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History of early Christianity

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is a historical overview of early Christianity; for a description of early Christianity itself, see Early Christianity.

Funerary stele of Licinia Amias on marble. One of the earliest Christian inscriptions found, it is from the early 3rdcentury Vatican necropolisarea, Rome.

Main article: History of Christianity See also: History of late ancient Christianity The history of early Christianity covers Christianity before the First Council of Nicaea in 325. The first part of the period, during the lifetimes of the Twelve Apostles, is traditionally believed to have been initiated by the Great Commission of Jesus (though some scholars dispute its historicity), and is called the Apostolic Age. The earliest followers of Jesus composed an apocalyptic, Second Temple Jewish sect, which historians refer to as Jewish Christianity. Though Paul's influence on Christian thinking is said to be more significant than any other New Testament author,[1] the relationship of Paul of Tarsus and Judaism is still disputed today. Early Christianity gradually grew apart from Judaism during the first two centuries and established itself as a predominantly gentile religion in the Roman Empire. In the Ante-Nicene Period (literally before the First Council of Nicaea in 325), following the Apostolic Age, both incredible diversity and unifying characteristics lacking in the apostolic period emerged simultaneously. Part of the unifying trend was an increasingly harsh rejection of Judaism and Jewish practices. By the beginning of the Nicene period, the Christian faith had spread throughout Western Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, and to North Africa and the East, seeEarly centers of Christianity. The First Council of Nicaea in 325 and the promotion of Christianity by Emperor Constantine I in the Roman Empire are commonly used to mark the end of early Christianity, beginning the era of the first seven Ecumenical Councils.

Contents
[hide]

1 Appellation

o o

1.1 Christian 1.2 Other names

2 Origins

o o o

2.1 Background 2.2 Ministry of Jesus 2.3 Apostolic Age

2.3.1 Judaism and Christianity

3 Post-apostolic period 4 Spread of Christianity 5 See also 6 Footnotes 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

[edit]Appellation This section may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. Please consider splitting content into sub-articles and/or condensing it. (June 2010) [edit]Christian
The term "Christians" (Greek ) occurs three times in the New Testament. The disciples were first called "Christians" in Antioch (as related in Acts 11:26). The term also appears in Acts 26:28, used by Herod Agrippa II. In the final New Testament usage, the First Epistle of Peter tells believers not to be distraught if they suffer because the name was applied to them (1Peter 4:14-16). Ignatius of Antioch was the first Christian to use the label in self-reference and made the earliest recorded use of the term Christianity (Greek ), around 100 AD.[2] "Christ" is a modified transcription of the Greek word christos, meaning "anointed one". The form of the Greek term (Christianoi) indicates it was a transcription of a Latin word. Some scholars hold that it was most likely coined by a Roman official in Antioch, which was the seat of Roman administration in the eastern Mediterranean,[3] but in the view of others this surmise goes beyond the evidence and the more common view among scholars is that the name arose among the general populace as a means of designating the members of the new religious group.[4] The suffix (Latin -iani, Greek -ianoi) means, among other things,[5] "belonging to the party of", much like the suffixes -er and -ite are used in modern English.[6] It (-iani, -ianoi) was a standard wording used for

followers of a particular person (such as Pompeiani, Caesariani, Herodiani,[7] etc.). It was this "follower" wording that led Claudius to blame "Chrestus" for the disputes among Roman Jews that led to their expulsion from Rome in c. 49.[8] Suetonius's report that it was on account of "Chrestus" that the Jews were expelled from Rome in 49 was due to the use by some pagans (for whom "Christ" was an unusual and meaningless name, while "Chrestos" was a common name) of "Chrestians" in place of the term "Christians".[9] According to the account by Tacitus in his Annals, "Christians" were a group which was punished for the Great Fire of Rome, in order to divert blame from Nero. The original text of the earliest extant manuscript, from which the other existing manuscripts probably are derived, suggests that Tacitus wrote "Chrestianos", which was a vulgar form of the name "Christianos", likely derived from the most common name for slaves ("Chrestus", which means "useful"). In the same passage Tacitus used the name "Christus", not "Chrestus", to refer to the founder of the "Chrestianos", noting that he was a Jew executed as a criminal under Pontius Pilate.[10] Accordingly, "Christians" (with the variant "Chrestians") was by 49 already a familiar term in the Latinspeaking capital of the Roman Empire. As the church spread throughout Greek-speaking Gentile lands, the appellation took prominence and eventually became the standard reference for followers of the faith. James Tabor suggests that Christian (in essence meaning a "Messianist") was an attempt to approximate Nazarene in Greek.[11] Modern historians debate whether or not the Roman government distinguished between Christians and Jews prior to Nerva's modification of the Fiscus Judaicus in 96. From then on, practising Jews paid the tax, Christians did not.[12]

[edit]Other

names

A common self-reference among the early Christians was "the disciples", meaning "the learners" or "the followers of a teaching". For example, "disciples" is the most common appellation used in the Acts of the Apostles.[13] The same book several times refers to the sect itself as "the Way" (Acts 9:2; 19:9; 19:23; 22:4; 24:14; 24:22). The terms "Nazarene" and "Galilean", were used as polemics by opponents of Christianity. "Nazarene" is one of early names for followers of Jesus, as evidenced in Acts 24:5. Tertullus, a lawyer for the Jewish high priest Ananias (as noted in Acts 24:1) called Paul "a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes". Jesus was called "the Nazarene", as mentioned in the biblical books of Matthew, John and Luke-Acts. According to Matthew 2:23, this is because of his relation with the town of Nazareth.[14] According to Philip Esler, the Jewish term Notzrim (Nazarenes) is the subject of considerable debate. Exactly how broadly the appellation applied to followers of Jesus, or when exactly it was adopted, is believed to be unknown. Esler states that it may or may not have referred to all Christians, but certainly referred to Jewish Christians.[15]

[edit]Origins

Main article: Origins of Christianity See also Jesus in the Talmud

[edit]Background
See also: Cultural and historical background of Jesus Jewish messianism has its root in the apocalyptic literature of the 2nd century BC to 1st century BC, promising a future "anointed" leader or Messiah to resurrect the Israelite "Kingdom of God", in place of the foreign rulers of the time. This corresponded with the Maccabean Revolt directed against the Seleucids. Following the fall of the Hasmonean kingdom, it was directed against the Roman administration ofIudaea Province, which, according to Josephus, began with the formation of the Zealots during the Census of Quirinius of 6 AD, though full scale open revolt did not occur till the First JewishRoman War in 66 AD. Historian H. H. Ben-Sasson has proposed that the "Crisis under Caligula" (37-41) was the "first open break" between Rome and the Jews.[16] Judaism at this time was divided into antagonistic factions. The main camps were the Pharisees, Saducees, and Zealots, but also included other less influential sects. This led to further unrest, and the 1st century BC and 1st century AD saw a number of charismatic religious leaders, contributing to what would become the Mishnah of Rabbinic Judaism, including Yochanan ben Zakai and Hanina Ben Dosa.

[edit]Ministry

of Jesus

Main article: Ministry of Jesus The Gospel accounts show the ministry of Jesus as falling into this pattern of sectarian preachers with devoted disciples. According to the Gospel writers, Jesus preached for a period of one to three years when he was in his early 30s, in the early 1st century AD. The gospels give Jesus' method of teaching as involving parables, metaphor, allegory, proverbs, and a small number of direct sermons such as theSermon on the Mount. His ministry of teaching, healing the sick and disabled and performing various miracles culminated in his execution at the hands of the Roman authorities in Jerusalem (but see alsoResponsibility for the death of Jesus). Shortly thereafter, a strong belief in Jesus' bodily resurrection spread rapidly through Jerusalem, beginning with his closest disciples, which led up to the traditional Day of Pentecost. This event provoked the Apostles to embark on a number of missionary campaigns to spread the "Good News", following the Great Commission handed down by Jesus.[citation needed] Most New Testament scholars agree that Peter had some sort of special position among the Twelve.

[edit]Apostolic

Age

Main article: Apostolic Age

The Cenacle on Mount Zion, claimed to be the location of the Last Supper andPentecost. Bargil Pixner[17] claims the original Church of the Apostles is located under the current structure.

The Christian church sees "the Apostolic Age" as the foundation upon which its whole history is founded.[18] This period, roughly dated between the years 30 and 100 AD, produced writings traditionally attributed to the direct followers of Jesus Christ (the New Testament and Apostolic Fathers collections) and is thus associated with the apostles and their contemporaries.[citation needed] Earliest Christianity took the form of a Jewish eschatological faith. The apostles traveled to Jewish communities around the Mediterranean Sea, and attracted Jewish converts.[19] Within 10 years of the death of Jesus, apostles had spread Christianity from Jerusalem to Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Thessalonica, Cyprus, Crete, and Rome.[20] The book of Acts reports that the early followers continued daily Temple attendance and traditional Jewish home prayer. Other passages in the canonical gospels reflect a similar observance of traditional Jewish piety such as fasting, reverence for the Torah (generally translated as "the Law" in English translations of the Bible) and observance of Jewish holy days.[21][22] In the mid-1st century, in Antioch, Paul of Tarsus began preaching to Gentiles.[19] The new converts did not follow all "Jewish Law" (generally understood to meanMosaic Law as the Halakha was still being formalized at the time) and refused to be circumcised,[23] as circumcision was considered repulsive in Hellenistic culture.[24] The resulting circumcision controversy was addressed at the Council of Jerusalem about the year 50. Paul, who was vocally supported by Peter, argued that circumcision was not a necessary practice.[25] The council agreed that converts could forgo circumcision, but other aspects of "Jewish Law" were deemed necessary.[26] Four years after the Council of Jerusalem, Paul wrote to the Galatians about the issue, which had become a serious controversy in their region.

According to Alister McGrath, Paul considered it a great threat to his doctrine of salvation through faith in Jesus and addressed the issue with great detail inGalatians 3.[25] The rift between Christianity and Judaism continued to grow and the relationship between Paul of Tarsus and Judaism and the topic of Biblical law in Christianity is still disputed today. The Council of Jamnia c. 85 is often stated to have condemned all who claimed the Messiah had already come, and Christianity in particular. However, the formulated prayer in question (birkat ha-minim) is considered by other scholars to be unremarkable in the history of Jewish and Christian relations. There is a paucity of evidence for Jewish persecution of "heretics" in general, or Christians in particular, in the period between 70 and 135. It is probable that the condemnation of Jamnia included many groups, of which the Christians were but one, and did not necessarily mean excommunication. That some of the later church fathers only recommended against synagogue attendance makes it improbable that an anti-Christian prayer was a common part of the synagogue liturgy. Jewish Christians continued to worship in synagogues for centuries. [27][28][29]

Coin of Nerva "The blackmail of the Jewish tax lifted"

[edit]Judaism and Christianity


See also: Split of early Christianity and Judaism During the late 1st century, Judaism was a legal religion with the protection of Roman law, worked out in compromise with the Roman state over two centuries, see Anti-Judaism in the Roman Empire for details. In contrast, Christianity was not legalized till the 313 Edict of Milan. Observant Jews had special rights, including the privilege of abstaining from civic pagan rites. Christians were initially identified with the Jewish religion by the Romans, but as they became more distinct, Christianity became a problem for Roman rulers. About 98 the emperor Nerva decreed that Christians did not have to pay the annual tax upon the Jews, effectively recognizing them as distinct from Rabbinic Judaism. This opened the way to Christians being persecuted for disobedience to the emperor, as they refused to worship the state pantheon.[30][31][32]

James the Just, whose judgment was adopted in the decree of Acts 15:19-29, c. 50 AD.

Jewish Christians were among the earliest followers of Jesus and an important part of Judean society during the mid- to late 1st century. This movement was centered inJerusalem (possibly in the Cenacle) and led by James the Just. They held faithfully to the Torah and Jewish law (which was still somewhat fluid in this time period), including acceptance of Gentile converts possibly based on a version of the Noachide laws (Acts 15 and Acts 21). Disputes over the Mosaic law generated intense controversy in early Christianity. This is particularly notable in the mid-1st century, when the circumcision controversy came to the fore. The issue was addressed at the Council of Jerusalem where Paul made an argument that circumcision was not a necessary practice, vocally supported by Peter, as documented in Acts 15. This position received widespread support and was summarized in a letter circulated in Antioch. Four years after the Council of Jerusalem, Paul wrote to the Galatians about the issue, which had become a serious controversy in their region. According to Alister McGrath, Paul considered it a great threat to his doctrine of salvation through faith in Jesus and addressed the issue with great detail in Galatians 3.[25] There was a slowly growing chasm between Christians and Jews, rather than a sudden split. However, certain events are perceived as pivotal in the growing rift between Christianity and Judaism. The Council of Jamnia c. 85 is often stated to have condemned all who claimed the Messiah had already come, and Christianity in particular. However, the formulated prayer in question (birkat haminim) is considered by other scholars to be unremarkable in the history of Jewish and Christian relations. There is a paucity of evidence for Jewish persecution of "heretics" in general, or Christians in particular, in the period between 70 and 135. It is probable that the condemnation of Jamnia included many groups, of which the Christians were but one, and did not necessarily mean excommunication. That some of the later church fathers only recommended against synagogue attendance makes it

improbable that an anti-Christian prayer was a common part of the synagogue liturgy. Jewish Christians continued to worship in synagogues for centuries.[27][28][29] The true end of ancient Jewish Christianity occurred only in the 5th century. Gentile Christianity remained the sole strand of orthodoxy and imposed itself on the previously Jewish Christian sanctuaries, taking full control of those houses of worship by the end of the 5th century.[33]

[edit]Post-apostolic

period

Main article: Ante-Nicene Period

Origen, one of the Ante-Nicene Fathers.

Christianity throughout the 2nd and 3rd centuries have generally been less studied than the periods that came before and after it. This is reflected in that it is usually referred to in terms of the adjacent periods with names as such "post-apostolic" (after the period of 1st century formative Christianity) and "ante-Nicene" (before the First Council of Nicaea). However, the 2nd and 3rd centuries are quite important in the development of Christianity.[34] There is a relative lack of material for this period, compared with the later Church Father period. For example, a widely used collection (Ante-Nicene Fathers) includes most 2nd- and 3rd-century writings in nine volumes. This includes the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, Apologists, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus of Lyons, Origen of Alexandria and theNew Testament Apocrypha, among others. In contrast, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (consisting mainly of Augustine, Jerome and Chrysostom) fills twenty-eight volumes.[35] The developments of this time are "multidirectional and not easily mapped". While the preceding and following periods were diverse, they possessed unifying characteristics lacking in this period. 1stcentury Christianity possessed a basic cohesion based on the Pauline church movement, Jewish character, and self-identification as a messianic movement. The 2nd and 3rd centuries saw a sharp divorce from its early roots. There was an explicit rejection of then-modern Judaism and Jewish culture by the end of the 2nd century, with a growing body of adversus Judaeos literature. 4th- and 5thcentury Christianity experienced imperial pressure and developed strong episcopal and unifying structure. The ante-Nicene period was without such authority and was more diverse. Many variations

in this time defy neat categorizations, as various forms of Christianity interacted in a complex fashion to form the dynamic character of Christianity in this era.[36] By the early 2nd century, Christians had agreed on a basic list of writings that would serve as their canon,[37] see Development of the New Testament canon, but interpretations of these works differed, often wildly.[38] In part to ensure a greater consistency in their teachings, by the end of the 1st century many Christian communities evolved a more structured hierarchy, with a central bishop, whose opinion held more weight in that city.[39] By 160, most communities had a bishop, who based his authority on the chain of succession from the apostles to himself.[40] Bishops still had a freedom of interpretation. The competing versions of Christianity led many bishops who subscribed to what is now the mainstream version of Christianity to rally more closely together.[41]Bishops would call synods to discuss problems or doctrinal differences in certain regions; the first of these to be documented occurred in Roman Asia in about 160. Some bishops began to take on a more authoritative role for a region; in many cases, the bishop of the church located in the capital city of a province became the central authority for all churches in that province. These more centralized authorities were known as metropolitan churches headed by a Metropolitan bishop. The churches in Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome exerted authority over groups of these metropolitan churches.[42]

[edit]Spread

of Christianity

Spread of Christianity in Europe to AD 325 Spread of Christianity in Europe to AD 600 *The map does not accurately reflect the conversion of the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia to Christianity in 301 AD

Main article: Early centers of Christianity

Early Christianity spread from city to city in the Hellenized Roman Empire and beyond into East Africa and South Asia. Apostlestraveled extensively, establishing communities in major cities and regions throughout the Empire. The original church communities were founded by apostles (see Apostolic see) and numerous other Christians soldiers, merchants, and preachers [43] in northern Africa, Asia Minor, Armenia, Arabia, Greece, and other places.[44][45][46] Over 40 were established by the year 100,[44][46] many inAsia Minor, such as the seven churches of Asia. By the end of the 1st century, Christianity had already spread to Greece and Italy, some say as far as India, serving as foundations for the expansive spread of Christianity throughout the world. In 301 AD, the Kingdom of Armenia became the first to declare Christianity as its state religion, following the conversion of the Royal House of the Arsacids in Armenia. Despite sporadic incidents of local persecution and a few periods of persecution on an empire-wide scale, the Christian religion continued its spread throughout the Mediterranean Basin.[47] There is no agreement as for how Christianity managed to spread so successfully prior to the Edict of Milan and Constantine favoring the creed and it is probably not possible to identify a single cause for this. Traditionally this has not been the subject of much research, as from a theological point of view the success was simply the natural consequence of people meeting what theologians considered the truth. In the influential book, The Rise of Christianity, Rodney Stark argues that various sociological factors which made Christianity improving the quality of life of its adherents were crucial for its triumph over paganism.[48] Another factor that may have contributed to the success of Christianity was how the Christian promise of a general resurrection of the dead combined the traditional Greek belief that true immortality depended on the survival of the body with practical explanations of how this was going to actually happen at the end of times.[49]

[edit]See

also

History of Christianity Christianity and Judaism Persecution of Christians in the New Testament Hellenistic Judaism

[edit]Footnotes

1. 2. 3. 4.

^ Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church ed. F.L. Lucas (Oxford) entry on Paul ^ Elwell & Comfort (2001). Pp 266, 828. ^ Bockmuehl (2001). Pg 198. ^ Tim Hegedus, "Naming Christians in Antiquity", in Everett Ferguson, The Church of Christ: A Biblical Ecclesiology for Today (Eerdmans 1996 ISBN 0-8028-4189-9), p. 177

5.

^ Basically, the Latin suffix only means "connected with", asAcilianus, pertaining to Acilius; Aelianus, originating from an Aelius; 'apianus', belonging to bees; Asianus, an Asian.

6. 7.

^ Barclay (1999). Pp 223-224. ^ "The political family so named for its support of the Herod family is described by Josephus, the Jewish historian, as wanting to put Herod on the throne instead of the Maccabean Antigonus in 40 BC. The Herodians are mentioned on two occasions in the Gospels"(Ronald Brownrigg, Who's who in the New Testament, p. 87)

8. 9.

^ Dunn (2003). Pg 26. ^ Elwell & Comfort (2001), p. 266

10. ^ Theissen & Merz (1998), pp. 81-3 11. ^ Tabor (1998). 12. ^ Wylen, Stephen M., The Jews in the Time of Jesus: An Introduction, Paulist Press (1995), ISBN 0-8091-3610-4, Pp 190-192.; Dunn, James D.G., Jews and Christians: The Parting of the Ways, A.D. 70 to 135, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing (1999), ISBN 0-8028-4498-7, Pp 33-34.; Boatwright, Mary Taliaferro & Gargola, Daniel J & Talbert, Richard John Alexander, The Romans: From Village to Empire, Oxford University Press (2004), ISBN 0-19-511875-8, p. 426.; 13. ^ Esler (2004). Pg 157. 14. ^ Esler (2004). Pp 157-158. 15. ^ Esler (2004). Pg 158. 16. ^ H.H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1976, ISBN 0-67439731-2, The Crisis Under Gaius Caligula, pages 254-256: "The reign of Gaius Caligula (37-41) witnessed the first open break between the Jews and theJulio-Claudian empire. Until then if one accepts Sejanus' heyday and the trouble caused by the census after Archelaus' banishment there was usually an atmosphere of understanding between the Jews and the empire ... These relations deteriorated seriously during Caligula's reign, and, though after his death the peace was outwardly re-established, considerable bitterness remained on both sides. ... Caligula ordered that a golden statue of himself be set up in the Temple in Jerusalem. ... Only Caligula's death, at the hands of Roman conspirators (41), prevented the outbreak of a Jewish-Roman war that might well have spread to the entire East." 17. ^ Bargil Pixner, The Church of the Apostles found on Mount Zion ,Biblical Archaeology Review 16.3 May/June 1990 [1] 18. ^ Brown (1993). Pg 10. 19. ^
a b

Bokenkotter, p. 18.

