Christianity after christ

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For Studies of Religion 1U 2013 topic Christianity

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Christianity after christ

  1. 1. Christianity after Christ
  2. 2. Historical Sources • We have quite detailed historical sources for the early years of Christianity after Christ… • The Acts of the Apostles was a second book written by the Greek physician Luke • Many of the epistles (letters) refer to incidents, heresies, issues, people and churches • As Christianity became a growing force other writers and commentators started to make reference to it… not always in a complimentary way!
  3. 3. Stages in the spread of Christianity
  4. 4. Impact of Paul of Tarsus
  5. 5. Context for early Christianity • Pax Romana (the Peace of Roam) meant all of Europe and the middle east were relatively stable • Roman obsession for communication meant linking roads were built • Romans allowed freedom of religion (in general) though strongly suppressed any religion thought to attack their power
  6. 6. Religion • Romans: polytheist… the official religion • Greek: wide spread due to earlier Greek empire… polytheist • Romans blended or identified Greek gods as Roman gods • Other cults and local religions were plentiful • Practices included idol worship, talismans, witchcraft, necromancy, temple prosititution, sacrifice, superstition
  7. 7. Opposition • Jewish synagogues and leaders were hostile to what was seen as a false messiah cult • Local religions were hostile to the idea of losing revenue and adherents • Some people saw Christianity as a interesting new way for them to seek power (or extort money) and claimed to be Christian exorcists, healers or teachers • All of this can be read about in Acts 19 • Romans, while initially without interest, became concerned as numbers grew, despite the emphasis in Christianity on peace and personal holiness • Nero persecuted Christians in Rome after the great fire of 64 CE
  8. 8. Roman Empire • The roman empire reached its maximum coverage in the rule of Trajan (to 117 AD) • There were various crises in the 3rd C • Christianity became the official religion in 4th C under Constantine • Western part collapsed in 5th C

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