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Christianity &Judaism

Christianity &Judaism

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Published by mbahellxtr
A SHORT HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY
by Graham King The term ‘Christian’ was first used in Antioch in Syria around 35-40 AD to designate a new religious community there which included both Jewish and non-Jewish adherents and was marked out by it attachment to ‘Christos’, a Greek translation of the Hebrew title ‘Messiah’, used by Jews to designate their expected national savior. In this case it was applied to the prophet-teacher Jesus of Nazareth, executed in Judea, where the movement had originated,
A SHORT HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY
by Graham King The term ‘Christian’ was first used in Antioch in Syria around 35-40 AD to designate a new religious community there which included both Jewish and non-Jewish adherents and was marked out by it attachment to ‘Christos’, a Greek translation of the Hebrew title ‘Messiah’, used by Jews to designate their expected national savior. In this case it was applied to the prophet-teacher Jesus of Nazareth, executed in Judea, where the movement had originated,

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Published by: mbahellxtr on Sep 11, 2012
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by Graham King The term ‘Christian’ was first used in Antioch in Syria around 35-40 AD to designate a new religiouscommunity there which included both Jewish and non-Jewish adherents and was marked out by it attachment to ‘Christos’, a Greek translation of the Hebrew title ‘Messiah’, used by Jews to designatetheir expected national savior. In this case it was applied to the prophet-teacher Jesus of Nazareth,executed in Judea, where the movement had originated, a few years earlier 
The paragraph above and all herein are sourced from
The New Penguin Handbook of LivingReligions
, edited by John R. Hinnells, specifically from the chapter on Christianity written by AndrewWalls. It is a marvelous book, which I recommend. All miss-representations and inaccuracies are mine.
Jerusalem 30-70 AD
Christianity started in Jerusalem, as a variation of Judaism. All its initial followers were Jewish by birthand followed Jewish custom. The marked difference from the rest of the Jewish faith was their followingof the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, know at the time to have been recently crucified. His followersclaimed he had resurrected and was the Messiah, as predicted in the Hebrew Bible (called the OldTestament by Christians) – the rest of the Jewish faith held (and still holds) that the Messiah has not yetcome.The apostles, chosen during his life by Jesus as his closest followers, were the recognized leaders of the movement. Christianity fit into the framework of Jewish history and for many years the apostlesconfined their teaching to the Jewish.It was written in the Jewish scriptures that one of the signs of the Age to Come would be that non-Jews(called Gentiles) would seek the salvation of God, and attempt to convert. Hence it was no surprisewhen Greeks from Antioch were attracted to Jesus, through the talk of Jewish believers.The tradition method of accepting an individual into the Jewish faith required them to observe the Torah(detailed Jewish law) and (for males) to be circumcised. The followers of Jesus changed this, and simplyrequired the individual to express faith in Jesus the Messiah. This understandably accelerated thespread of the new religion.
Greece 70-500 AD
 As the Greeks of Antioch were the first non-Jews to adopt this faith, and the faith now included bothJews and non-Jews, a name was required for the faith, so they became know as Christians.The popularity of Christianity and the amount of Gentiles involved had already placed the new faith inJerusalem on an insecure footing, and the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD to the Roman advance effectivelybroke the link between Christianity and Jerusalem, and the faith became predominately Hellenic.Christianity retained its link to the land of Palestine through the use of Jewish scripture (know as the OldTestament) and the idea of Jerusalem as the land of Jesus, but most of it’s followers now had never been to Palestine, and most inhabitants of Jerusalem were not Christians.In Greece, the term Messiah, meaningful only in a Jewish context, changed to Lord. More crucially,Christian thinking entered into the intellectual discourse of Greek philosophy. Early Christianorganization had been based around a synagogue. Now, influenced by Greek civic organization, theyswitched to a system of locally linked hierarchies each under a bishop. The bishops were seen as the
 