20. ^ Duffy, p. 3. 21. ^ White (2004). Pg 127. 22. ^ Ehrman (2005). Pg 187. 23. ^ Bokenkotter, p. 19. 24. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Circumcision: In Apocryphal and Rabbinical Literature: "Contact with Grecian life, especially at the games of the arena [which involved nudity], made this distinction

obnoxious to the Hellenists, or antinationalists; and the consequence was their attempt to appear like the Greeks byepispasm ("making themselves foreskins"; I Macc. i. 15; Josephus, "Ant." xii. 5, 1; Assumptio Mosis, viii.; I Cor. vii. 18; , Tosef., Shab. xv. 9; Yeb. 72a, b; Yer. Peah i. 16b; Yeb. viii. 9a). All the more did the law-observing Jews defy the edict of Antiochus Epiphanes prohibiting circumcision (I Macc. i. 48, 60; ii. 46); and the Jewish women showed their loyalty to the Law, even at the risk of their lives, by themselves circumcising their sons.";Hodges, Frederick, M. (2001). "The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome: Male Genital Aesthetics and Their Relation to Lipodermos, Circumcision, Foreskin Restoration, and the Kynodesme" (PDF). The Bulletin of the History of Medicine 75(Fall 2001): 375 405. doi:10.1353/bhm.2001.0119.PMID 11568485. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 25. ^
a b c

McGrath (2006). Pp 174-175.

26. ^ Bokenkotter, p. 20. 27. ^ 28. ^ 29. ^


a b a b a b

Wylen (1995). Pg 190. Berard (2006). Pp 112-113. Wright (1992). Pp 164-165.

30. ^ Wylen (1995). Pp 190-192. 31. ^ Dunn (1999). Pp 33-34. 32. ^ Boatwright (2004). Pg 426. 33. ^ Dauphin (1993). Pp 235, 240-242. 34. ^ Siker (2000). Pg 231. 35. ^ Siker (2000). Pp 231-32. 36. ^ Siker (2000). Pp 232-34. 37. ^ Bokenkotter, pp. 3435. 38. ^ Bokenkotter, p. 32. 39. ^ Duffy, pp. 910. 40. ^ Bokenkotter, p. 33. 41. ^ Duffy, p. 13. 42. ^ Bokenkotter, p. 35. 43. ^ Franzen 29 44. ^
a b

Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church(2004), p. 18, quote: "The story of how

this tiny community of believers spread to many cities of the Roman Empire within less than a century is indeed a remarkable chapter in the history of humanity." 45. ^ Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), pp. 1920 46. ^
a b

Hitchcock, Geography of Religion (2004), p. 281, quote: "By the year 100, more than

40 Christian communities existed in cities around the Mediterranean, including two in North Africa, at Alexandria and Cyrene, and several in Italy."

47. ^ Michael Whitby, et al. eds. Christian Persecution, Martyrdom and Orthodoxy (2006) online edition 48. ^ Stark (1996) 49. ^ Endsj (2009), pp. 159-217

[edit]References

Barclay, William. The Apostles' Creed. Westminster John Knox Press (1999). ISBN 0-664-25826-3. Berard, Wayne Daniel. When Christians Were Jews (That Is, Now). Cowley Publications (2006). ISBN 1-56101-280-7.

Boatwright, Mary Taliaferro & Gargola, Daniel J & Talbert, Richard John Alexander. The Romans: From Village to Empire. Oxford University Press (2004). ISBN 0-19-511875-8.

Bockmuehl, Markus N.A. The Cambridge Companion to Jesus. Cambridge University Press (2001). ISBN 0-521-79678-4.

Bokenkotter, Thomas (2004). A Concise History of the Catholic Church. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-505841.

Brown, Schuyler. The Origins of Christianity: A Historical Introduction to the New Testament. Oxford University Press (1993). ISBN 0-19-826207-8.

Dauphin, C. "De l'glise de la circoncision l'glise de la gentilit sur une nouvelle voie hors de l'impasse". Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. Liber Annuus XLIII (1993).

Duffy, Eamon (1997). Saints and Sinners, a History of the Popes. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-30007332-1.

Dunn, James D.G. Jews and Christians: The Parting of the Ways, A.D. 70 to 135 . Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing (1999). ISBN 0-8028-4498-7.

Dunn, James D.G. The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul. Cambridge University Press (2003). ISBN 0521-78694-0.

Ehrman, Bart D. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. HarperCollins (2005). ISBN 0-06-073817-0.

Elwell, Walter A. & Comfort, Philip Wesley. Tyndale Bible Dictionary. Tyndale House Publishers (2001). ISBN 0-8423-7089-7.

Endsj, Dag istein. Greek Resurrection Beliefs and the Success of Christianity . Palgrave Macmillan (2009). ISBN 978-0-230-61729-2.

Esler, Phillip F. The Early Christian World. Routledge (2004). ISBN 0-415-33312-1. Hunt, Emily Jane. Christianity in the Second Century: The Case of Tatian . Routledge (2003). ISBN 0415-30405-9.

McGrath, Alister E. Christianity: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing (2006). ISBN 1-4051-0899-1. Siker, Jeffrey S. "Christianity in the Second and Third Centuries", Chapter Nine in The Early Christian World. Philip F. Esler, editor. Routledge (2000). ISBN 0-415-24141-3.

Stark, Rodney. The Rise of Christianity. Princeton University Press (1996). ISBN 0-06-067701-5. Tabor, James D. "Ancient Judaism: Nazarenes and Ebionites",The Jewish Roman World of Jesus. Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (1998).

Taylor, Joan E. Christians and the Holy Places: The Myth of Jewish-Christian Origins. Oxford University Press (1993). ISBN 0-19-814785-6.

Theissen, Gerd & Merz, Annette. The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide. Fortress Press (1998). ISBN 0-8006-3122-6.

White, L. Michael. From Jesus to Christianity. HarperCollins (2004).ISBN 0-06-052655-6. Wright, N.T. The New Testament and the People of God. Fortress Press (1992). ISBN 0-8006-2681-8. Wylen, Stephen M. The Jews in the Time of Jesus: An Introduction. Pa

Origins of Christianity
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A depiction of Jesus appearing to his apostles after his resurrection.

Both Early Christianity and Early Rabbinical Judaism were significantly influenced by Hellenistic religion and Hellenistic philosophy. Christianity in particular inherited many features of Greco-Roman paganism in its structure, its terminology, its cult and its theology. Titles such as Pontifex Maximusand Sol Invictus were taken directly from Roman religion. The influence of Neoplatonism on Christian theology is significant, visible for example inAugustine of Hippo's identification of God as summum bonum and of evil as privatio boni. Striking parallels between the New Testament account of Jesus and classical gods or demigods such as Bacchus, Bellerophon or Perseus were recognized by the Church Fathers and termed "demonic imitation" by Justin Martyr in the 2nd century.

Without the power of the orthodox Church and the Rabbis to declare people heretics and outside the system it remained impossible to declare phenomenologically who was a Jew and who was a Christian. At least as interesting and significant, it seems more and more clear that it is frequently impossible to tell a Jewish text from a Christian text. The borders are fuzzy, and this has consequences. Religious ideas and innovations can cross borders in both directions. [1]
Contents
[hide]

1 Jewish roots

o o

1.1 Hellenistic Judaism 1.2 Jewish messianism

2 Pagan roots

2.1 Influence on early Christian theology

3 Jesus

3.1 Jesus as Messiah

4 Pauline Christianity 5 Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity

o o o o o

5.1 Apostle to the Gentiles 5.2 First JewishRoman War 5.3 Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism 5.4 Emergence of Christianity 5.5 Bar Kokhba revolt

6 See also 7 References

[edit]Jewish

roots
Judaism

[edit]Hellenistic

Main article: Hellenistic Judaism

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2012)
Hellenistic culture had a profound impact on the customs and practices of Jews, both in the Land of Israel and in the Diaspora. The inroads into Judaism gave rise to Hellenistic Judaism in the Jewish diasporawhich sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism. Hellenistic Judaism spread to Ptolemaic Egypt from the 3rd century BCE, and became a notable religio licita after the Roman conquest of Greece, Anatolia, Syria, Judea, and Egypt, until its decline in the 3rd century parallel to the rise of Gnosticism and Early Christianity.

The main issue separating the Hellenistic and orthodox Jews was the application of biblical laws in a Hellenistic (melting pot) culture.[2] The decline of Hellenistic Judaism is obscure. It may be that it was marginalized by, absorbed into or became Early Christianity (see the Gospel according to the Hebrews). Remaining currents of Hellenistic Judaism may have merged into Gnostic movements in the early centuries CE.

[edit]Jewish

messianism

Main article: Jewish messianism Alan F. Segal has written that "one speak of a 'twin birth'" of two new Judaisms, both markedly different from the religious systems that preceded them. Not only were rabbinic Judaism and Christianity religious twins, but, like Jacob and Esau, the twin sons of Isaac and Rebecca, they fought in the womb, setting the stage for life after the womb."[3] For Martin Buber, Judaism and Christianity were variations on the same theme of messianism. Buber made this theme the basis of a famous definition of the tension between Judaism and Christianity: "Pre-messianically, our destinies are divided. Now to the Christian, the Jew is the incomprehensibly obdurate man who declines to see what has happened; and to the Jew, the Christian is the incomprehensibly daring man who affirms in an unredeemed world that its redemption has been accomplished. This is a gulf which no human power can bridge."[4] Jewish messianism has its root in the apocalyptic literature of the 2nd century BCE to 1st century BCE, promising a future "anointed" leader or messiah to resurrect the Israelite "Kingdom of God", in place of the foreign rulers of the time. This corresponded with the Maccabean Revolt directed against the Seleucids. Following the fall of the Hasmonean kingdom, it was directed against the Roman administration ofIudaea Province, which, according to Josephus, began with the formation of the Zealots during the Census of Quirinius of 6 CE, although full scale open revolt did not occur till the First JewishRoman War in 66 CE. Historian H. H. Ben-Sasson has proposed that the "Crisis under Caligula" (37-41) was the "first open break" between Rome and the Jews.[5] Judaism at this time was divided into antagonistic factions. The main camps were the Pharisees, Saducees, and Zealots, but also included other less influential sects. The 1st century BCE and 1st century CE saw a number of charismatic religious leaders, contributing to what would become the Mishnah of Rabbinic Judaism, including Yochanan ben Zakai and Hanina Ben Dosa. The ministry of Jesus, according to the account of the Gospels, falls into this pattern of sectarian preachers or teachers with devoted disciples (students).

[edit]Pagan

roots

Mosaic of Jesus as Christo Sole (Christ the Sun) in Mausoleum M in the pre-4th-century necropolis under St Peter's Basilicain Rome.[6]

Main articles: Christianity and Paganism and Jesus Christ in comparative mythology Further information: Christmas, Easter, Dionysus, and Mystery religions

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Early Christianity developed in an era of the Roman Empire during which many religions were practiced. These included the Greco-Roman religions of the Roman Empire period, the Roman imperial cult and various mystery religions as well as philosophic monotheistic religions such as Neoplatonism and Gnosticism and to a lesser extent the "barbarian" tribal religions practiced on the fringes of the Empire. Even before the Council of Jerusalem the Christian apostles accepted both Jewish and pagan converts (Cornelius the Centurion is traditionally considered the first gentile convert) and there was a precarious balance between the Judaizers, insisting on the obedience to the Torah Laws by all Christians, and Pauline Christianity. With the spread of Christianity in the Early Middle Ages, it has been argued that Christianity was influenced by the rituals of Germanic paganism, Celtic paganism,Slavic paganism and Folk religion in a number of ways.

Ostara (1884) by Johannes Gehrts

[edit]Influence

on early Christian theology

Main articles: Hellenistic philosophy and Christianity and Diversity in early Christian theology There was a complex interaction between Hellenistic philosophy and Christianity during the early years of the church, particularly the first four centuries AD. Christianity originated in Roman occupied Jerusalem, a predominantly but not entirely Jewish society, with traditional philosophies distinct from the Classical Greek thought which was dominant in the greater Roman Empire at the time. The conflict between the two modes of thought is recorded in the Christian scriptures, in Paul's encounters with Epicurean and Stoic philosophers mentioned in Acts,[7] his diatribe against Greek philosophy in 1st Corinthians,[8] and his warning against philosophy in Colossians 2:8.[9] As Christianity spread throughout the Hellenic world, and with a number of church leaders having been educated in Greek philosophy there was a fusion of the two modes of thought. One early Christian writer of the 2nd and early 3rd century, Clement of Alexandria, demonstrated the assimilation of Greek thought in writing: "Philosophy has been given to the Greeks as their own kind of Covenant, their foundation for the philosophy of Christ... the philosophy of the Greeks... contains the basic elements of that genuine and perfect knowledge which is higher than human... even upon those spiritual objects."[10] Influence on Christian dogma in Late Antiquity, including the doctrines of the Christian Church Fathers in the 4th and 5th century, the Nicene and Chalcedonian creeds, including the questions of the Trinity and Christology. A strong influence here was Roman imperial cult, Hellenistic philosophy, notably Neoplatonism, and Gnosticism. Christological disputes continued to dominate Christian theology well into the Early Middle Ages, down to the Third Council of Constantinople of 680 AD.

St. Augustine was originally aManichaean.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430), who ultimately systematized Christian philosophy, wrote in the late 4th and early 5th century, "But when I read those books of thePlatonists I was taught by them to seek incorporeal truth, so I saw your 'invisible things, understood by the things that are made'.[11] Augustine converted to Christianity from Manichaeism, a gnostic influenced religion. According to his Confessions, after eight or nine years of adhering to the Manichaean faith (as a member of the Manichaean group of Hearers), he became a Christian and a potent adversary of Manichaeism. It is speculated by some modern scholars (Alfred Adam, for example)[citation needed] that Manichaean ways of thinking had an influence on the development of some of Augustine's Christian ideas, such as the nature of good and evil, the idea of Hell, the separation of groups into Elect, Hearers, and Sinners, the hostility to the flesh and sexual activity, and so on. It has been suggested that the Bogomils, Paulicians, and the Cathars were deeply influenced by Manichaeism. However, the Bogomils and Cathars, in particular, left few records of their rituals or doctrines, and the link between them and Manichaeans is unclear. The Paulicians, Bogomils, and Cathars were certainly dualists and felt that the world was the work of a demiurge of Satanic origin. Whether this was due to influence from Manichaeism or another strand of Gnosticism is impossible to determine. Only a minority of Cathars held that The Evil God (or principle) was as powerful as The Good God (also called a principle) as Mani did, a belief also known as absolute dualism. In the case of the Cathars, it seems they adopted the Manichaean principles of church organization, but none of its religious cosmology. Priscillianand his followers apparently tried to absorb what they thought was the valuable part of Manichaeaism into Christianity.

[edit]Jesus
Main article: Jesus See also: Historical background of the New Testament According to the Gospels, Jesus preached for a period of one to three years in the early 1st century. His ministry of teaching, healing the sick and disabled and performing various miracles culminated in hiscrucifixion at the hands of the Roman authorities in Jerusalem.

[edit]Jesus

as Messiah

Scholars often draw a distinction between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith.[12] Paula Fredriksen, in From Jesus to Christ, has suggested that Jesus' followers could not accept the failure implicit in his death. According to the New Testament, some Christians reported that they encountered Jesus after his crucifixion. They argued that he had been resurrected (belief in the resurrection of the dead in themessianic age was a core Pharisaic doctrine), and would soon return to usher in the Kingdom of God and fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy such as the resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment. Most of Jesus' teachings were intelligible and acceptable in terms of Second Temple Judaism; what set Christians apart from Jews was their faith in Christ as the resurrected messiah.[13] Belief in a resurrected messiah is unacceptable to Rabbinic Judaism, and Jewish authorities have long used this to explain the break between Judaism and Christianity. Jesus' failure to establish the Kingdom of God and his death at the hands of the Romans invalidated his messianic claims for Hellenistic Jews (see for comparison: prophet and false prophet).[14] Some Christians believed instead that Christ, rather than being the Jewish messiah, was God made flesh, who died for the sins of humanity, and that faith in Jesus Christ offered eternal life (seeChristology).[15] The foundation for this new interpretation of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection are found in the epistles of Paul and in the Book of Acts.

[edit]Pauline

Christianity

Main articles: Pauline Christianity and Paul the Apostle and Judaism

Artist depiction of Saint Paul Writing His Epistles, 16th century (Blaffer Foundation Collection, Houston, Texas)

Pauline Christianity refers to the form of Christianity associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by the Apostle Paul in the Pauline epistles. Most of orthodoxChristianity relies heavily on these teachings and considers them to be amplifications and explanations of the teachings of Jesus. Marcion of Sinope, a 2nd centurytheologian excommunicated as a heretic in 144, asserted that Paul was the only apostle who had rightly understood the new message of salvation as delivered by Christ. Others perceive in Paul's writings teachings that are radically different from the original teachings of Jesus documented in the canonical gospels, early Acts and the rest of the New Testament, such as the Epistle of James. Opponents include the Ebionites and Nazarenes, Jewish Christians who rejected Paul for straying from normativeJudaism.

The term is generally considered a pejorative by mainstream Christianity, as it carries the implication that Christianity is a corruption of the original teachings of Jesus, as for example in the belief of a Great Apostasy as found in Restorationism.

[edit]Emergence

of Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity

Main article: Split of early Christianity and Judaism

Jesus vertreibt die Hndler aus dem Tempel , a depiction of Jesus' Cleansing of the Jewish Temple, by Giovanni Paolo Pannini

The split between Rabbinic Judaism (the period of the Tannaim) and Early Christianity is commonly attributed to the rejection of Jesus in his hometownc.30, the Council of Jerusalem c.50, the Destruction of the Second Temple in 70, the postulated Council of Jamnia c.90 and/or the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132135. However, rather than a sudden split, there was a slowly growing chasm between Christians and Jews in the 1st centuries. Even though it is commonly thought that Paul established a Gentile church, it took centuries for a complete break to manifest. However, certain events are perceived as pivotal in the growing rift between Christianity and Judaism. Robert Goldenberg asserts that it is increasingly accepted among scholars that "at the end of the 1st century CE there were not yet two separate religions called "Judaism" and "Christianity".[16] Historians continue to debate the precise moment when Christianity established itself as a new religion, apart and distinct from Judaism. Some scholars view Christians and Pharisees as being competing movements within Judaism that decisively broke only after the Bar Kokhba revolt, when the successors of the Pharisees claimed hegemony over all Judaism, and Christianity emerged as a new religion. According to historian Shaye Cohen the separation of Christianity from Judaism was a process, not an event. The essential part of this process was that the church was becoming more and more gentile, and less and less Jewish, but the separation manifested itself in different ways in each local community where Jews and Christians dwelt together. In some places, the Jews expelled the Christians; in other, the Christians left of their own accord.[17] According to Cohen, this process ended in 70 CE, after the great revolt, when various Jewish sects disappeared and Pharisaic Judaism evolved into Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity emerged as a distinct religion.[18]

[edit]Apostle

to the Gentiles

Main articles: Great Commission and Incident at Antioch Some Early Christian groups, such as the Ebionites and the early church in Jerusalem led by James the Just, were strictly Jewish. According to the New Testament, Saul of Tarsus first persecuted the earlyJewish Christians, then converted, adopted the name Paul and the title "Apostle to the Gentiles" and started proselytizing among the Gentiles. He persuaded the leaders of the Jerusalem Church to allow Gentile converts exemption from most Jewish commandments at the Council of Jerusalem.

[edit]First

JewishRoman War

Main articles: JewishRoman wars, First JewishRoman War, and Siege of Jerusalem (70) As a result of the First Jewish-Roman War the city of Jerusalem was sacked and Herod's Temple was destroyed. The destruction of the Second Temple was a profoundly traumatic experience for the Jews, who were now confronted with difficult and far-reaching questions:[19]

How to achieve atonement without the Temple? How to explain the disastrous outcome of the rebellion? How to live in the post-Temple, Romanized world? How to connect present and past traditions?

Following the destruction of Jerusalem and the expulsion of the Jews, Jewish worship stopped being centrally organized around the Temple, prayer took the place of sacrifice, and worship was rebuilt around rabbis who acted as teachers and leaders of individual communities in the Jewish diaspora. The destruction of the Temple by the Romans not only put an end to the revolt, it marked the end of an era. Revolutionaries like the Zealots had been crushed by the Romans, and had little credibility. The Sadducees, whose teachings were so closely connected to the Temple cult, disappeared. The Essenes also vanished, perhaps because their teachings so diverged from the issues of the times. Two organized groups remained, the Early Christians and the Pharisees. Some scholars, such as Daniel Boyarin and Paula Fredricksen, suggest that it was at this time, when Christians and Pharisees were competing for leadership of the Jewish people, that accounts of debates between Jesus and the apostles, debates with Pharisees and anti-Pharisaic passages were written and incorporated into the New Testament.

[edit]Emergence

of Rabbinic Judaism

Main article: Origins of Rabbinic Judaism

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Following the destruction of the Temple, Rome governed Judea through a procurator at Caesarea and a Jewish Patriarch. A former leading Pharisee, Yohanan ben Zakkai, was appointed the first Patriarch (the Hebrew word, Nasi, also means prince), and reestablished the Sanhedrin at Javneh under Pharisee control. Instead of giving tithes to the priests and Temple sacrifices, the rabbis instructed Jews to give money to charities and study in local synagogues, as well as to pay the Fiscus Judaicus. During the 1st century CE there had been several Jewish sects, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, Essenes and Christians. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, these sects vanished. Christianity survived, but by breaking with Judaism and becoming a separate religion. The Pharisees survived, but in the form of Rabbinic Judaism, also known simply as Judaism.

