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Western Civ.  Rise of Christianity
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Western Civ. Rise of Christianity


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  • 1. The Rise of Christianity
  • 2. Historical Background – First Century AD  Palestine was under Roman rule  Roman legions (troops) maintained control  Roman emperors saw themselves as “divine” - “son of God” Caesar Augustus was emperor at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke chapter 2)  the Pax Romana- Roman Peace   Time of growth and expansion
  • 3.    The Emperor Tiberius ruled during Jesus’ ministry and time of his death Roman governors (such as Pontius Pilate) were sent to oversee the provinces Rome used local rulers to help govern  example: King Herod was ruler of Palestine
  • 4. Caesar Augustus The base of statue includes the image of the Greek god Cupid riding a dolphin. This expresses Augustus’ supposed ancestry to the goddess Venus (Cupid's mother) by way of his adopted father Julius Caesar.
  • 5. Temple in Jerusalem- 1st Century built by King Herod
  • 6. Focal point of Jewish life and religion
  • 7. Historical Background  Rome often allowed people in conquered regions to maintain their traditional religion and culture  As long as it did not conflict with Rome   Example: Jewish Passover in Jerusalem Rome also granted Roman citizenship to some who lived under Roman rule  Example: Paul was a Roman citizen
  • 8. Historical Background  The Jews in Palestine resented Roman rule and sought to change the political status of Israel (zealots)   Many Jews wanted to reestablish a Kingdom of Israel under the leadership of a Messiah – king (like David) Messiah (Hebrew) means “anointed one”  Christ is Greek for Messiah
  • 9.  Rome was very concerned about Jewish uprisings and rebellions  Fear of losing control  Fear of violence  Example: Pilate went in Jerusalem during Passover to make sure there were no uprisings or problems in the city
  • 10. Jewish Revolt AD 66-73   In AD 70 Rome put down a Jewish revolt in Palestine (Judea)  Thousands of Jews were killed by Roman soldiers The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans and much of the city was burned
  • 11. The Arch of Titus (Titus was the Roman general who led the attack on Jerusalem ) was erected in Rome to commemorate the victory
  • 12. Rome and the Destruction of the Temple AD 70    The Roman historian, Josephus, claimed that more than 1 million Jews died as a result of Rome’s brutal crackdown. Roman troops burned and sacked the Temple in Jerusalem. The Arch of Titus in Rome has a frieze showing the menorah and silver trumpets from the Temple being paraded into the city .
  • 13.   Jewish prisoners were paraded through the streets of Rome and strangled at the Forum. Roman troops also raised a standard with the image of a pig on the ruins of the Temple in Jerusalem
  • 14.  Thousands of Jews fled Palestine to other regions of the Roman world (Europe, North Africa, other parts of the Middle East)  This is known as the diaspora  Judaism and Christianity continued to spread as a result
  • 15. Languages of the period  Greek and later Latin were the universal languages of the region   New Testament was written in Greek Jews often spoke many languages     Hebrew Aramaic Greek Latin
  • 16. Key terms Messiah (Christ) – anointed one  Gospel – means good news    – the message of Jesus Apostles- those who knew and worked with Jesus – early leaders of the Church
  • 17. Peter – leader of the first century Church – one of the 12 disciples  Paul- missionary to the Gentiles – spread the gospel around the Roman world Both Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome (during the reign of Nero) 
  • 18. The spread of the gospel and Christianity   Roman roads, ships, and mail allowed for the gospel message to be spread throughout the Empire Greek and Latin were universal languages of the time  The New Testament was written in Greek
  • 19. Jesus’ message was very attractive to many people          Love Compassion Humility Justice Morality Salvation for all – Jew and Gentile alike Hope Promise of eternal life- the kingdom of God Respect for women
  • 20.  Jesus’ message was in stark contrast to Roman values of power, wealth, personal glory, and conquest   Jesus to Pilate before his death- “my kingdom is not from this world…” Early Christians were often persecuted and killed in the Roman arenas
  • 21. Christianity and Constantine Constantine - ruled as emperor 306337 AD  Converted to Christianity  Christianity officially legalized as a religion in 313 AD – Edict of Milan 
  • 22. Council of Nicaea was called in 325 AD to unify the Christian Church  Nicene Creed – statement of faith  27 books of the New Testament were compiled and became official 
  • 23. Emperor Constantine
  • 24. Constantine and the Chi Rho
  • 25.    Emperor Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of the Empire in 395 AD Christianity became the only legal religion in the Empire Other religions were banned
  • 26. How did the Christian Church impact the Roman Empire and Western Civilization  Sunday became the official day of rest and worship  Slavery was abolished  Roman (pagan) holidays were transformed into Christian holidays – example: Easter
  • 27.     The gladiator sports ( blood sports) were abolished Family ties were encouraged and grew stronger Hospitals and orphanages were established Rome became center of the Roman Catholic Church and papacy
  • 28. St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome
  • 29. Pope Francis
  • 30. Vatican unveils bone fragments of St. Peter