seleucids for a few decades•Characterized by dramatic cultural Alexander the Great at the Battle of Issus. Pompeii.changes and hybridizations (andconflicts), linguistic change, andultimately revolt
  • Maccabean Period•164-63 BCE•Begins with a revolt led by Mattathiasand Judah the Maccabeee•Eventually expands into a largekingdom•Was the last independent Jewish stateuntil 1948 CE•Characterized by nationalism, alliance-making, and a simultaneous re-assertionof religious purity and ongoing cultural Judas Maccabeus, from a coin.
  • Roman Period•63BCE-6th/7th centuries CE•Rome conquered Jerusalem in63•Rome ruled by proxy kings,most notably the Herods,including Herod the Great andHerod Agrippa•Characterized by rebellion, Paper cache, Bar Kokhbafoment, religious and messianicfervor, and ultimatelydestruction
  • Religion•Temple worship•Regional temples and shrines•Popular religion•Synagogues•Personal piety (prayer, etc)•Law observance•Priest-mediated and not•Individual and communal•Turn-of-the-millennium trends:increase in belief in semi-divine beingslike Satan, increased messianic fervor, Elephantine Island, Egypt, site of a Jewish templeincrease in apocalyptic fervor,decentralization of religion
  • Texts and Canon•Texts became increasingly importantafter the exile•By the time of Jesus, one could speakof “the law and the prophets”•By the late first century CE, a “canon”of Jewish scriptures had formed,comprised by the Torah (law), Nevi’im(prophets), and Kethuvim (writings),often expressed in an acronym as TNKor Tanahk Page from the Aleppo Codex, an example of the Masoretic Text
  • Sects•There seemed to be three mainoptions: Sadducees, Pharisees, andEssenes•Josephus also describes a “fourthphilosophy,” possibly an anti-Romangroup•Sicarii and Zealots also get lumpedtogether with the Fourth Philosophy,although they seem to have beendistinct groups•Judaism was just as diverse as anyother religion Flavius Josephus, bust
  • Accommodation and Rebellion•Cohen notes that the Jewswere usually content to honorforeign authority, within limits•Beginning with the Maccabeesand particularly with Romanrule, Judea became known as ahotbed of rebellion•Jewish War, 66-70; Bar KokhbaRevolt, 132-135
  • The Greco- Roman Religious Context•Overwhelmingly polytheistic,pluralistic, accommodating, and vigorous•Comprised of traditional pantheons,imported “eastern” religions, officialmythologies, and various philosophies•Judaism was already an ancient, well- Mithraic bull-slaying scene, modernknown, and mostly well-regarded partof the Greco-Roman religious world
  • Paul’s Context