[edit]Emergence

of Christianity

See also: Antinomianism, National god, and New Covenant

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Talmud scholar Daniel Boyarin has argued that Paul's theology of the spirit is more deeply rooted in Hellenistic Judaism than generally believed. In A Radical Jew, Boyarin argues that the Apostle Paul combined the life of Jesus with Greek philosophy to reinterpret the Hebrew Bible in terms of the Platonic opposition between the ideal (which is real) and the material (which is false). Judaism is a material religion, in which membership is based not on belief but rather descent from Abraham, physically marked by circumcision, and focusing on how to live this life properly. Paul saw in the symbol of a resurrected Jesus the possibility of a spiritual rather than corporeal messiah. He used this notion of messiah to argue for a religion through which all people not just descendants of Abraham could worship the God of Abraham. Unlike Judaism, which holds that it is the proper religion only of the Jews, Pauline Christianity claimed to be the proper religion for all people. By appealing to the Platonic distinction between the material and the ideal, Paul showed how the spirit of Christ could provide all people a way to worship the God who had previously been worshipped only by Jews and Jewish proselytes, although Jews claimed that he was the one and only God of all. Boyarin roots Paul's work in Hellenistic Judaism and insists that Paul was thoroughly Jewish, but argues that Pauline theology made his version of Christianity appealing to Gentiles. Boyarin also sees this Platonic reworking of both Jesus's teachings and Pharisaic Judaism as essential to the emergence of Christianity as a distinct religion, because it justified a Judaism without Jewish law. The above events and trends lead to a gradual separation between Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism.[20][21] According to historian Shaye Cohen, "Early Christianity ceased to be a Jewish sect when it ceased to observe Jewish practices.[14] Among the Jewish practices abandoned by Proto-orthodox Christianity,circumcision was rejected as a requirement at the Council of Jerusalem, c. 50. Sabbath observance was modified, perhaps as early as Ignatius' Epistle to the Magnesians 9.1.[22] Quartodecimanism(observation of the Paschal feast on Nisan 14, the day of

preparation for Passover, linked to Polycarp and thus to John the Apostle) was formally rejected at the First Council of Nicaea. According to Eusebius'Life of Constantine, Constantine's speech at the council included: "Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way."[23]

[edit]Bar

Kokhba revolt

Main articles: Aelia Capitolina and Bar Kokhba revolt The Bar Kokhba revolt[24] was the third major rebellion by the Jews against the Romans and the last of the Jewish-Roman Wars. Simon bar Kokhba, the commander of the revolt, was acclaimed as a messiah, a heroic figure who could restore Israel, by some of the leading sages of the Sanhedrin such as Rabbi Akiba. Up until this time a number of Christians were still part of the Jewish community. Although Jewish Christians hailed Jesus as the Messiah and did not support Bar Kokhba,[25] they were barred from Jerusalem along with the rest of the Jews.[citation needed] Traditionally it is believed the Jerusalem Christians waited out the JewishRoman wars in Pella in the Decapolis. After the suppression of the revolt the vast majority of Jews were sent into exile; shortly thereafter (around 200), Judah haNasi edited together judgements and traditions into an authoritative code, the Mishna. This marks the transformation of Pharisaic Judaism into Rabbinic Judaism. Although the rabbis traced their origins to the Pharisees, Rabbinic Judaism nevertheless involved a radical repudiation of certain elements of Phariseeism - elements that were basic to Second Temple Judaism. Members of different sects argued with one another over the correctness of their respective interpretations, but after the destruction of the Second Temple these sectarian divisions ended. The term "Pharisee" was no longer used, perhaps because it was a term more often used by non-Pharisees, but also because the term was explicitly sectarian. The rabbis claimed leadership over all Jews, and added to the Amidah the birkat haMinim, a prayer which in part exclaims, "Praised are You O Lord, who breaks enemies and defeats the arrogant". This shift by no means resolved conflicts over the interpretation of the Torah, but relocated debates between sects to debates within Rabbinic Judaism.

[edit]See

also

Hellenization Higher criticism History of early Christianity History of Judaism Karaite Judaism

[edit]References

1.

^ Daniel Boyarin. "Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism" [Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999, p. 15.

2.

^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Hellenism: "Post-exilic Judaism was largely recruited from those returned exiles who regarded it as their chief task to preserve their religion uncontaminated, a task that required the strict separation of the congregation both from all foreign peoples (Ezra x. 11; Neh. ix. 2) and from the Jewish inhabitants of Palestine who did not strictly observe the Law (Ezra vi. 22; Neh. x. 29)."

3.

^ Alan F. Segal, Rebecca's Children: Judaism and Christianity in the Roman World, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986.Page= ???

4.

^ Martin Buber, "The Two Foci of the Jewish Soul," cited in The Writings of Martin Buber, Will Herberg (editor), New York: Meridian Books, 1956, p. 276.

5.

^ H.H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1976, ISBN 0-67439731-2, The Crisis Under Gaius Caligula, pages 254-256: "The reign of Gaius Caligula (37-41) witnessed the first open break between the Jews and the Julio-Claudian empire. Until then if one accepts Sejanus' heyday and the trouble caused by the census after Archelaus' banishment there was usually an atmosphere of understanding between the Jews and the empire ... These relations deteriorated seriously during Caligula's reign, and, though after his death the peace was outwardly reestablished, considerable bitterness remained on both sides. ... Caligula ordered that a golden statue of himself be set up in the Temple in Jerusalem. ... Only Caligula's death, at the hands of Roman conspirators (41), prevented the outbreak of a Jewish-Roman war that might well have spread to the entire East."

6. 7.

^ Kelly, Joseph F., The Origins of Christmas, Liturgical Press, 2004, p. 67-69. ^ "Acts 17:18-33 - Passage Lookup - New International Version". BibleGateway.com. Retrieved 200911-09.

8.

^ "1 corinthians 1:20-25; - Passage Lookup - New International Version". BibleGateway.com. Retrieved 2009-11-09.

9.

^ "Colossians 2:8; - Passage Lookup - New International Version". BibleGateway.com. Retrieved 200911-09.

10. ^ Clement of Alexandria. Miscellanies 6. 8 11. ^ Augustine of Hippo. Confessions 7. 20 12. ^ Graham Stanton, The Gospels and Jesus (2nd ed.), (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) p. xxiii 13. ^ Shaye J.D. Cohen 1987 From the Maccabees to the Mishnah Library of Early Christianity, Wayne Meeks, editor. The Westminster Press. 167-168 14. ^
a b

Shaye J.D. Cohen 1987 From the Maccabees to the Mishnah Library of Early Christianity, Wayne

Meeks, editor. The Westminster Press. 168 15. ^ Paula Fredricksen, From Jesus to Christ Yale university Press. pp. 136-142 16. ^ Robert Goldenberg. Review of "Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism" by Daniel Boyarin in The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, Vol. 92, No. 3/4 (Jan. - Apr., 2002), pp. 586-588 17. ^ Cohen, Shaye J.D. (1988). From the Maccabees to the Mishnah ISBN 0-664-25017-3 p. 228

18. ^ Cohen, Shaye J.D. (1988). From the Maccabees to the Mishnah ISBN 0-664-25017-3 pp. 224-225 19. ^ Jacob Neusner 1984 Toah From our Sages Rossell Books. p. 175 20. ^ Shaye J.D. Cohen 1987 From the Maccabees to the Mishnah Library of Early Christianity, Wayne Meeks, editor. The Westminster Press. 224-228 21. ^ Paula Fredriksen, 1988 From Jesus to Christ, Yale University Press. 167-170 22. ^ Ignatius to the Magnesians chapter 9 at ccel.org 23. ^ Eusebius, Life of Constantine Vol. III Ch. XVIII Life of Constantine (Book III), Chapter 18: He speaks of their Unanimity respecting the Feast of Easter, and against the Practice of the Jews . 24. ^ for the year 136, see: W. Eck, The Bar Kokhba Revolt: The Roman Point of View, pp. 8788. 25. ^ Justin, "Apologia," ii.71, compare "Dial." cx; Eusebius "Hist. Eccl." iv.6,2; Orosius "Hist." vii.13

Hellenistic Judaism
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Hellenistic Judaism was a movement which existed in the Jewish diaspora that sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the European culture and language of Hellenism after the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. Until the fall of the Roman Empire and the Arab-Islamic conquest of the Eastern Mediterranean, the main centers of Hellenistic judaism were Alexandria (Egypt) andAntioch (Northern Syria- now Turkey), the two main Hellenic urban settlements of the MENA area, both founded at the end of the 4th century BCE. The major literary product of the contact of pre-rabbinical Judaism and Hellenistic culture is the Septuagint translation from Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic toKoine Greek, which began in the 3rd century BCE in Alexandria. The decline of Hellenistic Judaism started in the 2nd century CE, and its causes are still not fully understood. It may be that it was eventually marginalized by, partially absorbed into or became progressively the Koine Greek-speaking core of "Early Christianity" centered around Antioch and its "universalist" tradition- see most notablyPaul of Tarsus and Judaism and the Abrogation of Old Covenant laws.
Contents
[hide]

1 Hellenism 2 Influence 3 Decline of the 'Hellenistai' and partial conversion to Christianity 4 Cultural legacy

o o o

4.1 Widespread influence beyond Second Temple Judaism 4.2 First synagogues in Europe and the MENA area 4.3 Influence on Levantine Byzantine traditions

5 See also 6 References

6.1 Further reading

[edit]Hellenism

Map of Alexander's empire, extending east and south ofMacedonia.

The conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BCE spread Greek culture and colonization a process of cultural change calledHellenization over non-Greek lands, including the Levant. This gave rise to the Hellenistic age, which sought to create a common or universal culturein the Alexandrian empire based on that of 5th and 4th century BCE Athens (see also Age of Pericles), along with a fusion of Near Eastern cultures.[1]The period is characterized by a new wave of Greek colonization which established Greek cities and Kingdoms in Asia and Africa,[2] the most famous being Alexandria in Egypt. New cities were established composed of colonists who came from different parts of the Greek world, and not from a specific "mother city" (literally metropolis, see also metropolis) as before.[2] The inroads into Judaism gave rise to Hellenistic Judaism in the Jewish diaspora, which sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism. Gradually relations deteriorated between Hellenized Jews and other Jews, leading the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes to ban certain Jewish religious rites and traditions. Consequently, the orthodox Jews revolted against the Greek ruler, leading to the formation of an independent Jewish kingdom in what became known as Iudaea province, known as the Hasmonaean Dynasty, which lasted from 165 BCE to 63 BCE. The Hasmonean Dynasty eventually disintegrated in a civil war. The people, who did not want to continue to be governed by a Hellenized dynasty, appealed to Rome for intervention. The Romans conquered and annexed the country, calling it Iudaea province. The cultural issues remained unresolved. The main issue separating the Hellenistic and orthodox Jews was the application of biblical laws in a Hellenistic culture.[3]

[edit]Influence
The major literary product of the contact of Judaism and Hellenistic culture is the Septuagint, as well as the so-called apocrypha and pseudepigraphic apocalyptic literature (such as the Assumption of Moses, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Book of Baruch, the Greek Apocalypse of Baruch, etc.) dating to the period. Important sources are Philo of Alexandria and Flavius Josephus. Some scholars[4]consider Paul of Tarsus to be a Hellenist as well, even though he himself claimed to be a Pharisee (Acts 23:6).

Philo of Alexandria was an important apologete of Judaism, presenting it as a tradition of venerable antiquity that, far from being a barbarian cult of an oriental nomadic tribe, with its doctrine of monotheism had anticipated tenets of Hellenistic philosophy. Philo could draw on Jewish tradition to use customs which Greeks thought as primitive or exotic as the basis for metaphors: such as "circumcision of the heart" in the pursuit of virtue.[5] Consequently, Hellenistic Judaism emphasized monotheistic doctrine (heis theos), and represented reason (logos) and wisdom (sophia) as emanations from God. Beyond Tarsus, Alexandretta, Antioch and Northwestern Syria (the main Cilician and Asiatic centers of Hellenistic Judaism in the Levant), the second half of the Second Temple period witnessed an acceleration of Hellenization in Israel itself, with Jewish high priests and aristocrats alike adopting Greek names: oni became Menelaus; Joshua became Jason or Jesus. The Hellenic influence pervaded everything, and even in the very strongholds of Judaism it modified the organization of the state, the laws, and public affairs, art, science, and industry, affecting even the ordinary things of life and the common associations of the people [] The inscription forbidding strangers to advance beyond a certain point in the Temple was in Greek; and was probably made necessary by the presence of numerous Jews from Greek-speaking countries at the time of the festivals (comp. the "murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews," Acts vi. 1). The coffers in the Temple which contained the shekel contributions were marked with Greek letters (She. iii. 2). It is therefore no wonder that there were synagogues of the Libertines, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, Cilicians, and Asiatics in the Holy City itself (Acts vi. 9).[6]

[edit]Decline

of the 'Hellenistai' and partial conversion to Christianity

Dura Europos synagogue fresco of a holy man

The reasons for the decline of Hellenistic Judaism are obscure. It may be that it was marginalized by, absorbed into, or became Early Christianity (see the Gospel according to the Hebrews). The Epistles of Paul and the Acts of the Apostles report that, after his initial focus on the conversion of hellenized Jews across Anatolia, Macedonia, Thrace and Northern Syria without criticizing their laws and traditions, [7][8] Paul of Tarsus eventually preferred to evangelize communities of Greek and Macedonian proselytes and Godfearers, or Greek circles sympathetic to Judaism: the Apostolic Decree allowing converts to forego circumcision made Christianity a more attractive option for interested pagans than Rabbinic Judaism, which required ritual circumcision for converts (see Brit milah). See also Circumcision controversy in early Christianity[9][10] and the Abrogation of Old Covenant laws. The attractiveness of Christianity may, however, have suffered a setback with its being explicitly outlawed in the 80s CE by Domitian as a "Jewish superstition", while Judaism retained its privileges as long as members paid the Fiscus Judaicus. The opening verse of Acts 6 points to the problematic cultural divisions between Hellenized Jews and Aramaic-speaking Israelites in Jerusalem, a disunion that reverberated within the emerging Christian community itself: it speaks of "Hellenists" and "Hebrews." The existence of these two distinct groups

characterizes the earliest Christian community in Jerusalem. The Hebrews were Jewish Christians who spoke almost exclusively Aramaic, and the Hellenists were also Jewish Christians whose mother tongue was Greek. They were Greek-speaking Jews of the Diaspora, who returned to settle in Jerusalem. To identify them, Luke uses the term Hellenistai. When he had in mind Greeks, gentiles, non-Jews who spoke Greek and lived according to the Greek fashion, then he used the word Hellenes (Acts 21.28). As the very context of Acts 6 makes clear, the Hellenistai are not Hellenes."[11] Some historians believe that a sizeable proportion of the Hellenized Jewish communities of Southern Turkey (Antioch, Alexandretta and neighboring cities) and Syria/Lebanon converted progressively to the Greco-Roman branch of Christianity that eventually constituted the Melkite (or "Imperial") Hellenistic Churches of the MENA area: As Jewish Christianity originated at Jerusalem, so Gentile Christianity started at Antioch, then the leading center of the Hellenistic East, with Peter and Paul as its apostles. From Antioch it spread to the various cities and provinces of Syria, among the Hellenistic Syrians as well as among the Hellenistic Jews who, as a result of the great rebellions against the Romans in A.D. 70 and 130, were driven out from Jerusalem and Palestine into Syria [12]

[edit]Cultural

legacy
influence beyond Second Temple Judaism

[edit]Widespread

Both Early Christianity and Early Rabbinical Judaism were far less 'orthodox' and less theologically homogeneous than they are today; and both were significantly influenced by Hellenistic religion and borrowed allegories and concepts from Classical Hellenistic philosophy and the works of Greek-speaking Jewish authors of the end of the Second Temple period... before the two schools of thought eventually firmed-up their respective 'norms' and doctrines, notably by diverging increasingly on key issues such as the status of 'purity laws', the validity of Judeo-Christian messianic beliefs, and, more importantly, the use of Koine Greek and Latin assacerdotal languages replacing Biblical Hebrew[13]...etc

[edit]First

synagogues in Europe and the MENA area

The word "synagogue" itself comes from Koine Greek, a language spoken by Hellenized Jews across Southeastern Europe (Macedonia, Thrace, Northern Greece) and the MENA area after the 3rd century BCE. Many synagogues were built by the "Hellenistai" or adherents of Hellenistic Judaism in the Greek Isles, Cilicia, Northwestern and Eastern Syria and Northern Israel as early as the first century BCE- notably in Delos, Antioch, Alexandretta, Galilee and Dura-Europos: because of the mosaics and frescos representing heroic figures and Biblical characters (viewed as potentially conductive of "image worship"by later generations of Jewish scholars and rabbis), many of these early synagogues were at first mistaken for heathen Greek temples or Antiochian Greek Orthodox Churches.

[edit]Influence

on Levantine Byzantine traditions

Some typically Grecian "Ancient Synagogal" priestly rites and hymns have survived partially to the present, notably in the distinct church services of the followers of the Melkite Greek Catholic church and its sisterchurch the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch in the Hatay Province of Southern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon,

Northern Israel, and in the Greek-Levantine Christian diasporas of Brazil, Mexico, the United States and Canada. Members of theses communities still call themselves (al-)Rm, which literally means "Eastern Roman" (Byzantine) or "Asian-Greek" in Turkish, Persian and Levantine Arabic. In that context, the term "Rm" is used in preference to Yvni or Ionani which means "European-Greek" or "Ionian" in Ancient Hebrew and Classical Arabic.

[edit]See

also

Hellenistic religion Hellenization History of Judaism History of the Jews in the Roman Empire Jewish Christianity List of events in early Christianity Origins of Christianity Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem

[edit]References

1. 2. 3.

^ Roy M. MacLeod, The Library Of Alexandria: Centre Of Learning In The Ancient World ^
a b

Ulrich Wilcken, Griechische Geschichte im Rahmen der Alterumsgeschichte .

^ "Hellenism", Jewish Encyclopedia, Quote: "Post-exilic Judaism was largely recruited from those returned exiles who regarded it as their chief task to preserve their religion uncontaminated, a task that required the strict separation of the congregation both from all foreign peoples (Ezra x. 11; Neh. ix. 2) and from the Jewish inhabitants of Palestine who did not strictly observe the Law (Ezra vi. 22; Neh. x. 29)."

4. 5. 6.

^ "Saul of Tarsus: Not a Hebrew Scholar; a Hellenist", Jewish Encyclopedia ^ E.g., Leviticus 26:41, Ezekiel 44:7 ^ "Hellenism", Jewish Encyclopedia, Quote: from Range of Hellenic Influence and Reaction Against Hellenic Influence sections

7. 8.

^ Acts 16:1-3 ^ McGarvey on Acts 16: "Yet we see him in the case before us, circumcising Timothy with his own hand, and this 'on account of certain Jews who were in those quarters.'"

9.

^ 1 Corinthians 7:18

10. ^ "making themselves foreskins"; I Macc. i. 15; Josephus, "Ant." xii. 5, 1; Assumptio Mosis, viii.; I Cor. vii. 18;, Tosef.; Talmud tractes [[Shabbat (Talmud)|]] xv. 9; Yevamot 72a, b; Yerushalmi Peah i. 16b;

Yevamot viii. 9a; [1]; Catholic Encyclopedia: Circumcision: "To this epispastic operation performed on the athletes to conceal the marks of circumcision St. Paul alludes, me epispastho (1 Corinthians 7:18)." 11. ^ " Conflict and Diversity in the Earliest Christian Community", Fr. V. Kesich, O.C.A. 12. ^ " History of Christianity in Syria ", Catholic Encyclopedia 13. ^ Daniel Boyarin. "Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism" [Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999, p. 15.