successors of the apostles, and were seen as the ones to interpret the voice of God. They consultedregularly and helped keep ‘orthodoxy’, or ‘catholicity’ – a uniform standard of Christianity.The Christians allegiance to Christ prevented them from participating in the veneration of the Romanemperor, and they frequently refused military service. The growing numbers of Christians in the third andfourth century brought about increasing persecution from the Roman empire which, for the reasonsmentioned previously, viewed them as disloyal, potentially dangerous, and outside of their control.
Rome 313-500 AD
 All this changed dramatically when Emperor Constantine (after whom Constantinople was named) cameto power in 313 AD. He at first tolerated then favored Christianity, and by degrees it became the statereligion of the Roman empire.Number of converts grew rapidly, attracted by the idea of moral improvement, the majesty and solemnityof Christian worship, the close relationships within the church (a factor which differentiated the followersof Jesus from the other Jews from the early days was their habit of dining together), and for some thepresentation of Christianity as a coherent philosophy (evolved in Greece) offering what Plato declared asthe true aim of philosophy; the vision of God.The church of the Western Roman empire adopted Latin as the language of worship, while the EasternEmpire continued to worship in Greek. After the first four ‘ecumenical’ (world-wide) bishops councils, theWestern church ceased to participate. This was the first visible split, which gives us today the GreekOrthodox and the Roman Catholic versions of Christianity.The Kingdom of Armenia had become a Christian state a few years before the Roman Empire, as hadseveral small Mesopotamian states. By 500AD there were also sizeable Christian communities in southIndia, southern Arabia, the Sudan, the Nile valley, southern Africa and the Persian empire. Christianity’sstronghold was now in Rome, but it had already spread quite widely.
Barbarians 500-1100 AD
By 500AD Christianity was closely coupled with the literary, intellectual and technological prowess of theRoman Empire, and spread with it. Dedicated people preaching the faith and ordinary people goingabout their daily lives both served this expansion, into Eastern Africa and significantly into the North of Europe. As the Empire crumbled Christianity lived on amongst the people. Charlemagne, King of the Franksspread it by force to the Saxons, and Olav Trygvason spread it to the whole of Norway as he assumedpower over it. Often whole communities adopted it when their leaders did, and Christian rules got writteninto local law. In parallel, official and un-official church missions and holy men continued their work.The switch from local gods and spirits to the God of what was becoming the Christian Empire was madeeasier by the technological and scientific advancements it was seen to bring with it (which came from theRoman Empire), the simplicity of its spiritual universe (only one God, and clear channels for him tocommunicate through), and the ease with which local practices could be mapped onto Christianity,allowing the symbols to change but the beliefs to continue (for example what had been called spiritswere now called saints). Teaching and scholarship spread, primarily through monasteries, where thelanguage was Latin and the subject was the scriptures.The newer converts saw Rome as the source of Christianity, and Rome’s connection with Peter (leader of the apostles) gave it a special spiritual significance. Rulers such as Charlemagne pressed for a viewof Christendom, the whole of Western Europe, as one Christian Empire under a ‘universal’ church based
 
in Rome. The bishop of Rome (also called the Pope) was seen as the successor of the apostle Peter and earthly representative of Christ.In the East, the Roman Empire still existed, based in Constantinople. The spiritual leader here was stillthe Emperor, and the language was Greek. This was being pressed from the south by the expansion of the newfound faith of Islam. The old heartland’s of Christianity, Egypt and Syria, had already converted,and Christianity lives on to this day there as a minority faith. Eastern Christianity spread north intoRussian (founding the Russian Orthodox church in Kiev in 988) as it lost ground to Islam to the south.Islam to the south inherited much of the legacy of Greco-Roman civilization, and by now the typicalChristian was a northern farmer. The Christian stronghold was Europe. It was key in establishing literaryand learning habits amongst the ex-barbarians of Europe, and in uniting them (although they still fought,they now shared a common faith).
Western Europe 1100-1600 AD
With all of Western Europe under rule of law based on Christianity, and with Latin as the officiallanguage of learning, Christianity was seen as territorial. From this emerged the idea of a crusade totake back the holy land. These happened with varied success, but in 1204 Western crusaders lootedConstantinople, firmly dividing Eastern and Western Christianity, and setting the stage for the fall of theEastern Roman Empire to the Turks in 1453. With that, the final vestiges of the Hellenic phase of Christianity disappeared. Ironically, at around the same time grew a renewed interest in studying thescriptures in their earlier Greek version (as opposed to the Latin translations).The most important technological development of this period was the printing press. The wider availability of the scriptures in local languages, and the amount and extent of the corruption andmanipulation that had spread in the higher levels of Christianity (which were often the higher levels of local power), brought about the Reformation period.The Catholic, or conservative reformation, continued the view that the one and only true center of worship was the church of Rome, with the Pope at its head. The Protestant reformation held thatsalvation is by grace only, received through faith only, and the guide to it is the scripture only. They didnot recognize Roman rule, and encouraged local, regional and national ‘Reformed’ churches. TheCatholic view was a significantly softened version of the ‘three onlys’. Martin Luther (1483-1546) andJohn Calvin (1509-64) were originally leaders of local reform movements. A third and more radical reform movement, the Anabaptist movement, also dates from this period. Theyencouraged living outside the civil community and to a strict Christian way of life (according to Christianlaw as opposed to civil law). They re-created the image of the persecuted Christian and identified thechurch with its members rather than an institution or building. A century of conflict between Catholic and Protestant ensued (the Anabaptists were a small minority).Eventually Southern Europe settled as Catholic, with Latin as the primary language of worship, andNorthern Europe as Protestant, with worship in local languages.To the East Christianity spread to Bulgaria, Serbia and Russia, and the fall of Constantinople shifted thecenter of the Orthodox church to Rome.
Overseas expansion 1600-1920 AD
From around 1500 Spain, Portugal, France, Holland and England all acquired vast maritime empires.With the Western people went Christianity. The territorial model of Christianity, that the leader of the

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