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  1. 1. Early Christianity- The development of early Christian communities
  2. 2. Life and Times of JesusHomelands
  3. 3. A note on dates and sources• Cross-referencing– E.g. dating Jesus’ birth– All Gospels tell us Herod the Great is King duringJesus’ birth – Roman records=ruler of Judea 37-4BCE – born near end of reign – the massacre ofinfants – Jesus born c. 6-4 BCE– Gospels tell of a great census – common inRoman history – question Imperial census orprovincial census? – c. 6-4 BCE
  4. 4. • Sources:– Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles• Acts written by a doctor-historian “Luke”– Epistles – Paul and other Catholic Letters (Peter)• Important for cross-reference to Acts– Roman sources• E.g. Tacitus Annals; Diadche (The Teachings of theTwelve Apostles); Pliny the Younger Letters
  5. 5. Leadership• Disciples chosen by Jesusto spread the Word of God(Mt 28:16-20)• Simon Peter  chosen byJesus (Mt 16: 17-20) asLeader of the Early Church• Pentecost, 30CE, sparksthe first preaching inJerusalem• Forced to flee Jerusalemfor Antioch (Acts 11:19-30)• Importance: Jesus’ message isbeyond Jerusalem• James, “the brotherof Jesus”, becomesleader of the Churchin Jerusalem(e.g. Acts 15: 13;Galatians 2: 9-12)• c.62 CE – put todeath
  6. 6. ACTS of the Apostles – The Jewish Origins of Christianity• The events of Pentecost lead to receiving grace-filled courage tobegin preaching (Acts 2.1-13)– Referred to as Nazarenes and identified as Jews. They form a SECT ofJudaism– They still obeyed Mosaic Law: the Commandments, kept the Sabbathand the food laws and prayed in the same way as the Jews in theTemple and Synagogues– Their teachings were Jewish, based on the Hebrew Scriptures– Maintained the belief in REVELATION – the belief that God is revealedto people: prophets.– But they celebrated a Eucharist-type meal after prayers, usually insomeone’s house and practiced baptism (ACT 2.37-42)– performed miracles (ACTS 3.1-10)– communal sharing of goods(ACTS 4: 32-37)
  7. 7. Reaction = Persecution• The Jewish Council (Sanhedrin) in Jerusalembecome frustrated that Jesus’ message hascontinued and afraid of Roman repercussions– ACTS 4 (Peter and John before the Council)– ACTS 5.17-42 (The Apostles are persecuted – floggingof Peter and John)• Stephen– First Martyr – c. 35 AD – stoned to death by Jews forteaching Jesus’ words to Jews and Gentiles(ACTS 7.54-60)– Results in Stephen’s followers begin to preach theGospel to whomever would listen
  8. 8. St Paul– Pharisee educated, Roman citizen, Jew– Persecuted the Church in Jerusalem – present atStephen’s stoning– Conversion (ACTS 9) (c. 35-36 CE)– Great Missionary of the Church– Apostle to the Gentiles• Importance of Letters– Gives insight in Paul, into the Christian community,the spread of Christianity, teachings of the earlyChurch, issues within the Church
  9. 9. Divisions between Judaism and Christianity• Council of Jerusalem 49 AD– The missionary work of Peter, Paul and the other disciples spreads Christianity beyondPalestine to the Gentiles (non-Jews)– PROBLEM: did the new converts, the Gentiles, need to be Jewish first and thuscircumcised and follow the dietary laws of the Torah, before baptism?• DIVISION: converted-scribes and Pharisees claimed that circumcision was necessary andcrucial to the law of Moses VERSUS Peter, Paul and other missionaries• DECISION: As long as the new converts abandoned pagan idols, followed God’scommandments and were committed to Jesus’ teachings and ministry, Gentiles couldbe baptised and receive salvation• SIGNIFICANCE: The decision to preach to BOTH GENTILES AND JEWS signalsseparation from Judaism• SIGNIFICANCE: Made it easier for Gentiles to convert to Christianity and forChristianity to spread• Reactions:• Jews – disbelief that the Law of Moses was being ignored. Increased hostility to Christianity• Gentiles – gained a sense of equality with Jewish converts• Reinforced by the failed revolt (66-70), destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans70 AD and the Diaspora (dispersion) of the Jews• ESTIMATES: By 100 CE , there were 500, 000 Christians spread throughout theempire, representing 1% of the Roman population