Jewish messianism
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Messiah (Hebrew: ; mashiah, moshiah, mashiach, or moshiach, "anointed [one]") is a term used in the Hebrew Bible to describe priests and kings, who were traditionally anointed with holy anointing oilas described in Exodus 30:22-25. For example, Cyrus the Great, the king of Persia, though not a Hebrew, is referred to as "God's anointed" (Messiah) in the Bible.
Contents
[hide]

1 Views

o o o o

1.1 Historical 1.2 Talmud 1.3 Views of Maimonides 1.4 Ancient Israel

2 Second Temple period and apocalypticism 3 Present-day Jewish positions

3.1 Orthodox Judaism

o o

3.1.1 Hasidic Judaism

3.2 Conservative Judaism 3.3 Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism

4 See also 5 Notes 6 References 7 External links

[edit]Views [edit]Historical
In Jewish eschatology, the term came to refer to a future Jewish King from the Davidic line, who will be "anointed" with holy anointing oil and rule the Jewish people during the Messianic Age.[1][2] The Messiah[3] is often referred to as "King Messiah", in Standard Hebrew, , Mlekh ha-Masha (in

the Tiberian vocalization pronounced Mle hamM), literally meaning "king the anointed",[citation needed] in Aramaic language malka meshia ("king messiah").[4] Traditional and current Orthodox thought have mainly held that the Messiah will be the anointed one (messiah), descended from his father through the Davidic line of King David,[5] who will gather the Jews back into the Land of Israel, usher in an era of peace, build the Third Temple, have a male heir and reinstitute the Sanhedrin, among other things. Jewish tradition alludes to two redeemers, both are called Mashiach and are involved in ushering in the Messianic age: Mashiach ben David and Mashiach ben Joseph. In general, the term Messiah unqualified always refers to Mashiach ben David (Messiah the descendant of David and Salomon) of the tribe of Judah. He will be the final redeemer who shall rule in the Messianic age.[1][2]

[edit]Talmud
The Talmud extensively details the advent of the Messiah (Sanhedrin 98a, et al.) and describes a period of freedom and peace, which will be the time of ultimate goodness for the Jews and for all mankind. Tractate Sanhedrin, contains a long discussion of the events leading to the coming of the Messiah, for example: R. Johanan said: When you see a generation ever dwindling, hope for him [the Messiah], as it is written, "And the afflicted people thou wilt save."[II Samuel 22:28] R. Johanan said: When thou seest a generation overwhelmed by many troubles as by a river, await him, as it is written, when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him; which is followed by, And the Redeemer shall come to Zion. R. Johanan also said: The son of David will come only in a generation that is either altogether righteous or altogether wicked. 'in a generation that is altogether righteous,' as it is written, Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever. 'Or altogether wicked,' as it is written, And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor;31 and it is [elsewhere] written, For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it.[6] Throughout Jewish history Jews have compared these passages (and others) to contemporary events in search of signs of the Messiah's imminent arrival, continuing into present times. The Talmud tells many stories about the Messiah, some of which represent famous Talmudic rabbis as receiving personal visitations from Elijah the Prophet and the Messiah. For example: R. Joshua b. Levi met Elijah standing by the entrance of R. Simeon b. Yohai's tomb. He asked him: 'Have I a portion in the world to come?' He replied, 'if this Master desires it.' R. Joshua b. Levi said, 'I saw two, but heard the voice of a third.' He then asked him, 'When will the Messiah come?' 'Go and ask him himself,' was his reply. 'Where is he sitting?' 'At the entrance.' And by what sign may I recognise him?' 'He is sitting among the poor lepers: all of them untie [them] all at once, and rebandage them together, whereas he unties and rebandages each separately, [before treating the next], thinking, should I be wanted, [it being time for my appearance as the Messiah] I must not be delayed [through having to bandage a number of sores].' So he went to him and greeted him, saying, 'peace upon thee, Master and Teacher.' 'peace upon

thee, O son of Levi,' he replied. 'When wilt thou come Master?' asked he, 'Today', was his answer. On his returning to Elijah, the latter enquired, 'What did he say to thee?' 'peace Upon thee, O son of Levi,' he answered. Thereupon he [Elijah] observed, 'He thereby assured thee and thy father of [a portion in] the world to come.' 'He spoke falsely to me,' he rejoined, 'stating that he would come to-day, but has not.' He [Elijah] answered him, 'This is what he said to thee, To-day, if ye will listen to his voice.'[6]

[edit]Views

of Maimonides

Main article: Judaism's view of Jesus One Jewish understanding of the messiah is based on the writings of Maimonides, (also known as Rambam). His views on the messiah are discussed in his Mishneh Torah, his 14 volume compendium ofJewish law, in the section Hilkhot Melakhim Umilchamoteihem, chapters 11 & 12.[7] According to Maimonides, Jesus of Nazareth is not the Messiah, as is claimed by Christians and Muslims.[8]

[edit]Ancient

Israel

Main article: Hebrew Bible Many of the scriptural requirements concerning the Messiah, what he will do, and what will be done during his reign are located in the Book of Isaiah, although requirements are mentioned by other prophets as well. Views on whether Hebrew Bible passages are Messianic may vary from and among scholars of ancient Israel looking at their meaning in original context and from and among rabbinical scholars.

Isaiah 1:26: "And I will restore your judges as at first and your counsellors as in the beginning; afterwards you shall be called City of Righteousness, Faithful City." Some Jews [9] interpret this to mean that the Sanhedrin will be re-established."(Isaiah 1:26)

Once he is King, leaders of other nations will look to him for guidance. (Isaiah 2:4) The whole world will worship the One God of Israel (Isaiah 2:11-17) He will be descended from King David (Isaiah 11:1) via Solomon (1 Chronicles 22:8-10, 2 Chronicles 7:18)

The "spirit of the Lord" will be upon him, and he will have a "fear of God" (Isaiah 11:2) Evil and tyranny will not be able to stand before his leadership (Isaiah 11:4) Knowledge of God will fill the world (Isaiah 11:9) He will include and attract people from all cultures and nations (Isaiah 11:10) All Israelites will be returned to their homeland (Isaiah 11:12) Death will be swallowed up forever (Isaiah 25:8) There will be no more hunger or illness, and death will cease (Isaiah 25:8) All of the dead will rise again (Isaiah 26:19) The Jewish people will experience eternal joy and gladness (Isaiah 51:11) He will be a messenger of peace (Isaiah 52:7) Nations will recognize the wrongs they did to Israel (Isaiah 52:13-53:5)

The peoples of the world will turn to the Jews for spiritual guidance (Zechariah 8:23) The ruined cities of Israel will be restored (Ezekiel 16:55) Weapons of war will be destroyed (Ezekiel 39:9) The people of Israel will have direct access to the Torah through their minds and Torah study will become the study of the wisdom of the heart (Jeremiah 31:33)[10]

He will give you all the worthy desires of your heart (Psalms 37:4) He will take the barren land and make it abundant and fruitful (Isaiah 51:3, Amos 9:13-15, Ezekiel 36:29-30, Isaiah 11:6-9)

[edit]Second

Temple period and apocalypticism

The majority of Second Temple texts have no reference to an individual end-time Messiah.[11] Exceptions among the Dead Sea Scrolls include 4Q521, the "Messianic Apocalypse." Other messianic concepts are found in the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha.[12] Messianic allusions to some figures include to Menahem ben Hezekiah who traditionally was born on the same day that the Second Temple was destroyed.[13]

[edit]Present-day [edit]Orthodox

Jewish positions

Judaism

Orthodox Judaism maintains that Jews are obliged to accept the 13 Principles of Faith as formulated by Maimonides in his introduction to Chapter Helek of the Mishna Torah.[citation needed] Each principle starts with the words Ani Maamin (I believe). Number 12 is the main principle relating to Mashiach. The text is as follows:[14][15] , Ani Maamin B'emunah Sh'leimah B'viyat Hamashiach. V'af al pi sheyitmahmehah im kol zeh achake lo b'chol yom sheyavo. I believe with full faith in the coming of the Messiah. And even though he tarries, with all that, I await his arrival with every day.

[edit]Hasidic Judaism
Hasidic Jews tend to have a particularly strong and passionate belief in the immediacy of the Messiah's coming, and in the ability of their actions to hasten his arrival. Because of the piousness, wisdom, and leadership abilities of the Hasidic Masters, members of Hasidic communities are sometimes inclined to regard their dynastic rebbes as potential candidates for Messiah. Many Jews, (see the Bartenura'sexplanation on Megillat Rut, and the Halakhic responsa of The Ch'sam Sofer on Choshen Mishpat [vol. 6], Chapter 98 where this view is explicit) especially Hasidim, adhere to the belief that there is a person born each generation with the potential to become Messiah, if the Jewish people warrant his coming; this candidate is known as the Tzadik Ha-Dor, meaning Tzaddik (a Hebrew term literally meaning "righteous one" but used to refer to holy men who can, for example, perform miracles or act as an intermediary between man and God) of the Generation. However, fewer are likely to name a candidate.

Notably, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson declared often that the Messiah is very close, urging all to pray for the coming of the Messiah, study Torah sources about him, and do everything possible to hasten his coming through increased acts of kindness, and so on. In fact, many Chabad Hasidim still regard him posthumously as the Messiah (See Chabad messianism.)

[edit]Conservative

Judaism

Emet Ve-Emunah, the Conservative movement's statement of principles, states the following: Since no one can say for certain what will happen in the Messianic era each of us is free to fashion personal speculation. Some of us accept these speculations are literally true, while others understand them as elaborate metaphors... For the world community we dream of an age when warfare will be abolished, when justice and compassion will be axioms of all, as it is said in Isaiah 11: "...the land shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." For our people, we dream of the ingathering of all Jews to Zion where we can again be masters of our own destiny and express our distinctive genius in every area of our national life. We affirm Isaiah's prophecy (2:3) that "...Torah shall come forth from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

We do not know when the Messiah will come, nor whether he will be a charismatic human figure or is a symbol of the redemption of humankind from the evils of the world. Through the doctrine of a Messianic figure, Judaism teaches us that every individual human being must live as if he or she, individually, has the responsibility to bring about the messianic age. Beyond that, we echo the words of Maimonides based on the prophet Habakkuk (2:3) that though he may tarry, yet do we wait for him each day.

[edit]Reform

and Reconstructionist Judaism

Reform Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism generally do not accept the idea that there will be a Messiah. Some believe that there may be some sort of "messianic age" (the World to Come) in the sense of a "utopia", which all Jews are obligated to work towards (thus the tradition of Tikkun olam). In 1999, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the official body of American Reform rabbis, authored "A Statement of Principles for Reform Judaism", meant to describe and define the spiritual state of modern Reform Judaism. In a commentary appended to the platform, it states: Messianic age: The 1885 Pittsburgh Platform rejected the traditional Jewish hope for an heir of King David to arise when the world was ready to acknowledge that heir as the one anointed (the original meaning of mashiach, anglicized into "messiah"). This figure would rule in Gods name over all people and ultimately usher in a time of justice, truth and peace. In the Avot, the first prayer of the Amidah, Reformers changed the prayerbooks hope for a go-el, a redeemer, to geulah, redemption. Originally this idea reflected the views of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and the French Positivist philosophers that society was growing ever more enlightened. The cataclysmic events of the first half of the 20th Century smashed that belief, and most Reform Jews saw the messianic age as a time that would probably be far off. Still, we renew our hope

for it when we express the belief that Shabbat is mey-eyn olam ha-ba, a sampler of the world to come, when we sing about Elijah, herald of the messiah, when Havdalah brings Shabbat to a close, when we open the door for Elijah late in the Pesach Seder, and when we express the hope in the first paragraph of the Kaddish that Gods sovereignty will be established in our days.[16]

[edit]See

also

Armilus Jesus and Messianic prophecy Jewish eschatology Jewish Messiah claimants Judaism's view of Jesus Messiah ben Joseph Mashiach ben David Outreach Judaism Year 6000

[edit]Notes
a b

1.

Schochet, Rabbi Prof. Dr. Jacob Immanuel. "Moshiach ben Yossef". Tutorial.http://moshiach.com.

Retrieved 2 December 2012. 2. ^


a b

Blidstein, Prof. Dr. Gerald J.. "Messiah in Rabbinic Thought". MESSIAH. Jewish Virtual Library and

Encyclopaedia Judaica 2008 The Gale Group. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 3. ^ Telushkin, Joseph. "The Messiah". The Jewish Virtual Library Jewish Literacy. NY: William Morrow and Co., 1991. Reprinted by permission of the author.. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 4. ^ Flusser, David. "Second Temple Period". Messiah. Encyclopaedia Judaica 2008 The Gale Group. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 5. 6. 7. ^ See Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan: "The Real Messiah A Jewish Response to Missionaries" ^
a b

B. Talmud Sanhedrin 98a

^ Maimonides writes: "The anointed king is destined to stand up and restore the Davidic Kingdom to its antiquity, to the first sovereignty. He will build the Temple in Jerusalem and gather the strayed onesof Israel together. All laws will return in his days as they were before: Sacrificial offerings are offered and the Sabbatical years and Jubilees are kept, according to all its precepts that are mentioned in theTorah. Whoever does not believe in him, or whoever does not wait for his coming, not only does he defy the other prophets, but also the Torah and Moses our teacher. For the Torah testifies about him, thus: "And the Lord Your God will return your returned ones and will show you mercy and will return and gather you... If your strayed one shall be at the edge of Heaven... And He shall bring you" etc.(Deuteronomy 30:3-5)." "These words that are explicitly stated in the Torah, encompass and include all the words spoken by all the prophets. In the section of Torah referring to Bala'am, too, it is stated,

and there he prophesied about the two anointed ones: The first anointed one is David, who saved Israel from all their oppressors; and the last anointed one will stand up from among his descendants and saves Israel in the end. This is what he says (Numbers 24:17-18): "I see him but not now" - this is David; "I behold him but not near" - this is the anointed king. "A star has shot forth from Jacob" - this is David; "And a brand will rise up from Israel" - this is the anointed king. "And he will smash the edges of Moab" - This is David, as it states: "...And he struck Moab and measured them by rope" (II Samuel8:2); "And he will uproot all Children of Seth" - this is the anointed king, of whom it is stated: "And his reign shall be from sea to sea" (Zechariah 9:10). "And Edom shall be possessed" - this is David, thus: "And Edom became David's as slaves etc." (II Samuel 8:6); "And Se'ir shall be possessed by its enemy" - this is the anointed king, thus: "And saviors shall go up Mount Zion to judge Mount Esau, and the Kingdom shall be the Lord's" (Obadiah 1:21)." "And by the Towns of Refuge it states: "And if the Lord your God will widen up your territory... you shall add on for you another three towns" etc. (Deuteronomy 19:8-9). Now this thing never happened; and the Holy One does not command in vain. But as for the words of the prophets, this matter needs no proof, as all their books are full with this issue." "Do not imagine that the anointed king must perform miracles and signs and create new things in the world or resurrect the dead and so on. The matter is not so: For Rabbi Akiva was a great scholar of the sages of the Mishnah, and he was the assistant-warrior of the king Bar Kokhba, and claimed that he was the anointed king. He and all the Sages of his generation deemed him the anointed king, until he was killed by sins; only since he was killed, they knew that he was not. The Sages asked him neither a miracle nor a sign..." "And if a king shall arise from among the House of David, studying Torah and indulging in commandments like his father David, according to the written and oral Torah, and he will impel all of Israel to follow it and to strengthen breaches in its observance, and will fight Hashem's [God's] wars, this one is to be treated as if he were the anointed one. If he succeeded and built a Holy Temple in its proper place and gathered the disperesed ones of Israel together, this is indeed the anointed one for certain, and he will mend the entire world to worship the Lord together, as it is stated: "For then I shall turn for the nations a clear tongue, to call all in the Name of the Lord and to worship Him with one shoulder (Zephaniah 3:9)." "But if he did not succeed to this degree, or if he was killed, it becomes known that he is not this one of whom the Torah had promised us, and he is indeed like all proper and wholesome kings of the House of David who died. The Holy One, Blessed Be He, only set him up to try the public by him, thus: "Some of the wise men will stumble in clarifying these words, and in elucidating and interpreting when the time of the end will be, for it is not yet the designated time." (Daniel 11:35)." 8. ^ "As for Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed to be the anointed one and was condemned by the Sanhedrin. Daniel had already prophesied about him, thus: 'And the children of your people's rebels shall raise themselves to set up prophecy and will stumble.' Maimonides. Mishneh Torah, Sefer Shofetim, Melachim uMilchamot, Chapter 11, Halacha 4. Chabad translation by Eliyahu Touge. Can there be a bigger stumbling block than this? All the Prophets said that the anointed one saves Israel and rescues them, gathers their strayed ones and strengthens their mitzvot whereas this one caused

the loss of Israel by sword, and to scatter their remnant and humiliate them, and to change the Torah and to cause most of the world to erroneously worship a god besides the Lord. But the human mind has no power to reach the thoughts of the Creator, for his thoughts and ways are unlike ours. All these matters of Yeshu of Nazareth and of Muhammad who stood up after him are only intended to pave the way for the anointed king, and to mend the entire world to worship God together, thus: 'For then I shall turn a clear tongue to the nations to call all in the Name of the Lord and to worship him with one shoulder.'" "How is this? The entire world had become filled with the issues of the anointed one and of the Torah and the Laws, and these issues had spread out unto faraway islands and among many nations uncircumcised in the heart, and they discuss these issues and the Torah's laws. These say: These Laws were true but are already defunct in these days, and do not rule for the following generations; whereas the other ones say: There are secret layers in them and they are not to be treated literally, and the Messiah had come and revealed their secret meanings. But when the anointed king will truly rise and succeed and will be raised and uplifted, they all immediately turn about and know that their fathers inherited falsehood, and their prophets and ancestors led them astray." 9. ^ The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology: Illuminating Expositions on Jewish Thought and Practice by a Revered Teacher (New York: Noble Book Press, 1991)- Page 323 "1:26), "And I will restore your judges as at first, and your counselors as at the beginning, afterward you shall be called ... However, if this is accomplished, we will already have fulfilled the essential part of the Messianic promise. 10. ^ Orthodox Judaism: Covenant 2, covenant god, epistle to the hebrews 11. ^ Origins of Apocalypticism in Judaism and Christianity: Volume 3 - Page 224 John J. Collins, Bernard McGinn - 2000 "That is, the vast majority of Second Temple Jewish texts have no reference to a messianic leader of the end-time. ... the Damascus Document, the Rule of the Congregation, the Commentary on Genesisa, 4Q521 (Messianic Apocalypse), .." 12. ^ The Old Testament pseudepigrapha and the New Testament: Page 111 James H. Charlesworth 1985 "The seminar was focused on an assessment of the importance of the various messianic titles and ideas in the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and their significance for a better understanding of the origins of Christology," 13. ^ The Messiah texts - Page 24 Raphael Patai - 1988 "The list of legendary Redeemers, or quasiMessianic charismatic figures, includes Moses, Elijah (see chapter 14), ... the First Temple was destroyed), Menahem ben Hezekiah (who was born on the very day the Second Temple was destroyed;" 14. ^ [|Parsons, John J.]. "12th Principle: Mashiach is Coming". http://www.hebrew4christians.com/. Hebrew for Christians. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 15. ^ .(1102) (noyaH aduheY ibbaR) ,(atilhS) " " rra gniweiv dna haissem eht fo gnimoc htiaf fo noitadnuoF[ ival charges]" (in Hebrew). )semit dne eht fo serusaerT( . Israel: ( Daniel Enti). Retrieved 2011-09-19. 16. ^ http://ccarnet.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=45&pge_prg_id=4687&pge_id=1656

Christianity and Paganism


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Part of seventh century casket, depicting the pan-Germanic legend of Weyland Smith, which was apparently also a part of Anglo-Saxon pagan mythology.

Early Christianity developed in an era of the Roman Empire during which many religions were practiced, that are, due to the lack of a better term, labeled paganism. Paganism, in spite of its etymological meaning of rural, has a number of distinct meanings. It refers to the Greco-Roman religions of the Roman Empire period, including the Roman imperial cult, the various mystery religions, as well as philosophic monotheistic religions such as Neoplatonism and Gnosticism and the tribal religions practiced on the fringes of the Empire. From the point of view of the early Christians these religions all qualified as ethnic (or gentile, ethnikos, gentilis, the term translating goyim, later rendered aspaganus) in contrast with Judaism. Since the Council of Jerusalem, the Christian apostles accepted both Jewish and pagan converts, and there was a precarious balance between the Jewish believers, insisting on the obedience to the Torah Laws by all Christians, on one hand, and Gentile Christians, developed in the gentile missionary context, on the other. Christianity during the Middle Ages stood in opposition to the pagan ethnic religions of the peoples outside the former Roman Empire, i.e. Germanic paganism,Slavic paganism etc.
Contents
[hide]

1 Pagan influences on Christianity

1.1 Influence on early Christian theology

2 Antiquity

o o

2.1 Origins of Christianity 2.2 Persecution of early Christians in the Roman Empire

2.2.1 Persecution under Nero, 6468 AD

2.2.2 Persecution from the 2nd century to Constantine 2.2.3 The Diocletianic Persecution

2.3 Prohibition and persecution of Paganism in the Roman Empire

3 Christianization during the European Middle Ages

o o o

3.1 Saxons 3.2 Anglo-Saxon 3.3 Scandinavia

4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading

[edit]Pagan

influences on Christianity

Further information: Hellenic philosophy and Christianity

Pythagorean mysticism influenced Christianity.

In the course of the Christianisation of Europe in the Early Middle Ages, the Christian churches adopted many elements of national cult andfolk religion, resulting in national churches like Latin, Germanic, Russian, Armenian, Greek and so on. Some Pagan ceremonies were brought in and the festivals became modern holidays as pagans joined the early church. The Pagan vernal equinox celebration was 'Christianized' and then referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord and celebrated as the Feast of the Annunciation. The Germanic Pagan solstice celebrations (Midsummer festivals) are also sometimes referred to by Neopagans and others as Litha, stemming from Bede's De temporum ratione and the fire festival or Lith- Summer solstice was a tradition for many pagans. This pagan holiday was basically brought in and given a name change, and in Christianity was then associated with the nativity of John the Baptist, which now is observed on the same day, June 24, in the Catholic, Orthodox and some Protestant churches. It is six months before Christmas becauseLuke 1:26 and Luke 1.36 imply that John the Baptist was born six months earlier than Jesus, although the Bible does not say at which time of the year this happened.[1]

The practices were allowed or supported by some such as Clement of Alexandria, (c. AD 150-215) who explains that "prayers are offered while looking toward sunrise in the East" because the Orient represents the birth of light that "dispels the darkness of the night" and because of the orientation of "the ancient temples."[2] or Origen (c. AD 185-254), according to whom with the East symbolizes the soul that looks to the source of light.[3] One goal of the Reformation was to return the Christian churches to the state of early Christianity. Restorationists such as Jehovah's Witnesses continue to argue that mainstream Christianity has departed from Apostolic Christianity due, in part, to such Pagan influences.[citation needed] See also Great Apostasy.

