Origins in Judaism
• Romans were polytheistic. (Mythology)
• When the Romans took over a land they
allowed people to worship their gods as long as
they also honored the Roman gods and the
“divine spirit” of the emperor.
• Some Jews known as zealots, believed they
had to revolt to protect their belief in only one
God and create their own nation.
• Other Jews believed that God would soon send
a messiah or savior to lead Jews to freedom.
• In 66-70AD they revolted against Rome.
• The Romans then sacked the holy city of
Jerusalem and destroyed all of the Jewish
temple except the western wall. Wailing Wall.
• In 135AD Hadrian banished all the Jews from
the holy city of Jerusalem. Diaspora
• Rabbis –Jewish scholars who interpreted
scripture and learned Jewish Law. Rabbis
became the leaders of Jewish
communities outside of
Beliefs of Christianity
and Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth
Jesus began teaching around 27AD.
According to the Gospels: Jesus traveled the
countryside with his followers and disciples,
performing miracles, and defended the poor.
His life & teachings are recorded in the
gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
The gospels make up the first 4 books of the
new testament of the BIBLE. (Holy Book)
• Jesus’ teachings were derived from
• He emphasized that:
• People must love God above all else.
• They should love others as they love
• There is One true God. Monotheism
• God cares for all people; especially
those that are suffering
• Romans feared Jesus would lead an uprising.
• Jesus was arrested, put on trial by Pontius
Pilate (the governor), and crucified.
• According to the Gospels: Jesus rose from the
dead, remained on Earth for 40 days, and then
went to heaven.
• His followers then called him
Jesus Christ, believed he was
the Messiah, and had died for their
sins.(christos = Greek word for Messiah)
• Followers believed through this they
could be redeemed from God’s final judgment.
• Christianity was appealing because it accepted
everyone, poor and rich alike and provided an
• It was spread by the Apostles, including Paul,
throughout the Roman Empire
• The Roman government viewed Christianity
as a Jewish sect.
• Romans angry:
--Christians converted people
--spoke out against polytheism=Roman Beliefs
• The Romans outlawed Christianity.
Martyrs – people put to death for their beliefs.
• But after the 5 Good Emperors, Rome
entered a time of violence and unrest.
• Realizing they could not punish all
Christians, Rome accepted Christianity.
• It was adopted and legalized by Emperor
Constantine after a successful battle.
• Theodosius made Christianity the official
religion of Rome
Impact of the Church of Rome
in the late Roman Empire
• The Christian church became more
organized and became known as the
Roman Catholic Church.
• Christian doctrine was established by
early church councils
• Priests conducted services and
• Bishops were above priests and headed
the church in each city
• Patriarchs of these cities became Pope (latin
word meaning “father”)
• Peter, Jesus’ disciple was considered the
• Church became an example of moral
• Loyalty to the church became more
important than loyalty to the Emperor
• Church became main unifying force of