  10. 10. Spreading the Word• St Paul’s JourneysWellestablishedandmaintainedroad andseanetworksCommonLanguage:GreekThe Roman Empire was peaceful at this time –enabling safe and secure travellingChristians were preaching a simpler and morepersonal message that attracted many peopleChristians cared for the sick duringepidemics as well as the poor andwidowsWomenwere treatedwith morerespect inChristiancommunities– marriageand familylife wasmore stable
  11. 11. The Persecutions• Two directions: Jewishand Roman– Jewish examples: Saul ofTarsus and the Stoning ofStephen• Roman:– Emperor Nero - Blamedthe burning of Rome onthe Christians in 64 CE –martyred in the streetsand in gladiatorialcombats
  12. 12. Constantine• Emperor Constantine’s Conversion (312 AD)– Emperor of the entire Roman Empire– Legitimised Christianity – and became the statereligion (Edict of Milan 313 AD)• Council of Nicaea 325 AD– In response to theological arguments within theChurch– Affirmed the teaching of the trinity: three Personsin the One God: FATHER, SON, HOLY SPIRIT
  13. 13. • Moves the Roman capital to Byzantium in theEast – renamed Constantinople – modernIstanbul– Two centres of Christianity emerge:Constantinople and Rome– According to tradition:• the leader of the Church was the Bishop of Rome –Peter had been the first• Followed by the Bishop of Constantinople• Followed by Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandra• These were the Patriarchs of the ChurchConstantine
  14. 14. From Outlaws to the State Religion• Many rushed to be baptised• Building of public churches– Basilica of St Peter inRome – Sancta Sophia inConstantinople• Increased power andinfluence of the Bishopsand local clergy• In the East: richer and morepowerful• In the West: The bishop ofRome was the recognisedsuccessor of St Peter
  15. 15. Fall of Rome• Barbarian Hordes• 410: Sacking of Rome
  16. 16. East-West Schism 1054 CE• Political Causes– In the West, the Bishop of Rome (now referred toas the Pope) took on more leadership duties– In the East, the Patriarch of Constantinople wasintricately linked with the Emperorformal separationfrom the unity of theChurch
  17. 17. Cause West EastLanguage Latin GreekAuthority Claimed authority based on theirdecedent from St Peter, the firstBishop and leader of the ApostlesClaimed authority as the Patriarchs ofthe capital of the Roman EmpireOr at least equal authorityEucharistandSacraments-Hymns were translated into Latin-Altar remained out the front andvisible to all- Emphasised the mystery of theEucharist concealing the altar behinddecorated screens: “iconostasis”HolyImages- Portraying holy images remainedallowable-Debate arose-Periods were depicting holy images wasbanned-Re-emerged as flat images, paintings,mosaics, or shallow carvings – calledicons-NO STATUESMinisters - Increasingly insisted on celibacy -Ordained married deacons into thepriesthoodNiceneCreed-Debate about the status of the HolySpirit-Originally, the creed stated “whoproceeds from the Father” but lateradded “and the Son”- Fiercely opposed the addition of “andthe Son” and refused to include it
  18. 18. Doctrine of Papal Jurisdiction• The Catholic Doctrine that the Pope and theChurch of Rome (Apostolic See) retainedoverall authority due to their unique positionas heirs to St Peter
  19. 19. East-West Schism 1054• Mutual Excommunication• East: Orthodox Christianity• West: Catholicismbeing cut offfrom thesacramentsand the lifeof theChurch