[edit]Influence

on early Christian theology

Main article: Hellenistic philosophy and Christianity Christianity originated in the Roman province of Judaea, a predominantly Jewish society, with traditional philosophies distinct from the Greek thought which was dominant in the Roman Empire at the time. The conflict between the two modes of thought is recorded in the Christian scriptures, in Paul's encounters with Epicurean and Stoic philosophers mentioned in Acts,[4] his diatribe against Greek philosophy in 1st Corinthians,[5] and his warning against vain philosophy in Colossians 2:8.[6] Over time, as Christianity spread throughout the Hellenic world, and with a number of church leaders having been educated in Greek philosophy there was a fusion of the two modes of thought.[citation needed] One early Christian writer of the 2nd and early 3rd century, Clement of Alexandria, demonstrated the assimilation of Greek thought in writing: "Philosophy has been given to the Greeks as their own kind of Covenant, their foundation for the philosophy of Christ... the philosophy of the Greeks... contains the basic elements of that genuine and perfect knowledge which is higher than human... even upon those spiritual objects."[7] Augustine of Hippo, who ultimately systematized Christian philosophy, wrote in the late 4th and early 5th century: "But when I read those books of the Platonists I was taught by them to seek incorporeal truth, so I saw your 'invisible things, understood by the things that are made'.[8]

St. Augustine was originally a Manichaean.

When Christians first encountered Manichaeism, it seemed to them to be a heresy, as it had originated in a heavily Gnostic area of the Persian empire. Augustine of Hippo (354430) converted to Christianity from Manichaeism. Until the 20th century, most of the Western world's concept of Manichaeism came through Augustine's negative polemics against it. According to his Confessions, after eight or nine years of adhering to the Manichaean faith (as a member of the Manichaean group of Hearers), he became a Christian and a potent adversary of Manichaeism. It is speculated by some modern scholars (Alfred Adam, for example),[citation needed] that Manichaean ways of thinking had an influence on the development of some of Augustine's Christian ideas, such as the nature of good and evil, the idea of Hell, the separation of groups into Elect, Hearers, and Sinners, the hostility to the flesh and sexual activity, and so on. How much long term influence the Manichaeans actually had on Christianity is still being debated. It has been suggested that the Bogomils, Paulicians, and the Catharswere deeply influenced by Manichaeism. However, the Bogomils and Cathars, in particular, left few records of their rituals or doctrines, and the link between them and Manichaeans is unclear. Regardless of its historical veracity the charge of Manichaeism was leveled at them by contemporary orthodox opponents, who often tried to fit contemporary heresies with those combated by the church fathers. The Paulicians, Bogomils, and Cathars were certainly dualists and felt that the world was the work of a demiurge of Satanic origin. Whether this was due to influence from Manichaeism or another strand of Gnosticism is impossible to determine. Only a minority of Cathars held that The Evil God (or principle) was as powerful as The Good God (also called a principle) as Mani did, a belief also known as absolute dualism. In the case of the Cathars, it seems they adopted the Manichaean principles of church organization, but none of its religious cosmology. Priscillian and his followers apparently tried to absorb what they thought was the valuable part of Manichaeaism into Christianity.

[edit]Antiquity
Further information: Persecution of religion in ancient Rome

[edit]Origins

of Christianity

St. Clement I was an Apostolic Father.

Main article: Origins of Christianity Early Christianity arose as a movement within 1st century Judaism, following the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. As such, Christianity developed within the matrix of Judaism, relatively independent from pagan religious beliefs and customs. With a missionary commitment to both Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews), Christianity rapidly spread into the greater Roman empire and beyond. Here, Christianity came into contact

with the dominant Pagan religions. By the 2nd century, many Christians were converts from Paganism. These conflicts are recorded in the works of the early Christian writers such as Justin Martyr as well as hostile reports by writers including Tacitus and Suetonius.

[edit]Persecution

of early Christians in the Roman Empire

Main article: Persecution of early Christians in the Roman Empire Christianity was persecuted by Roman imperial authorities early on in its history within the greater empire.

[edit]Persecution under Nero, 6468 AD


Main article: Great Fire of Rome The first documented case of imperially-supervised persecution of the Christians in the Roman Empire begins with Nero (3768). In 64 AD, a great fire broke out in Rome, destroying portions of the city and economically devastating the Roman population. Nero himself was suspected as the arsonist by Suetonius,[9] claiming he played the lyre and sang the 'Sack of Ilium' during the fires. In his Annals, Tacitus(who claimed Nero was in Antium at the time of the fire's outbreak), stated that "to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians [or Chrestians[10]] by the populace" (Tacit. Annals XV, see Tacitus on Jesus). Suetonius, later to the period, does not mention any persecution after the fire, but in a previous paragraph unrelated to the fire, mentions punishments inflicted on Christians, defined as men following a new and malefic superstition. Suetonius however does not specify the reasons for the punishment, he just listed the fact together with other abuses put down by Nero.[11]

[edit]Persecution from the 2nd century to Constantine


By the mid-2nd century, mobs could be found willing to throw stones at Christians, and they might be mobilized by rival sects. The Persecution in Lyon was preceded by mob violence, including assaults, robberies and stonings (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 5.1.7). Further state persecutions were desultory until the 3rd century, though Tertullian's Apologeticus of 197 was ostensibly written in defense of persecuted Christians and addressed to Roman governors. [12] The Edict of Septimius Severus familiar in Christian history is doubted by some secular historians to have existed outside Christian martyrology. The first documentable Empire-wide persecution took place under Maximinus Thrax, though only the clergy were sought out. It was not until Decius during the mid-century that a persecution of Christian laityacross the Empire took place. Christian sources aver that a decree was issued requiring public sacrifice, a formality equivalent to a testimonial of allegiance to the Emperor and the established order. Decius authorized roving commissions visiting the cities and villages to supervise the execution of the sacrifices and to deliver written certificates to all citizens who performed them. Christians were often given opportunities to avoid further punishment by publicly offering sacrifices or burning incense to Roman gods. Those who refused were charged with impiety and punished by arrest, imprisonment, torture, and/or

executions. Christians fled to safe havens in the countryside and some purchased their certificates, called libelli. Several councils held at Carthage debated the extent to which the community should accept these lapsed Christians. Some early Christians sought out and welcomed martyrdom. Roman authorities tried hard to avoid Christians because they "goaded, chided, belittled and insulted the crowds until they demanded their death." According to Droge and Tabor, "in 185 the proconsul of Asia, Arrius Antoninus, was approached by a group of Christians demanding to be executed. The proconsul obliged some of them and then sent the rest away, saying that if they wanted to kill themselves there was plenty of rope available or cliffs they could jump off."[13] Such seeking after death is found in Tertullian's Scorpiace or in the letters of Saint Ignatius of Antioch but was certainly not the only view of martyrdom in the Christian church. Both Polycarp and Cyprian, bishops in Smyrna and Carthage respectively, attempted to avoid martyrdom.

[edit]The Diocletianic Persecution


Main article: Diocletian Persecution

The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer, by Jean-Lon Grme (1883).

The persecutions culminated with Diocletian and Galerius at the end of the third and beginning of the 4th century. The Great Persecution is considered the largest. Beginning with a series of four edicts banning Christian practices and ordering the imprisonment of Christian clergy, the persecution intensified until all Christians in the empire were commanded to sacrifice to the gods or face immediate execution. This persecution lasted until Constantine I, along with Licinius, legalized Christianity in 313. It was not until Theodosius I in the later 4th century that Christianity would become the State church of the Roman Empire. Between these two events Julian II temporarily restored the traditional Roman religion and established broad religious tolerance renewing Pagan and Christian hostilities. The New Catholic Encyclopedia states that "Ancient, medieval and early modern hagiographers were inclined to exaggerate the number of martyrs. Since the title of martyr is the highest title to which a Christian can aspire, this tendency is natural". Estimates of Christians killed for religious reasons before the year 313 vary greatly, depending on the scholar quoted, from a high of almost 1,000,000 to a low of 100,000.

[edit]Prohibition

and persecution of Paganism in the Roman Empire

Main article: Decline of Greco-Roman polytheism The Edict of Milan of 313 finally legalized Christianity. In the period of 313 to 391, both Paganism and Christianity were legal religions, with their respective adherents vying for power in the Roman Empire. This period of transition is also known as the Constantinian shift. In 380, Theodosius I made Nicene Christianity the state church of the Roman Empire. Paganism was tolerated for another 12 years, until 392, when Theodosius passed legislation prohibiting all pagan cultic worship. Pagan religion from this point was increasingly persecuted, a process which lasted throughout the 5th century. The closing of the NeoplatonicAcademy by decree of Justinian I in 529 marks a conventional end point of both classical paganism and Late Antiquity. Lay Christians took advantage of these new anti-pagan laws by destroying and plundering the temples.[citation needed] Theologians and prominent ecclesiastics soon followed. One such example is St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. When Gratian became Roman emperor in 375, Ambrose, who was one of his closest educators, persuaded him to further suppress Paganism. The emperor, on Ambrose's advice, confiscated the property of the Pagan temples; seized the properties of the Vestal Virgins and Pagan priests, and removed the statue of the Goddess of Victory from the Roman Senate.[14] When Gratian delegated the government of the eastern half of the Roman Empire to Theodosius the Great in 379, the situation became worse for the Pagans. Theodosius prohibited all forms of Pagan worship and allowed the temples to be robbed, plundered, and ruthlessly destroyed by monks and other enterprising Christians[15][16][17][18][19] and participated in actions by Christians against major pagan sites.[20] In the year 416, under Theodosius II, a law was passed to ban Pagans from public employment.[citation
needed]

All this was done to coerce Pagans to convert to Christianity. Theodosius also persecuted Judaism,

destroying a number of synagogues.[citation needed]

[edit]Christianization

during the European Middle Ages

Further information: Christianization of the Germanic peoples

[edit]Saxons
Main article: Saxon wars During the Saxon Wars, the Christian Frankish king Charlemagne waged war on the pagan Saxons for over 20 years, seeking to Christianize and rule the Saxons. During this period, the Saxons repeatedly refused Christianization and the rule of Charlemagne, and therefore rebelled frequently. In the year 782 of this period, Charlemagne is recorded as having massacred 4,500 rebel Saxon prisoners in Verden (theMassacre of Verden), and imposing legislation upon the subjected Saxons that including the penalty of death for refusing conversion to Christianity or for aiding pagans who did the same (such as theCapitulatio de partibus Saxoniae). While rebellions continued to take place even after his death (such as that of the Stellinga), Charlemagne succeeded in laying the groundwork for the Christianization of the Saxons, yet was unable to reach the Scandinavians, who remained pagan.

[edit]Anglo-Saxon
The Anglo-Saxon conversion was one of the most difficult for Christian missionaries because paganism was so entrenched into the culture. The Saxons were one of the last groups to be converted by Christian missionaries and it was mainly under the threat of death by Charlemagne and with some inclusions of pagan culture and concessions on the part of the Christian missionaries. The Saxon conversion was so difficult for a number of reasons including their distance from Rome and lack of centralized polity until much later than most other peoples; but also, their pagan beliefs were so strongly tied into the culture in every way it made the conversion much rocky transition. Their sophisticated theology was a bulwark against an immediate and complete conversion to Christianity.[21] So the new theology was translated into terms of Northern life. The conversion of thelberht, king of Kent is the first account of any Christian bretwalda conversion and is told by the Venerable Bede in his histories of the conversion of England. In 582 Pope Gregory sent Augustine and 40 companions from Rome to missionize among the Anglo-Saxons. They had, by order of the blessed Pope Gregory, brought interpreters of the nation of the Franks, and sending to thelberht, signified that they were come from Rome, and brought a joyful message, which most undoubtedly assured to all that took advantage of it everlasting joys in heaven, and a kingdom that would never end with the living and true God.[22] thelberht was not unfamiliar with Christianity because he had a Christian wife, and Bede says that there was even a church dedicated to St. Martin nearby. thelberht was converted eventually and Augustine remained in Canterbury.[23] The Anglo-Saxon conversion in particular was a gradual process that necessarily included many compromises and syncretism. A famous letter from Pope Gregory to Mellitus in June 601, for example, is quoted encouraging the appropriation of pagan temples and festivals for Christian use. The temples of the idols in that nation ought not to be destroyed; but let the idols that are in them be destroyed; let holy water be made and sprinkled in the said temples, let altars be erected, and relics placed. For if those temples are well built, it is requisite that they be converted from the worship of devils to the service of the true God .... And because they have been used to slaughter many oxen in the sacrifices to devils, some solemnity must be exchanged for them on this account .... but kill cattle to the praise of God .... For there is no doubt that it is impossible to efface everything at once from their obdurate minds; because he who endeavours to ascend to the highest place, rises by degrees or steps, and not by leaps. Bede, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (1.30)

[edit]Scandinavia
Further information: Christianization of Scandinavia Olaf I of Norway, during his attempt to Christianize Norway during the Viking Age, had those under his rule that practiced their indigenous Norse Paganism and refused to Christianize tortured, maimed or executed, including seidmen, who were tied up and thrown to a skerry at low tide to slowly drown.[citation needed] After Olaf I's death, Norway returned to its native paganism.

[edit]See

also

Christian debate on persecution and toleration Christianity and Neopaganism Christianity and other religions Constantine I and Christianity Germanic Christianity History of early Christianity Jesus Christ in comparative mythology Neoplatonism and Christianity Panbabylonism Persecution of Christians Virtuous pagan Witch-cult hypothesis

[edit]References

1. 2. 3. 4.

^ http://www.allaboutjesuschrist.org/was-jesus-born-on-december-25-faq.htm ^ Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 7, 7, 43, GCS 3, 32. ^ 67. Origen, De oratione 32, GCS 2, 400, 23. ^ "Acts 17:1833 Passage Lookup New International Version". BibleGateway.com. Retrieved 200911-09.

5.

^ "1 Corinthians 1:2025; Passage Lookup New International Version". BibleGateway.com. Retrieved 2009-11-09.

6.

^ "Colossians 2:8; Passage Lookup New International Version". BibleGateway.com. Retrieved 2009-11-09.

7. 8. 9.

^ Clement of Alexandria. Miscellanies 6. 8 ^ Augustine of Hippo. Confessions 7. 20 ^ Nero Ch 38

10. ^ In the earliest extant manuscript, the second Medicean, the e in "Chrestianos", Chrestians, has been changed into an i; cf. Gerd Theien, Annette Merz, Der historische Jesus: ein Lehrbuch, 2001, p. 89. The reading Christianos, Christians, is therefor doubtful. On the other hand, Suetonius (Claudius 25) uses the same 'e' transliteration of the Greek Krystos, meaning the anointed one, and associates it with a troublemaker among the Jews 11. ^ Nero 16 12. ^ Tertullian's readership was more likely to have been Christians, whose faith was reinforced by Tertullian's defenses of faith against rationalizations.

13. ^ Droge, A.J. and Tabor, J.D. (1992:136) A Noble Death: Suicide and Martyrdom Among Christians and Jews in Antiquity HarperSanFrancisco. Misquoted as Groge and Tabor (1992:136) by C. Douzinas in Closs Stephens, A. and Vaughan-Williams, N. (2009:198) Terrorism and the Politics of ResponseRoutledge, Oxon and New York. 14. ^ "Gratian", Catholic Encyclopedia, 1909 15. ^ Grindle, Gilbert (1892) The Destruction of Paganism in the Roman Empire, pp.2930. Quote summary: For example, Theodosius ordered Cynegius (Zosimus 4.37), the praetorian prefect of the East, to permanently close down the temples and forbade the worship of the deities throughout Egypt and the East. Most of the destruction was perpetrated by Christian monks and bishops, 16. ^ Life of St. Martin 17. ^ Gibbon, Edward The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ch28 18. ^ R. MacMullen, "Christianizing The Roman Empire A.D.100400, Yale University Press, 1984, ISBN 0300-03642-6 19. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia (1912) article on Theophilus, New Advent Web Site. 20. ^ Ramsay McMullan (1984) Christianizing the Roman Empire A.D. 100400, Yale University Press, p.90. 21. ^ Chaney, William. "Paganism to Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England." The Harvard Theological Review 53 (1960): 197217. 22. ^ Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England. Charleston: BiblioBazaar, 2007 23. ^ Fletcher, Richard. The Barbarian Conversion : From Paganism to Christianity. New York: University of California P, 1999.

Jesus Christ in comparative mythology


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The study of Jesus Christ in comparative mythology is the examination of the narrative of the life of Jesus in the Christian gospels, traditions and theology, as it relates to Christian mythology and other religions. For over a century, various authors have drawn a number of parallels between the Christian views of Jesus and other religious or mythical domains.[1] These includeGreco-Roman mysteries, ancient Egyptian myths, and more general analogies involving cross-cultural patterns of dying and rising gods in the context of Jesus myth theory.[2] While some scholars continue to support these analogies, others contend that the perceived similarities are often without historical basis, that first centurymonotheistic Galilean Jews would not have been open to pagan myths, and that the analogies are usually based on parallelomania, exaggerating the importance of trifling resemblances.[3][1][4][5]
Contents
[hide]

1 Comparative mythology

o o

1.1 Overview 1.2 Greco-Roman mysteries

1.2.1 Mithras

1.3 Ancient Egypt

1.3.1 Resurrection analogies 1.3.2 Artistic analogies

1.4 Buddhism and Hinduism

2 Jesus myth theory

o o

2.1 Jesus as myth 2.2 Parallels and analogies

3 See also 4 Footnotes 5 References 6 External links

[edit]Comparative [edit]Overview

mythology

A number of parallels have been drawn between the Christian views of Jesus and other religious or mythical domains.[5][1] However, Eddy and Boyd state that there is no evidence of a historical influence by the pagan myths such as dying and rising gods on the authors of the New Testament, and most scholars agree that any such historical influence is entirely implausible given that first century monotheisticGalilean Jews would not have been open to pagan stories.[5][4] Paula Fredriksen states that no serious scholarly work places Jesus outside the backdrop of 1st century Palestinian Judaism.[6] Scholars have debated a number of broad issues related to the parallels drawn between Jesus and other myths, e.g. the very existence of the category dying-and-rising god was debated throughout the 20th century, most modern scholars questioning the soundness of the category.[5][7] At the end of the 20th century the overall scholarly consensus had emerged against the soundness of the reasoning used to suggest the category.[7] Tryggve Mettinger (who supports the category) states that there is a scholarly consensus that the category is inappropriate from a historical perspective. [8] Scholars such as Kurt Rudolph have stated the reasoning used for the construction of the category has been defective. [7] Scholars such as Samuel Sandmel, professor of Bible and Hellenistic Literature at Hebrew Union College, view conclusions drawn from the simple observations of similarity as less than valid. [1] Sandmel called the extravagance in hunting for similarities "parallelomania" a phenomenon where scholars first notice a supposed similarity and then "proceeds to describe source and derivation as if implying a literary connection flowing in an inevitable or predetermined direction" thus exaggerating the importance of trifling resemblances.[1][4]

[edit]Greco-Roman

mysteries

Caravaggio's Bacchus (the Roman adaptation of Dionysus) with grapes, c. 1595

Parallels have been drawn between Greek myths and the life of Jesus. An early example was Friedrich Hlderlin, who in his Brot und Wein (18001801) suggested similarities between the Greek god Dionysus and Jesus.[9] Dionysus (called Bacchus by the Romans), is the son of Zeus and is the god of grape harvest, winemaking, theater and ritual madness.[10] Dionysus was a horned child who was torn to pieces by Titans, then boiled, but his grandmother Rhea put his pieces back together and brought him back to life.[10] Dionysus was then sent to hide on a mountain, where he invented wine.[10] Modern scholars such as Martin Hengel, Barry Powell, and Peter Wick, among others, argue that Dionysian religion and Christianity have notable parallels.[11][12] They point to the symbolism of wine and the importance it held in the mythology surrounding both Dionysus and Jesus Christ; although, Wick argues that the use of wine symbolism in the Gospel of John, including the story of the Marriage at Cana at which Jesus turns water into wine, was intended to show Jesus as superior to Dionysus.[13] Additionally, some scholars of comparative mythology argue that both Dionysus and Jesus represent the "dying-and-returning god" mythological archetype.[14] Other parallels, such as the celebration by a ritual meal of bread and wine, have also been suggested and Powell, in particular, argues that precursors to the Christian notion oftransubstantiation can be found in Dionysian religion.[15] Another parallel has been drawn to how in the Bacchae Dionysus appears before King Pentheus on charges of claiming divinity and is compared to the New Testament scene of Jesus being interrogated by Pontius Pilate.[12][13][15] E. Kessler has argued that the Dionysian cult developed into strict monotheism by the 4th century CE; and together with Mithraism and other sects the cult formed an instance of "pagan monotheism" in direct competition with Early Christianity during Late Antiquity.[16]

[edit]Mithras
Main article: Mithraism#Mithraism and Christianity The worship of Mithras was widespread in much of the Roman Empire from the mid-2nd century CE.[17][18] The Mithra cult in the Roman Empire was a syncretism of different religious motifs, centered on the god Mithras who emerges from a rock. Its closest similarities to Christianity are the story of the slaying of the bull by Mithras; a bull is captured and killed by Mithras when he plunges a knife into it and from the dead bull grain and plants are produced, that symbolize life. Mithras was a solar deity, closely associated with the Roman Sol Invictus.[19] Stanley porter notes that Mithraism took hold within the Roman Empire after its expansion and only reached Asia minor via Roman soldiers in the latter part of the first century, after the basic elements of the gospels were in place, and hence could not have influenced their essential elements.[20] Early Christian authors noted similarities between Mithraic practices and Christian rituals, but took an extremely negative view of Mithraism: they interpreted Mithraic rituals as evil copies of Christian

ones.[21][22] In the second century, Justin Martyr contrasted Mithraic initiation communion with the Eucharist:[23] Wherefore also the evil demons in mimicry have handed down that the same thing should be done in the Mysteries of Mithras. For that bread and a cup of water are in these mysteries set before the initiate with certain speeches you either know or can learn.[24] Tertullian then wrote that as a prelude to the Mithraic initiation ceremony, the initiate was given a ritual bath and at the end of the ceremony, received a mark on the forehead. He described these rites as a diabolical counterfeit of the baptism and chrismation of Christians.[25]

[edit]Ancient

Egypt

See also: Osiris myth, Horus, Osiris, and Isis

Gerald Massey c. 1856

Early in the 20th century, Gerald Massey argued that there are similarities between the Egyptian god Horus and Jesus.[26] Following those ideas, in the 1940s Alvin Boyd Kuhnsuggested that not only Christianity, but Judaism was based on Egyptian concepts, and more recently Tom Harpur (who believes Jesus existed, but his lifestory is fiction) has expressed similar views.[27][28] Harpur acknowledges Massey and Kuhn as his intellectual predecessors and theologian Stanley E. Porter states that most of Harpur's work is directly based on quoting Massey and Kuhn.[27][28] Porter has pointed out that Massey and Kuhn's analogies include a number of errors, e.g. Massey stated that December 25 as the date of birth of Jesus was selected based on the birth of Horus, but the New Testament does not include any reference to the date or season of the birth of Jesus. [29][30][31] The earliest known source recognizing the 25th of December as the date of birth of Jesus is by Hippolytus of Rome, written around the beginning of the 3rd century, based on the assumption that the conception of Jesus took place at the Spring equinox. Hippolytus placed the equinox on March 25 and then added 9 months to get December 25, thus establishing the date for festivals.[32] The RomanChronography of 354 then included an early reference to the celebration of a Nativity feast in December, as of the fourth century.[33]

Porter states that Massey's serious historical errors often render his works nonsensical, e.g. Massey states that the biblical references to Herod the Great were based on the myth of "Herrut" the evil hydra serpent, while the existence of Herod the Great can be well established without reliance on Christian sources. [29] Harpur has noted that Kuhn had expected his ideas to have a Darwin-like impact on religious studies, but that has not happened and Kuhn's concepts are generally ignored or rejected.[27] Porter criticizes Kuhn's work based on various errors such as confusing the dates of the composition of the Mishnah and the Babylonian Talmud when drawing conclusions.[34] Porter also criticizes Harpur's views (which are often based on Kuhn) for their lack of rigor and consistency.[29]

[edit]Resurrection analogies
The Egyptians had specific harvesting rituals that related the rising and receding waters of the Nile river and the farming cycle to the death and resurrection of Osiris.[35] The cutting down of barley and wheat was related to the death of Osiris, while the sprouting of shoots was thought to be based on the power of Osiris to resurrect the farmland.[35][36]

The Osiris-bed, where he helps the growth of grain and renews the harvest cycle.

Osiris-beds were common in ancient Egypt and were clay representations of a dead Osiris which when watered would sprout shoots in the spring, thus representing his power to control nature even after his death.[35][36] Christ myth theory proponent G. A. Wells still sees an analogy with the Resurrection of Jesus in the Pauline epistles and Osiris, in that Osiris dies and is mourned on the first day and that his resurrection is celebrated on the third day with the joyful cry "Osiris has been found".[37] However, since changing his position on the historicity of Jesus, Wells now accepts that the personage mentioned in the Q source is not all mythical and is "not to be identified with the dying and rising Christ of the early epistles".[38] David J. MacLeod states that the Osiris legend is very different from the resurrection of Jesus in that "Osiris did not rise; he ruled in the abode of the dead."[39] Biblical scholar Bruce M. Metzger does not see a direct analogy and notes that in one account of the Osirian cycle he dies on the 17th of the month of Athyr (approximating to a month between October 28 and November 26 in modern calendars), is revivified on the 19th and compares this to Christ rising on the "third day" but thinks "resurrection" is a questionable description.[40] A. J. M. Wedderburn states that resurrection in Ancient Egypt differs from the Judaeo-Christian tradition, as the Ancient Egyptians conceived of the afterlife as entry into the kingdom of Osiris.[41] Marvin Mayer notes that some scholars regard the idea of

dying and rising deities in the mystery religions as being fanciful but suggests this may be motivated by apologetic concerns, attempting to keep Christ's resurrection as a unique event.[42]

[edit]Artistic analogies
Artistic analogies were drawn between Egyptian myths and Christian art from the early days when Gerald Massey proposed his theories.[29] For instance, Massey claimed that the existence of depictions ofLazarus wrapped in cloth like a mummy proves that the Raising of Lazarus had Egyptian origins.[29] Porter points out that Christian art produced centuries after the New Testament was written could not have influenced it.[29] Some scholars see similarities between the statue of Isis and Horus and later Christian depictions of the Madonna and Child.[43] However, later artistic Christian renderings have very little to do with the origins of biblical texts.[44] Stephen Benko states that some depictions of Mary and Jesus share similarities with extant ancient Egyptian art depictions of Horus and Isis.[45] Egyptologist Erik Hornung wrote that "There was an obvious analogy between the Horus child and the baby Jesus and the care they received from their sacred mothers; long before Christianity, Isis had borne the epithet 'mother of the god.'" [46]

6th century mosaic of theRaising of Lazarus, church of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo,Ravenna, Italy

Isis nursing Horus, Louvre

A statue of Isis nursing the child Horus dating from the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt

15th century painting of the Madonna and child by Fra Filippo Lippi, as the Seat of Wisdom

[edit]Buddhism

and Hinduism

Main articles: Buddhism and Christianity and Comparison of Buddhism and Christianity While there have been suggestions that an adult Jesus studied in India and was influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism, they are roundly seen as fanciful.

The Crucifixion (1622) bySimon Vouet; Church of Jesus, Genoa. The crucifixion of Jesus is at the center of Christian theology.[47]

Robert Van Voorst states that modern scholarship has "almost unanimously agreed" that claims of the travels of Jesus to Tibet, Kashmir or India contain "nothing of value".[48]

Marcus Borg states that the suggestions that an adult Jesus traveled to Egypt or India and came into contact with Buddhism are "without historical foundation".[49]

John Dominic Crossan states that none of the theories presented about the travels of Jesus to fill the gap between his early life and the start of his ministry have been supported by modern scholarship.[50]

Regardless of the rejection of travels of Jesus, analogies have been suggested, e.g. Jerry H. Bentley wrote of similarities and stated that it is possible "that Buddhism influenced the early development of Christianity" and suggested "attention to many parallels concerning the births, lives, doctrines, and deaths of the Buddha and Jesus".[51] Z. P. Thundy has surveyed the similarities and differences between the birth stories

of Buddha by Maya and Jesus by Mary and noted that while there are similarities such as virgin birth, there are also differences, e.g. that Mary outlives Jesus after raising him, but Maya dies soon after the birth of Buddha, as all mothers of Buddhas do in the Buddhist tradition.[52]Thundy does not assert that there is any historical evidence that the Christian birth stories of Jesus were derived from the Buddhist traditions, but suggests that as an avenue for further research.[52] Other scholars have rejected these analogies, e.g. Leslie Houlden states that although modern parallels between the teachings of Jesus and Buddha have been drawn, these comparisons emerged after missionary contacts in the 19th century and there is no historically reliable evidence of contacts between Buddhism and Jesus.[53] Scholars such as Paul Numrich have stated that despite surface level non-scholarly analogies, Buddhism and Christianity have inherent and irreconcilable differences at the deepest levels.[54] The central iconic imagery of the two traditions underscore the difference in the perspectives on Buddha and Jesus, when the peaceful death of Gautama Buddha at an old age is contrasted with the harsh image of the crucifixion of Jesus as a willing sacrifice for the atonement for the sins of humanity.[53] Buddhists scholars such as Masao Abe and D. T. Suzuki see the centrality of crucifixion in Christianity as an irreconcilable gap between the lives of Buddha and Jesus.[53][55][56] Despite this, some Hindus see Jesus as a shaktavesha avatar, or an empowered incarnation.[57]

[edit]Jesus [edit]Jesus

myth theory
as myth

Main article: Christ myth theory

David Strauss, the 19th century founder of Christ myth theory. [58]

The term "Christ myth theory" is an umbrella term that applies to a range of arguments that question the existence of Jesus or the essential elements of his life as described in the Christian gospels. [59][60] Among the variants of the Jesus myth theory, the notion that Jesus never existed has little scholarly support, and virtually all scholars of antiquity agree that he existed.[58][61][62][63]

The origins of the Christ myth theory go back to late 18th-century France, and the works of ConstantinVolney and Charles Dupuis.[64] The more methodical writings of David Friedrich Strauss caused an uproar in Europe in 1835, and Strauss became known as the founder of Christ myth theory.[58][65] Strauss did not deny the existence of Jesus, but believed that very few facts could be known about him and characterized the miraculous accounts in the gospels as "mythical".[65][66][67] At around the same time Bruno Bauerbegan to propose somewhat similar ideas.[64][68] By the beginning of the 20th century, Arthur Drews, William B. Smith and John M. Robertson became the most recognized proponents of the Christ myth theory.[64][69] Later in the 20th century, scholars such as professor of German language G. A. Wells, Swedish professor of English language Alvar Ellegrd, and philosopher and theologian Robert M. Price produced a number of arguments to support the Christ myth theory.[69]

[edit]Parallels

and analogies

The Return of Persephoneby Frederic Leighton (1891).

Some modern scholars have argued that the details of the life of Jesus share similarities to ancient myths and may have been influenced by them,[2] other scholars contend that the analogies are without historical basis.[3] There are also arguments that go the other way, namely that the life story of Jesus as told by early Christians during the second and third centuries gave rise to new religious movements such as Gnosticism[70] Volney and Dupuis were the first modern authors to present an analogy between Jesus and previous solar deities around the end of the 18th century.[71] By the beginning of the 20th century, John M. Robertson and William Benjamin Smith followed suit and made similar comparisons between Jesus and solar deities.[72] However, these arguments were soon criticized by others such as F. C. Coneybeare and H. G. Wood who argued that the analogies lacked historical basis.[72] In his 1949 book The Hero with a Thousand Faces Joseph Campbell advanced the theory that a single myth stood behind the stories of Krishna, Buddha, Apollonius of Tyana, Jesus and other hero stories.[73] In his later The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology Campbell stated "(i)t is clear that, whether accurate or

not as to biographical detail, the moving legend of the Crucified and Risen Christ was fit to bring a new warmth, immediacy, and humanity, to the old motifs of the beloved Tammuz, Adonis, and Osiris cycles."[2] Other scholars reject the theory that the early Christian traditions related to Jesus can be explained with parallels in pagan mythological.[74] For instance, Paula Fredriksen, writes that no serious work places Jesus outside the backdrop of 1st century Palestinian Judaism.[3] Biblical scholarship also generally rejects the concept of homogenous dying and rising gods, the validity of which is often presupposed by advocates of the Christ myth theory, such as New Testament scholar Robert Price. Tryggve Mettinger, former professor of Hebrew bible at Lund University, is one of the academics who supports the "dying and rising gods" construct, but he states that Jesus does not fit the wider pattern.[75]

[edit]See

also
Wikisource has original text related to this article: Eclogues/Eclogue IV

Christian mythology Historicity of Jesus Esoteric Christianity Secular theology Life-death-rebirth deity

[edit]Footnotes
a b c d e

1.

Sandmel, S (1962). "Parallelomania". Journal of Biblical Literature 81 (1): 1

13. doi:10.2307/3264821.JSTOR 3264821. 2. ^


a b c

Campbell, Joseph (2003) The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology Vol. 3 ISBN 978-0-14-

019441-8 pg 362 3. 4. ^ ^
a b c a b c

Fredriksen, Paula. From Jesus to Christ. Yale University Press, 2000, p. xxvi. Gerald O'Collins, "The Hidden Story of Jesus" New Blackfriars Volume 89, Issue 1024, pages

710714, November 2008 5. ^


a b c d

The Jesus legend: a case for the historical reliability of the synoptic gospels by Paul R. Eddy,

Gregory A. Boyd 2007 ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 53-54 6. 7. ^ Fredriksen, Paula. From Jesus to Christ. Yale University Press, 2000, p. xxvi. ^
a b c

Archetypes and Motifs in Folklore and Literature by Jane Garry (Dec 1, 2004) ISBN

0765612607 pages 19-20 8. ^ Mettinger, Tryggve N. D. (2001). The Riddle of Resurrection: Dying and Rising Gods in the Ancient Near East. Almqvist & Wiksell, pages 7 and 221

9.

^ Problem of Christ in the Work of Fredrich Hoelderlin (Text and Dissertations Series) by Mark Ogden (Dec 31, 1991) ISBN 0947623361 page 151

10. ^

a b c

Euripides and Alcestis by Kiki Gounaridou (Sep 3, 1998) University Press Of America ISBN

0761812318 page 71 11. ^ A Short Introduction to Classical Myth by Barry B. Powell (Jan 2002) ISBN 0130258393 pages 105 107 12. ^ 13. ^
a b a b

Studies in Early Christology, by Martin Hengel, 2005, p.331 (ISBN 978-0-567-04280-4) Wick, Peter (2004). "Jesus gegen Dionysos? Ein Beitrag zur Kontextualisierung des

Johannesevangeliums". Biblica(Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute) 85 (2): 179198. Retrieved 2007-1010. 14. ^ Burkert, Walter, Greek Religion, 1985 pp. 64, 132 15. ^
a b

Powell, Barry B., Classical Myth Second ed. With new translations of ancient texts by Herbert M.

Howe. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1998. 16. ^ E. Kessler, Dionysian Monotheism in Nea Paphos, CyprusSymposium on Pagan Monotheism in the Roman Empire, Exeter, 1720 July 2006 Abstract) 17. ^ Beard, M; North, J and Price, S (1998). Religions of Rome Volume 1: A History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 266, 301. ISBN 978-0-521-30401-6. 18. ^ Beck, RL (2003). "Mithras". In Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth. The Oxford Classical Dictionary (revised 3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 991992. 978-0198606413. 19. ^ J (2006). Unmasking the pagan Christ : an evangelical response to the cosmic Christ idea . Toronto: Clements Pub.. pp. 100104. ISBN 978-1-894667-71-5. 20. ^ Unmasking the Pagan Christ by Stanley E. Porter and Stephen J. Bedard 2006 ISBN 1894667719 page 100 21. ^ Hopfe, Lewis M.; Richardson, Henry Neil (September 1994)."Archaeological Indications on the Origins of Roman Mithraism". In Lewis M. Hopfe. Uncovering ancient stones: essays in memory of H. Neil Richardson. Eisenbrauns. pp. 147.ISBN 978-0-931464-73-7. Retrieved 19 March 2011. "... The Christian's view of this rival religion is extremely negative, because they regarded it as a demonic mockery of their own faith." 22. ^ Gordon, Richard. "FAQ". Retrieved 2011-03-22. "In general, in studying Mithras, and the other Grecooriental mystery cults, it is good practice to steer clear of all information provided by Christian writers: they are not 'sources', they are violent apologists, and one does best not to believe a word they say, however tempting it is to supplement our ignorance with such stuff." 23. ^ Fritz Graf, "Baptism and Graeco-Roman Mystery Cults," in "Rituals of Purification, Rituals of Initiation," in Ablution, Initiation, and Baptism: Late Antiquity, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity (Walter de Gruyter, 2011), p. 105. 24. ^ Francis Legge (1950). Forerunners and rivals of Christianity: being studies in religious history from 330 B.C. to 330 A.D. Retrieved 12 April 2011. "Wherefore also the evil demons in mimicry have handed

down that the same thing should be done in the Mysteries of Mithras. For that bread and a cup of water are in these mysteries set before the initiate with certain speeches you either know or can learn." 25. ^ Louis Bouyer. The Christian Mystery. pp. 70. Retrieved 28 May 2011. 26. ^ Massey, Gerald (1907). Ancient Egypt, the light of the world. London: T. Fisher Unwin. pp. 728 914. ISBN 978-1-4588-1251-3. 27. ^
a b c

The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light by Tom Harpur 2005| ISBN 978-0-8027-1449-

7 pages 710 28. ^


a b

Unmasking the Pagan Christ by Stanley E. Porter and Stephen J. Bedard 2006 ISBN

1894667719 page 24 29. ^


a b c d e f

Unmasking the Pagan Christ by Stanley E. Porter and Stephen J. Bedard 2006 ISBN

1894667719 pages 1829 30. ^ Ancient Egypt The Light of the World by Gerald Massey (Dec 11, 2008) ISBN 1595476067 page 661 31. ^ Lost Light: An Interpretation of Ancient Scriptures by Alvin Boyd Kuhn (Jun 11, 2007) ISBN 1599868148 page 674 32. ^ Mercer Dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Edgar V. McKnight and Roger A. Bullard 2001 ISBN 0-86554-373-9 page 142 33. ^ Faith & philosophy of Christianity by Maya George 2009 ISBN 81-7835-720-8 page 287 34. ^ Unmasking the Pagan Christ by Stanley E. Porter and Stephen J. Bedard 2006 ISBN 1894667719 page 42 35. ^
a b c

Egyptian Mythology, a Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt by

Geraldine Pinch 2004 ISBN 0195170245 Oxford Univ Press page 91 36. ^
a b

Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt by Margaret Bunson 1999ISBN 0517203804 page 290

37. ^ "Can we trust the New Testament?: thoughts on the reliability of early Christian testimony ", George Albert Wells, p. 18, Open Court Publishing, 2004, ISBN 978-0-8126-9567-0 38. ^ Can We Trust the New Testament? by George Albert Wells (Nov 26, 2003) ISBN 0812695674 pages 50-52 39. ^ David J. MacLeod. The Emmaus Journal. Volume 7 #2, Winter 1998, pg. 169 40. ^ New Testament tools and studies", Bruce Manning Metzger, p. 19, Brill Archive, 1960 41. ^ "Baptism and resurrection: studies in Pauline theology against its Graeco-Roman background Volume 44 of "Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament" Baptism and Resurrection: Studies in Pauline Theology Against Its Graeco-Roman Background", A. J. M. Wedderburn, p. 199, Mohr Siebeck, 1987, ISBN 978-3-16-145192-8 42. ^ "The ancient mysteries: a sourcebook : sacred texts of the mystery religions of the ancient Mediterranean world", Marvin W. Meyer, p. 254, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999, ISBN 978-08122-1692-9

43. ^ "Mary A central figure", Six Academic Experts, BBC Religion & Ethics, 2 October 2002, fetched 5 September 2009.BBC Religions Christianity: Mary 44. ^ Unmasking the Pagan Christ by Stanley E. Porter and Stephen J. Bedard 2006 ISBN 1894667719 page 28 45. ^ Benko, Stephen (1993). Virgin Goddess: Studies in the Pagan and Christian Roots of Mariology . Brill Academic Publishers.ISBN 978-90-04-13639-7. 46. ^ Hornung, Erik; David Lorton (2001). The Secret Lore of Egypt: Its Impact on the West. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-8014-3847-9. 47. ^ New Testament Christology by Frank J. Matera 1999 ISBN 0-664-25694-5 page 67 48. ^ Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 17 49. ^ The Historical Jesus in Recent Research edited by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight 2006 ISBN 1-57506-100-7 page 303 50. ^ Who Is Jesus? by John Dominic Crossan, Richard G. Watts 1999 ISBN 0664258425 pages 2829 51. ^ Bentley, Jerry H. (1992). Cross-Cultural Contacts and Exchanges in Pre-Modern Times. Oxford University Press. p. 240.ISBN 978-0-19-507640-0. 52. ^ 53. ^
a b

Buddha and Christ by Zacharias P. Thundy (Jan 1, 1993)ISBN 9004097414 pages 95-96 Jesus: The Complete Guide 2006 by Leslie Houlden ISBN 082648011X page 140

a b c

54. ^ The Boundaries of Knowledge in Buddhism, Christianity, and Science by Paul D Numrich (Dec 31, 2008) ISBN 3525569874page 10 55. ^ Buddhism and Interfaith Dialogue by Masao Abe and Steven Heine (Jun 1, 1995) ISBN pages 99-100 56. ^ Mysticism, Christian and Buddhist by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki ((Aug 4, 2002)) ISBN 1605061328 page 113 57. ^ [1] 58. ^
a b c

The Cambridge companion to Jesus by Markus N. A. Bockmuehl 2001 Cambridge Univ

Press ISBN 978-0-521-79678-1 pages 214215 59. ^ A theory of primitive Christian religion by Gerd Theissen 2003ISBN 0-334-02913-9 pages 2327 60. ^ Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 78 61. ^ In a 2011 review of the state of modern scholarship, Bart Ehrman (who is a secular agnostic) wrote: "He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees" B. Ehrman, 2011 Forged : writing in the name of God ISBN 978-0-06-207863-6. page 285 62. ^ Robert M. Price (an atheist who denies existence) agrees that this perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars: Robert M. Price "Jesus at the Vanishing Point" in The Historical Jesus: Five Views edited by James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy, 2009 InterVarsity, ISBN 028106329X page 61 63. ^ Robert E. Van Voorst states that biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of nonexistence of Jesus as effectively refuted. Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New

Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 16 64. ^
a b c

The historical Jesus in the twentieth century, 1900 1950 by Walter P. Weaver 1999 ISBN 1-

56338-280-6 page 45-50 65. ^


a b

The historical Jesus question by Gregory W. Dawes 2001ISBN 0-664-22458-X pages 7779

66. ^ The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined by David Friedrich Strauss 2010 ISBN 1-61640-309-8 pages 3943 and 8791 67. ^ The making of the new spirituality by James A. Herrick 2003ISBN 0-8308-2398-0 pages 5865 68. ^ The Blackwell Guide to Continental Philosophy edited by Robert Solomon, David Sherman 2008 ISBN 978-1-4051-4304-2page 64 69. ^
a b

Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient

Evidence. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 1115 70. ^ Komoszewski, JE; Sawyer, MJ & Wallace, DB (2006).Reinventing Jesus. Kregel Publications. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-8254-2982-8. 71. ^ The Birth of Orientalism (Encounters with Asia) by Urs App 2010 Univ Pen Press ISBN 0812242610 pages 457459 72. ^
a b

Van Voorst, Robert E. (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient

Evidence ISBN 0-8028-4368-9. pages 1112 73. ^ Bennett, Clinton In search of Jesus: insider and outsider images Page 206 74. ^ Bromiley, Geoffrey W. (ed.) "Jesus Christ," The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Eerdmans, 1982, p. 1034;

Also see Dunn, James D. G. "Myth" in Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, & I. Howard Marshall (ed.) Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. InterVarsity, 1992, p. 566.

75. ^ Smith, Mark S. The Ugaritic Baal Cycle. Brill, 1994, p. 70; and Mettinger, Tryggve N. D. The Riddle of Resurrection. Almqvist & Wiksell, 2001, pp. 7, 221. *For the argument that the Christ myth theory rests in part on this idea, see Price, Robert M. "Jesus at the Vanishing Point" in James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy (eds.) The Historical Jesus: Five Views. InterVarsity, 2009, p. 75.

Hellenistic philosophy and Christianity


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2012)

Pythagorean mysticism influenced Christianity.

Hellenistic philosophy and Christianity refers to the complex interaction between Hellenistic philosophy and early Christianity during the first four centuries AD. The conflict between the two modes of thought is recorded in Paul's encounters with Epicurean and Stoic philosophers in Acts 17:18, his diatribe against Greek philosophy in 1Corinthians 1:18-31 and his warning against philosophy in Colossians 2:8. However, as Christianity spread throughout the Hellenic world, an increasing number of church leaders were educated in Greek philosophy. The dominant philosophical traditions of the Greco-Roman world at the time were Stoicism, Platonism, and Epicureanism. Stoicism and particularly Platonism were readily incorporated into Christian ethics and Christian theology. Christian assimilation of Hellenic philosophy was anticipated by Philo and other Greek-speaking Alexandrian Jews. Philo's blend of Judaism, Platonism, and Stoicism strongly influenced Christian Alexandrian writers like Origen and Clement of Alexandria, as well as, in the Latin world,Ambrose of Milan. One early Christian writer of the 2nd and early 3rd century, Clement of Alexandria, demonstrated Greek thought in writing, "Philosophy has been given to the Greeks as their own kind of Covenant, their foundation for the philosophy of Christ ... the philosophy of the Greeks ... contains the basic elements of that genuine and perfect knowledge which is higher than human ... even upon those spiritual objects." (Miscellanies 6. 8) The Church historian Eusebius suggested, essentially, that Greek philosophy had been supplied providentially as a preparation for the Gospel. Augustine of Hippo, who ultimately systematized Christian philosophy, wrote in the 4th and early 5th century, But when I read those books of the Platonists I was taught by them to seek incorporeal truth, so I saw your 'invisible things, understood by the things that are made' (Confessions 7. 20).
Contents
[hide]

1 Conception of God 2 Geocentrism 3 The ontological argument 4 Modern debate 5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links

[edit]Conception

of God

It was not until the fusion of Platonic and Aristotelian theology with Christianity that the concepts of strict omnipotence, omniscience, or benevolence became commonplace. The Platonic Theory of Forms had an enormous influence on Hellenic Christian views of God. In those philosophies, Forms were the ideals of every object in the physical world, and objects in the physical world were merely shadows of those perfect forms. Platonic philosophers were able to theorize about the forms by looking at objects in the material world, and imagining what the "Perfect" tree, or "Perfect" man would be. The Aristotelian view of God grew from these Platonic roots, arguing that God was the Infinite, or the Unmoved mover. Hellenic Christians and their medieval successors then applied this Form-based philosophy to the Christian God. Philosophers took all the things that they considered good, Power, Love, Knowledge and Size, and posited that God was "infinite" in all these respects. They then concluded that God was omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and benevolent. Since God was perfect, any change would make him less than perfect, so they asserted that God was unchanging, or immutable. Anselm of Canterbury, a priest, monk, and philosopher defined God as the "Being than which no greater can be conceived." Almost 200 years later, Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologiae, article 3, wrote succinctly: "By 'God', however, we mean some infinite good". With the establishment of the formal church, the development of creeds and formal theology, this view of God as Omni-Everything became nearly universal in the Christian World.

[edit]Geocentrism
Geocentrism, or the Ptolemaic system, held that the Earth was the center of the universe, and the Sun, Moon, and stars revolved around the Earth. It was devised by Ptolemy, a Greek. Christian scriptures don't describe a geocentric model of the universe, although many passages speak in passing of the sun and stars "moving in the heavens" as would be apparent to any non-scientific observer at the time, as well as descriptions of the stars "declaring the glory of God." However, with the fusion of Greek with Hebrew thought and the rise of the Catholic Church, the geocentric model was incorporated into Church theological thought along with a great deal of Greek scientific thought.

It was not until the 16th and 17th century that Copernicus, Galileo and Johannes Kepler with his three laws of planetary motion challenged the Ptolemaic system, proving the system to be wrong, and trying to prove that heliocentrism correct.

[edit]The

ontological argument

Anselm of Canterbury composed the ontological argument for the existence of God, which he believed to be irrefutable. In essence, he argued that because God is by definition the being than which no greater can be conceived, and it is more perfect to exist than not to exist, that conceiving God not to exist was not conceiving God at all it was conceiving a being less than perfect, which would not be God. Therefore, the argument proceeded, God could not be conceived not to exist. The ontological argument is a defining example of the fusion of Hebrew and Greek thought. Philosophical realism was the dominant philosophical school of Anselm's day, and stemmed from Platonism. According to Realism, and in contrast to Nominalism, things such as "green" and "big" were known as universals, which had a real existence in an abstract realm, as described by Plato. Accordingly, if a concept could be formed in the human mind, then it had a real existence in the abstract realm of the universals, apart from his imagination. In essence, if he could imagine God, God existed. The ontological argument reflected the classical concept of "perfections". Size, intelligence, beauty, power, benevolence, and so forth all these qualities are called perfections. What is more intelligent is more perfect as regards intelligence; what is more beautiful is more perfect as regards beauty; and so forth. Because existence was more perfect than non-existence, and God was by definition perfect, God existed by definition. Hebrew thought, however, contains no reference to such presuppositions. The Platonic concepts of realism, perfections, and a God defined as infinite. This became incorporated into Greek medieval philosophy.

[edit]Modern

debate

Recently, a great deal of debate has arisen regarding the influence of Platonic thought on Christian thought. Movements such as Open theism and Process theology have argued that the God of the Jews and non-Hellenized Christians was not changeless in every respect, while Process theology has gone so far as to deny the classical attribute of God's omnipotence. In support of their position(s), Open Theists cite numerous biblical passages, and both Open Theists and Process Theologians cite the problem of evil and the problem of prayer, which they believe make the existence of a changeless and (for process theologians) omnipotent God, logically untenable.

[edit]See

also

Constantinian shift Hellenistic Judaism

Jesus Christ the Logos Judaism and Christianity Neoplatonism and Christianity Neoplatonism and Gnosticism Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite Religio licita

Diversity in early Christian theology


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Constantine burning Arian books, illustration from a compendium of canon law, ca. 825

Main article: Christian heresy See also: Early Christianity and Christian theology Traditionally, orthodoxy and heresy have been viewed in relation to the "orthodoxy" as an authentic lineage of tradition. Other forms of Christianity were viewed as deviant streams of thought and therefore "heterodox", or heretical. This view was dominant until the publication of Walter Bauer's Rechtglubigkeit und Ketzerei im ltesten Christentum ("Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity") in 1934. Bauer endeavored to rethink Early Christianity historically, independent from the views of the current church. He stated that the 2nd century church was very diverse and included many "heretical" groups that had an equal claim to apostolic tradition. Bauer interpreted the struggle between the orthodox and heterodox to be the "mainstream" Church of Rome struggling to attain dominance. He presented Edessa and Egypt as places where the "orthodoxy" of Rome had little influence during the 2nd century. As he saw it, the theological thought of the "Orient" (in this case the Eastern Roman Empire) at the time would later be

labeled "heresy". The response by modern scholars has been mixed. Some scholars clearly support Bauer's conclusions and others express concerns about his "attacking [of] orthodox sources with inquisitional zeal and exploiting to a nearly absurd extent the argument from silence."[1] However, modern scholars have critiqued and updated Bauer's model.[2] For example, subsequent analysis of Bauer's geographical model have generally fallen against Bauer such as in Egypt.[3]
Contents
[hide]

1 Divisions

o o o o o o o

1.1 Adoptionism 1.2 Arianism 1.3 Docetism 1.4 Ebionites 1.5 Gnosticism 1.6 Marcionism 1.7 Montanism

2 See also 3 References 4 Bibliography 5 External links

[edit]Divisions
Perhaps one of the most important discussions among scholars of early Christianity in the past century is to what extent it is appropriate to speak of "orthodoxy" and "heresy". Higher criticism drastically altered the previous perception that heresy was a very rare exception to the orthodoxy. Bauer was particularly influential in the reconsideration of the historical model. During the 1970s, increasing focus on the effect of social, political and economic circumstances on the formation of early Christianity occurred as Bauer's work found a wider audience. Some scholars argue against the increasing focus on heresies. A movement away from presuming the correctness or dominance of the orthodoxy is seen as understandable, in light of modern approaches. However, they feel that instead of an even and neutral approach to historical analysis that the heterodox sects are given an assumption of superiority over the orthodox (or Proto-orthodox) movement. The current debate is vigorous and broad. While it is difficult to summarize all current views, general statements may be made, remembering that such broad strokes will have exceptions in specific cases.[4]

[edit]Adoptionism
Main article: Adoptionism

An early form of Adoptionism, the doctrine that Jesus became the Son of God by adoption,[5] held that Jesus was born human only, and that he became divine, by adoption at his baptism,[6] being chosen because of his sinless devotion to the will of God.[7] The first representatives of this view were the Ebionites.[8] They understood Jesus as Messiah and Son of God in terms of the anointing at his baptism.[9]While the 27 books that became the New Testament canon present Jesus as fully human,[10] Adoptionists (who may have used non-canonical gospels) in addition excluded any miraculous origin for him, seeing him as simply the child of Joseph and Mary, born of them in the normal way. [11] Some scholars view a non-canonical gospel used by the Ebionites, now lost except for fragments quoted in the Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis[12] as the first to be written,[13][14][15] and believe Adoptionist theology may predate the New Testament.[16][17] Others, on the contrary, consider that this work "clearly presupposes the canonical Gospels".[18] This gospel's account of the baptism of Jesus, as quoted by Epiphanius, says that the voice from heaven declared: "This day have I begotten thee",[19] a phrase echoing Psalm 2:7, and some see this phrase as supporting the doctrine that it was at his baptism ("this day") that Jesus became God's (adopted) son. These words from Psalm 2 are also used twice in the canonical Epistle to the Hebrews,[20] which on the contrary presents Jesus as the Son "through whom (God) made the universe."[21] The Adoptionist view was later developed by adherents of the form of Monarchianism that is represented by Theodotus of Byzantium and Paul of Samosata.[8] Adoptionism clearly conflicted with the claim, as in the Gospel of John (see Alogi for those who rejected the Gospel of John), that Jesus is the eternal Word, and it was declared a heresy[by whom?] at the end of the 2nd century. It was formally rejected by the First Council of Nicaea (325), which wrote the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity and identified Jesus as eternally begotten.

[edit]Arianism
Main article: Arianism Arianism, declared by the Council of Nicaea to be heresy, denied the full divinity of Jesus Christ, and is so called after its leader Arius.[22] It has been called the most challenging heresy in the history of the Church.[23] Arius, born probably in Libya between c. 260 and 280, was ordained a priest in Alexandria in 312-313. Under Bishop Alexander (313-326), probably in about 319, he came forward as a champion ofsubordinationist teaching about the person of Christ.[24] Arius appears to have held that the "Son of God" was not eternal but created by the Father as an instrument for creating the world and therefore not God by nature, different from other creatures in being the one direct creation of God.[22] The controversy quickly spread, with Arius seeking support from other disciples of his teacher Lucian of Antioch, notably Eusebius of Nicomedia, while a local synod under Alexander excommunicated Arius.[24] Because of the agitation aroused by the dispute,[22] Emperor Constantine I sent Hosius of Crdoba to Alexandria to attempt a settlement; but the mission failed.[24]Accordingly, in 325, Constantine convened the First Council of Nicaea, which, largely

through the influence of Athanasius of Alexandria, then a deacon, but destined to be Alexander's successor, defined the coeternity and coequality of the Father and the Son, using the now famous term "homoousios" to express the oneness of their being, while Arius and some bishops who supported him, including Eusebius, were banished.[22] This council marks the end of the Early Christian period and the beginning of the period of the First seven Ecumenical Councils.

[edit]Docetism
Main article: Docetism Docetism (from the Greek doke, "to seem") is the belief that Jesus' physical body was an illusion, as was his crucifixion; that is, Jesus only seemed to have a physical body and to physically die, but in reality he was incorporeal, a pure spirit, and hence could not physically die. This belief treats the sentence "the Word was made Flesh" (John 1:14) as merely figurative. Docetic theology was a prominent feature of dualistic gnostics,[25]

[edit]Ebionites
Main article: Ebionites The Ebionites ("poor ones") were a sect of Jewish Christians who flourished in the early centuries of Christianity, especially east of the Jordan. They emphasized the binding character of the Mosaic Law and believed Jesus was the human son of Joseph and Mary. They seem to have been ascetics, and are said to have rejected Paul's epistles and to have used only one Gospel.[26]

[edit]Gnosticism
Main articles: Gnosticism and Valentinius Early in the common era, several distinct religious sects, some of them Christian, adhered to an array of beliefs that would later be termed Gnostic. One such sect, that of the Simonians, was said to have been founded by Simon Magus, the Samaritan who is mentioned in the 1st-century Acts 8:9-24 and who figures prominently in several apocryphal and heresiological accounts by Early Christian writers, who regarded him as the source of all heresies. The most successful Christian Gnostic was the priest Valentinus (c. 100 - c. 160), who founded a Gnostic church in Rome and developed an elaborate cosmology. Gnostics considered the material world to be a prison created by a fallen or evil spirit, the god of the material world (called the demiurge). Gnostics identified the God of the Hebrew Bible as this demiurge. Secret knowledge (gnosis) was said to liberate one's soul to return to the true God in the realm of light. Valentinus and other Christian gnostics identified Jesus as the Savior, a spirit sent from the true God into the material world to liberate the souls trapped there. While there appear to be Gnostic elements in some early Christian writing, Irenaeus and others condemned Gnosticism as a heresy, rejecting its dualistic cosmology and vilification of the material world

and the creator of that world. Gnostics thought the God of the Old Testament was not the true God. It was considered to be the demiurge and either fallen, as taught by Valentinus (c. 100 - c. 160) or evil, as taught by the Sethians and Ophites. The Gospel of John, according to Stephen L Harris, both includes Gnostic elements and refutes Gnostic beliefs, presenting a dualistic universe of light and dark, spirit and matter, good and evil, much like the Gnostic accounts, but instead of escaping the material world, Jesus bridges the spiritual and physical worlds.[27] Raymond E. Brown wrote that even though gnostics interpreted John to support their doctrines, the author didn't intend that. The Johannine epistles were written (whether by the author of the Gospel or someone in his circle) to argue against gnostic doctrines.[28] The Gospel of Thomas, it is often claimed, has some Gnostic elements but lacks the full Gnostic cosmology. However, even the description of these elements as "gnostic" is based mainly upon the presupposition that the text as a whole is a "gnostic" gospel, and this idea itself is based upon little other than the fact that it was found along with gnostic texts at Nag Hammadi.[29] The scene in John in which "doubting Thomas" ascertains that the resurrected Jesus is physical refutes the Gnostic idea that Jesus returned to spirit form after death. The written gospel draws on an earlier oral tradition associated with Thomas. Some scholars argue that the Gospel of John was meant to oppose the beliefs of that community.[30] Some believe that Gnostic Christianity was a later development, some time around the middle or late 2nd century, around the time of Valentinus.[31] Gnosticism was in turn made up of many smaller groups, some of which did not claim any connection to Jesus Christ. In Mandaeist Gnosticism, Mandaeans maintain that Jesus was a miha kdaba or "false messiah" who perverted the teachings entrusted to him by John the Baptist. The word k(a)daba, however, derives from two roots in Mandaic: the first root, meaning "to lie," is the one traditionally ascribed to Jesus; the second, meaning "to write," might provide a second meaning, that of "book;" hence some Mandaeans, motivated perhaps by an ecumenical spirit, maintain that Jesus was not a "lying Messiah" but a "Book Messiah", the "book" in question presumably being the Christian Gospels. This however seems to be a folk etymology without support in the Mandaean texts. [32] A modern view has argued that Marcionism is mistakenly reckoned among the Gnostics, and really represents a fourth interpretation of the significance of Jesus.[33] Gnostics freely exchanged concepts and texts. It is considered likely that Valentinius was influenced by previous concepts such asSophia, or by Simon Magus, as much as he influenced others.

[edit]Marcionism
Main articles: Marcion and Marcionism In 144, the Church in Rome expelled Marcion of Sinope. He thereupon set up his own separate ecclesiastical organization, later called Marcionism. Like the Gnostics, he promoted dualism. Unlike the Gnostics, however, he founded his beliefs not on secret knowledge (gnosis) but on the vast difference between what he saw as the "evil" deity of the Old Testament and the God of love of the New Testament,

on which he expounded in his Antithesis. Consequently, Marcionists were vehemently anti-Judaism in their beliefs. They rejected the Jewish-Christian Gospel according to the Hebrews (see also Jewish-Christian Gospels) and all the other Gospels with the single exception of the Gospel of Marcion, which appears to be a redacted version of the Gospel of Luke. From the perspectives of Tertullian and Epiphanius it appeared that Marcion rejected the non-Lukan gospels, however, in Marcion's time, it may be that the only gospel he was familiar with from Pontus was the gospel of Luke.[citation needed] Although it has been suggested by some that Marcion's gospel pre-dated canonical Luke[34] the dominant scholarly view is that the Marcionite Gospel was a redaction of canonical Luke in order to conform to Marcion's anti-Jewish stance.[35][36][37] Marcion argued that Christianity should be solely based on Christian Love. He went so far as to say that Jesus' mission was to overthrow Demiurgethe fickle, cruel, despotic God of the Old Testamentand replace Him with the Supreme God of Love whom Jesus came to reveal. Marcion was labeled a gnostic by Irenaeus. Irenaeus labeled Marcion this because of Marcion expressing this core gnostic belief, that the creator God of the Jews and the Old Testament was the demiurge. This position, he said, was supported by the ten Epistles of Paul that Marcion also accepted. His writing had a profound effect upon thedevelopment of Christianity and the canon.[38]

[edit]Montanism
Main article: Montanism About 156, Montanus launched a ministry of prophecy, criticizing Christians as increasingly worldly and bishops as increasingly autocratic. Traveling in his native Anatolia, he and two women preached a return to primitive Christian simplicity, prophecy, celibacy, and asceticism.[23] Tertullian, "having grown puritanical with age", embraced Montanism as a more outright application of Christ's teaching.[23]Montanus's followers revered him as the Paraclete that Christ had promised, and he led his sect out into a field to meet the New Jerusalem.[23] His sect spread across the Roman Empire, survived persecution, and relished martyrdom.[23] The Church banned them as a heresy[when?], and in the 6th century Justinian ordered the sect's extinction.[23] The sect's ecstasy, speaking in tongues, and other details are similar to those found in modern Pentecostalism.

[edit]See

also

Christian heresy List of heresies in Catholicism Christian theology Early Christianity History of Christianity Early centers of Christianity

Constantine I and Christianity Constantinian shift Split of early Christianity and Judaism Christian Torah-submission Christianity in the 1st century Christianity in the 2nd century Christianity in the 3rd century

[edit]References

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

^ Ehrman, Bart (2003). Lost Christianities. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 173. ^ Hunt (2003). Pp 10-11. ^ Roberts, Manuscript, Society and Belief in Early Christian Egypt pp.51-52 ^ Esler (2004). Pp 893-894. ^ Merriam-Webster ^"Adoptionism++is"+"Jesus+was+born+human"+"his+baptism"+"Son++of+God"+divine&cd=1#v=onepa ge&q="Adoptionism__is"_"Jesus_was_born_human"_"his_baptism"_"Son__of_God"_divine&f=false Ed Hindson & Ergun Caner, The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics: Surveying the Evidence for the Truth of Christianity, Harvest House Publishers, 2008 P. 16

7.

^"Adoptionist+position+is+that+Jesus+was+born+as+a+man"++"son++of+God"+"sinless+life"+devotion &cd=1#v=onepage&q="Adoptionist_position_is_that_Jesus_was_born_as_a_man"__"son__of_God"_" sinless_life"_devotion&f=false Ed Hindson & Ergun Caner, The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics: Surveying the Evidence for the Truth of Christianity , Harvest House Publishers, 2008 p. 17

8.

a b

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-

280290-3): Adoptianism 9. ^"son+of+God+by"++"his+baptism"+"Thou+art+my+Son,+this+day+have+I+begotten+thee."+"interpolat ions+found+in+the+"&as_brr=3&cd=2#v=onepage&q=jew_Adoptionist_"son_of_God_by"__"his_baptis m"_"Thou_art_my_Son%2C_this_day_have_I_begotten_thee."_"interpolations_found_in_the_"&f=false Hans Lietzmann, The Founding of the Church Universal: A History of the Early Church , Vol 2, READ BOOKS PUB, 2008 pp. 119 - 120 10. ^ Bart D. Ehrman, Truth and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code, p. 18 11. ^ "These people maintained that Jesus was human in every way he was born of the sexual union of Joseph and Mary, born the way everyone else is born" (Ehrman, p. 19) 12. ^ Panarion, 13. English translation by Frank Williams (Leiden, Brill, 1987) 13. ^ James R. Edwards, The Hebrew Gospel and the Development of the Synoptic Tradition, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2009 p. 262 14. ^ Pierson Parker, A Basis for the Gospel According to the Hebrews, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 59, No. 4 (Dec., 1940), pp. 471 - 477.

15. ^ Irenaeus gives us further insight into the date of this gospel by explaining, "Matthew also issued a written Gospel of the Hebrews in their own language while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome and laying the foundations of the Church." Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3:1 16. ^"Adoptionistic+Christologies+can"+be+traced+to+"sources+that+predate+the+books+of+the+new+tes tament"&cd=1#v=onepage&q="Adoptionistic_Christologies_can"_be_traced_to_"sources_that_predate _the_books_of_the_new_testament"&f=false Bart Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, Oxford University Press US, 1996 p. 48 17. ^ Rick Richardson, Origins of Our Faith: The Hebrew Roots of Christianity, Trafford Publishing, 2003 p. 129 18. ^ James McConkey Robinson, Christoph Heil, Jozef Verheyden, The Sayings Gospel Q: Collected Essays (Leuven University Press 2005 ISBN 90-5867-503-3), p. 325 19. ^ Epiphanius, Panarion 30.13.7-8; English translation, p. 130; quoted also in Excerpts from the Gospel of the Ebionites. 20. ^ Hebrews 1:5 and 5:5 21. ^ Hebrews 1:2 22. ^
a b c d

Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-

280290-3): article Arianism 23. ^ 24. ^


a b c d e f a b c

Durant, Will. Caesar and Christ. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1972

Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-

3): article Arius 25. ^ newadvent.org 26. ^ Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005, article Ebionites 27. ^ Understanding the Bible, Stephen L Harris. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. 28. ^ The Community of the Beloved Disciple, Raymond E. Brown, Paulist Press. (French translation: La communaut du disciple bien-aim Les ditions du Cerf, Paris 1983 ISBN 2-204-02000-1), pp. 117-134 29. ^ Davies, Stevan L., The Gospel of Thomas and Christian Wisdom, 1983, p.23-24. 30. ^ Beyond Belief, Elaine Pagels, 2003. 31. ^ No Longer Jews: The Search for Gnostic Origins, Carl B. Smith, Hendrickson Publishers (September 2004). ISBN 978-1-56563-944-7 32. ^ Macuch, Rudolf (1965). Handbook of Classical and Modern Mandaic . Berlin: De Gruyter & Co.. pp. 61 fn. 105. 33. ^ "MARCION", Encyclopdia Britannica 1911 ed., Volume VI7, p. 693. 34. ^ John Knox, Marcion and the New Testament: An Essay in the Early History of the Canon (ISBN 0404-16183-9) was the first to propose that Marcion's Gospel may have preceded Luke's Gospel and Acts 35. ^ Ehrman, Bart (2003). Lost Christianities. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 108.

36. ^ Metzger, Bruce. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origins, Developments and Significance. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 37. ^ "Marcion and Marcionite Gnosticism", Cky J. Carrigan, Ph.D., On Truth, November 1996. 38. ^ Metzger, Bruce. Canon of the NT ISBN 978-0-19-826180-3; The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913 characterized Marcion as "perhaps the most dangerous foe Christianity has ever known."; Harnack's Origin of the New Testament: "Marcion, on the contrary, treats the Catholic Church as one that "follows the Testament of the Creator-God," and directs the full force of his attack against this Testament and against the falsification of the Gospel and of the Pauline Epistles by the original Apostles and the writers of the Gospels. He would necessarily have dealt with the two Testaments of the Catholic Church if the Church had already possessed a New Testament. His polemic would necessarily have been much less simple if he had been opposed to a Church which, by possessing a New Testament side by side with the Old Testament, had ipso facto placed the latter under the shelter of the former. In fact Marcion's position towards the Catholic Church is intelligible, in the full force of its simplicity, only under the supposition that the Church had not yet in her hand any "litera scripta Novi Testamenti.""

Historical background of the New Testament


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Palestine in Jesus' time.

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Most scholars who study the Historical Jesus and Early Christianity believe that the Canonical Gospels and life of Jesus must be viewed as firmly placed within his historical and cultural context, rather than purely in terms of Christian orthodoxy.[1][2] They look at the "forces" which were in play regarding the Jewish culture at that time, and the tensions, trends, and changes in the region under the influence of Hellenism and the Roman occupation. Thus, the cultural and historical context of Jesus is that of 1st century Galilee and Roman Judea, and the traditions of Second Temple Judaism. By Pompey's 63 BCE siege of Jerusalem, the partially Hellenized territory had come under Roman imperial rule as a valued crossroads to trading territories andbuffer state against the Parthian Empire. Beginning in 6 CE, Roman prefect's were appointed whose first duty to Rome was to maintain order through a political appointee the High Priest. After the uprising during the Census of Quirinius (6 CE) and before Pilate (26 CE), in general, Roman Judea was peaceful and self-managed, although riots, sporadic rebellions, and violent resistance were an ongoing risk. The conflict between the Jews' demand for religious

independence and Rome's efforts to impose a common system of governance meant there was underlying tension. Four decades after Jesus' death the tensions culminated with the first Jewish-Roman War and the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. This, in turn, is commonly seen as a catalyst for the final stage in the birth and divergence of Early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism.
Contents
[hide]

1 Factions, groups and cults in the Roman period

o o o o

1.1 Sadducees and Pharisees in the Roman period 1.2 New Prophets 1.3 Messiahs and Millennial Prophets 1.4 Sicarii, Bandits, and Zealots

2 Towards a Historical Jesus

2.1 Analysis of the gospels

3 The divergence of early Christians and Rabbinic Jews

o o o

3.1 The Great Revolt and the Destruction of the Temple 3.2 The Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism 3.3 The Emergence of Christianity

4 See also 5 Endnotes 6 Reference Sources

o o

6.1 Primary sources 6.2 Secondary Sources

[edit]Factions,

groups and cults in the Roman period


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Historians seek to understand where Jesus and his followers fit among other Jewish factions at the time. According to the Jewish-Roman historian Flavius Josephus, the three parties in contemporary Judaism were the Pharisees and Sadducees and Essenes, the last of these three being apparently marginalized and in some cases retired to quasi-monastic communities.

The ancient synagogue atCapernaum

Scholars refer to the religious background of the early 1st century to better reconstruct Jesus' life. Some scholars identify him with one or another group. Pharisees were a powerful force in 1st-century Judea. Early Christians shared several beliefs of the Pharisees, such as resurrection, retribution in the next world, angels, human freedom, and Divine Providence.[3] After the fall of the Temple, the Pharisaic outlook was established in Rabbinic Judaism. Some scholars speculate that Jesus was himself a Pharisee.[4] In Jesus' day, the two main schools of thought among the Pharisees were the House of Hillel, which had been founded by the eminentTanna, Hillel the Elder, and the House of Shammai. Jesus' assertion of hypocrisy may have been directed against the stricter members of the House of Shammai, although he also agreed with their teachings on divorce.[Mk 10:112][5] Jesus also commented on the House of Hillel's teachings (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a) concerning thegreatest commandment[Mk 12:2834] and the Golden Rule.[Mt 7:12] Historians do not know whether there were Pharisees in Galilee during Jesus' life, or what they would have been like.[6] Sadducees were particularly powerful in Jerusalem. They accepted the written Law only, rejecting the traditional interpretations accepted by the Pharisees, such as belief in retribution in an afterlife, resurrection of the body, angels, and spirits. After Jesus caused a disturbance at the Temple, it was to have been the Sadducees who had him arrested and turned over to the Romans for execution. After the fall of Jerusalem, they disappeared from history.[7] Essenes were apocalyptic ascetics, one of the three (or four) major Jewish schools of the time, though they were not mentioned in the New Testament.[8] Some scholars theorize that Jesus was an Essene, or close to them. Among these scholars is Pope Benedict XVI, who supposes in his book on Jesus that "it appears that not only John the Baptist, but possibly Jesus and his family as well, were close to the Qumran community."[9] Zealots were a revolutionary party opposed to Roman rule, one of those parties that, according to Josephus inspired the fanatical stand in Jerusalem that led to its destruction in the year 70 AD/CE. [10] Luke identifies Simon, a disciple, as a "zealot", which might mean a member of the Zealot party (which would therefore have been already in existence in the lifetime of Jesus) or a zealous person.[10] The notion that Jesus himself was a Zealot does not do justice to the earliest Synoptic material describing him.[11]

[edit]Sadducees

and Pharisees in the Roman period

There is a record of only one high priest (Ananus, in 62) being a Sadducee, although scholars generally assume that the Jerusalem Sanhedrin was dominated by Sadducees. The Pharisees, primarily scholars and educators, were politically quiescent, and studied, taught, and worshipped in their own way. Although popular and respected, they had no power. During this period serious theological differences emerged between the Sadducees and Pharisees. Whereas Sadducees favored a limited interpretation of the Torah, Pharisees debated new applications of the law and devised ways for all Jews to incorporate purity practices (hitherto limited to the Jerusalem Temple, see also Ministry of Jesus#Ritual cleanliness) in their everyday lives. Unlike the Sadducees, the Pharisees also believed in (and introduced) the concept of the Resurrection of the Dead in a future, Messianic Age or World to Come. These beliefs seem to have influenced Christians' belief in a resurrected Jesus.

[edit]New

Prophets

Jordan River.

During this time a variety of other religious movements and splinter groups developed. A number of individuals claimed to be new prophets, in the tradition of Elijah andElisha. The Talmud provides two examples of such Jewish miracle workers around the time of Jesus. Mishnah Ta'anit 3:8 tells of "Honi the Circledrawer" who, in the middle of the 1st century BCE, was famous for his ability to successfully pray for rain. On one occasion when God did not answer his prayer, he drew a circle in the dust, stood inside it, and informed God that he would not move until it rained. When it began to drizzle, Honi told God that he was not satisfied and expected more rain; it then began to pour. He explained that he wanted a calm rain, at which point the rain calmed to a normal rain. Mishnah Berakot 5:5 tells of Hanina ben Dosa, who in the generation following Jesus cured Gamaliel's son by prayer (compare with Matthew 8: 5-13). A later story (In theBabylonian Talmud, Berakot 33a) tells of a lizard that used to injure passers-by. Hanina ben Dosa came and put his heel over the hole; the lizard bit him and died. Such men were respected for their relationship with God but not considered especially saintly; their abilities were seen as one more unknowable thing and not deemed a result of any ultra-strict observance of Jewish

law. These men were sometimes doubted, often respected, and even (according to Geza Vermes) addressed by their followers as "lord" but never considered "saviors" or "messiahs."

[edit]Messiahs

and Millennial Prophets

Main articles: Messiah, Moshiach (Jewish concept of the word) The English word "messiah" is derived from the Hebrew word mashiyakh or moshiach (he: ), meaning "anointed one." But this word has had other meanings, for different groups of people at different times. We cannot immediately assume that when Jews, or indeed Jesus and his followers, used the word, they used it the same way as people do now. For many Christians today, "messiah" refers to the personal and divine savior of all humankind, an apocalyptic notion of messiah, as one who will usher in the end of history by resurrecting the dead and by executing God's judgement over humankind. This apocalyptic vision has its origins in Jewish culture during the Babylonian Exile and the Second Temple Period. Nevertheless, it existed alongside a nationalist notion of messiah, as one who will defend the Jews against foreign oppressors and rule the Jews justly, and by divine right. This nationalist vision has its origins in the Hebrew Bible, and endures among Jews today. In the Hebrew Bible, "messiah" was originally used to refer to formally appointed High Priests and Kings. The Essenes and the Mishnah, edited in 200, uses the term mainly to refer to the High Priest. By the time of the Roman occupation, however, many Jews also used the term to refer to a descendant of King David who would restore God's kingdom (see the passage from II Samuel[citation
needed]

quoted aboveCultural and historical background of Jesus#Priests and Kings. Thus, although all

Jewish Kings were anointed, not all kings were considered messianic. The Hasmonean Kings (162-56 BCE) were not descended from David, and did not claim to have established God's Kingdom. After the fall of the Hasmoneans and the subsequent Roman occupation, many Jews seeing these as the end of days, hoped that the Romans would somehow fall or be replaced by a Jewish King. They were divided as to how this might occur. Most Jews believed that their history was governed by God, meaning that even the conquest of Judea by the Romans was a divine act. Thus, the majority of Jews accepted Roman rule (there was no full scale majority revolt until 66 CE though there was a minority revolt during the Census of Quirinius), and did not look for, or encourage, messiahs. They believed that the Romans would be replaced by a Jewish King only through divine intervention at a time of God's choosing. The word 'moshiach' came to be used for the one who would achieve these things. During this period a new class of prophets emerged who hearkened back to Moses and Joshua as harbingers of national liberation. These men did not claim to be messiahs, and did not rely on physical force, but did lead large movements of people (from the hundreds to the thousands) to act in ways that, they believed, would lead God to restore his kingdom. For example, in 36 a Samaritan led a large group upMount Gerizim, where they believed Moses had buried sacred vessels (echoing Moses' ascent up Mt. Sinai). Pilate blocked their route and killed their leaders. Josephus, who elsewhere

expressed the common Judean prejudice against Samaritans, suggested that they were armed. But the surviving Samaritans appealed to the Syrian Legate, Vitellius, that they were unarmed and that Pilate's actions were excessively cruel. According to historian H.H. Ben-Sasson, Samaria, as part of Roman Judea, was in a sense a "satellite of Syria".[12] As a result, Pilate was sent to Rome and ultimately dismissed from his post as prefect. Another such prophet was Theudas, who, sometime between 44 and 46 led a large group of people to the Jordan river, which he claimed he could part (echoing Moses at the Red Sea and Joshua at the Jordan river). Fadus, a procurator after Pilate, blocked their route and killed Theudas. An "Egyptian Prophet" (it is unclear if the prophet came from Egypt, or was invoking Moses' Egyptian origin) led thirty thousand around the Mount of Olives and sought to enter Jerusalem until stopped by Felix, a procurator after Fadus.

[edit]Sicarii,

Bandits, and Zealots

Various groups also resisted the status quo by force of arms. In many cases these groups did not have a clearly defined revolutionary program; in some cases they were opposed more to urban elites than to the Romans per se. These groups took on different forms, with different methods in the North than in the South.

Judean hills of Israel

In addition, bandits or brigands had been active in the region. Social historians have suggested that bandits are common in peasant societies, often poor men who identify with other peasants, but who seek to acquire wealth and political power. When Herod was still military governor in the Galilee, he spent a good deal of time fighting bandits under the leadership of Ezekias. These bandits are best understood as a peasant group whose targets were local elites (both Hasmonean and Herodian) rather than Rome. Ventidius Cumanus (procurator 48 to 52 CE) often retaliated against brigandry by punishing peasant communities he believed to be their base of support. When a Galillean pilgrim on way to Jerusalem was murdered by a Samaritan, the bandit chief Eliezar organized Galilleans for a counter-attack, and Cumanus moved against the Jews. A Syrian legate, Quadratus, intervened and sent several Jewish and Samaritan officials to Rome. The Emperor Claudius took the Jewish side, and had the Samaritan leaders executed and exiled, and turned one named Veler over to the Jews who beheaded him. Thus, widespread peasant unrest of this period was not exclusively directed against Rome but also expressed discontent against urban elites and other groups; Roman policy sought to contain the power of the bandits while cultivating Jewish support.

During the Great Revolt in 66, Josephus was sent to command the Galilee. He raised an army primarily of local bandits who pillaged nearby Greek and Roman cities (including ones occupied by Jewish elites), including the administrative centers of Sepphoris, Tiberias, and Gabara (sometimes Gadara). This suggests that they were concerned primarily with gain or social insurrection against local elites, rather than a political revolution against Roman occupation. When Roman legions arrived from Syria, the bandit army melted away. The Romans employed a scorched-earth policy in its fight in the north, driving thousands of peasants southwards towards Jerusalem. Between 67 and 68, these peasants, perhaps led by bandits, formed a new political party called the Zealots, which believed that an independent kingdom should be restored immediately through force of arms. It is unclear whether their leaders made messianic claims. The Zealots imprisoned members of the Herodian family, killed the former high priests Ananus ben Artanus and Joshua ben Gamaliel, and put on trial the wealthiest citizens. It is possible that they believed they were purging elements whom they believed would have surrendered to the Romans. But these purges also reveal the great social divide between Jewish peasants and aristocrats at this time. They formed part of a social revolution: although they ultimately lost to the Romans, elite groups like the Hasmoneans, Herodians, and Sadducees would never again have power in Roman Judea.

[edit]Towards

a Historical Jesus

Main articles: Historicity of Jesus and Historical Jesus


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[edit]Analysis

of the gospels

Main article: Biblical Criticism#New Testament Most historians view the Gospels not as an objective account of Jesus, but as the product of men writing at a particular period, and grappling with particular theological as well as political issues. Specifically, they assume that after Jesus' death, his sayings, and stories about him, circulated among his followers until, at some point from the mid-1st century someone (or a group of people) wrote down his sayings in Greek (see Q document), and someone edited and organized stories about his life into a historical narrative, the Gospel of Mark. As these two documents circulated among Christians, other historical narratives were edited and organized. The four gospels ascribed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were regionally authoritative by proto-orthodoxy by the 2nd century,[13] see Development of the New Testament canon for details. Some historians have suggested that between Nero's persecution of Christians in 64 CE, and the Jewish revolt in 66 CE, Gentile Christians saw more sense in assigning Jews, rather than Romans, responsibility for Jesus' death.[14] Moreover, just as Rabbinic Judaism was in part the Pharisaic response to their acknowledgment that the Temple would not be rebuilt in their lifetimes, Christianity reflected the acknowledgment of early Christians that the Second Coming of Christ and the establishment of God's kingdom on earth was not to happen in their lifetimes. The critical analysis of the Gospels involves, at least in part, a consideration of how these concerns affected the Gospels' accounts of Jesus. According to historian Paula Fredriksen (1988: 5), critical scholars rely on four basic criteria for extrapolating an "authentic" historical account of Jesus out of the New Testament sources: 1. Dissimilarity: "if the earliest form of a saying or story differs in emphasis from a characteristic teaching or concern both of contemporary Judaism and of the early church, then it may be authentic." 2. Coherence: "if material from the earlier strata of tradition is consonant with other material already established as probably authentic, then it too is probably authentic." 3. Multiple attestation: "if material appears in a number of different sources and literary contexts, then it may be authentic." 4. Linguistic suitability: "material with a claim to authenticity should be susceptible of Aramaic rendering, since Jesus did not teach in Greek, the language of the documents."

As Fredriksen observes, these criteria do not guarantee an accurate historical reconstruction. Nevertheless, she argues, If something stands in the gospels that is clearly not in the interests of the late 1st-century church disparaging remarks about Gentiles, for example, or explicit pronouncements about the imminent end of the world then it has a stronger claim to authenticity than otherwise. Stated briefly, anything embarrassing is probably earlier. (1988: 6). Even these criteria are not sufficient to recover "what really happened." They can, however, enable historians to suggest "with reasonable security what possibly happened, what probably happened, and whatcould not possibly have happened. According to Fredriksen, two events in the Gospels probably happened: John's baptism and Pilate's crucifixion of Jesus. These events are mentioned in all four gospels. Moreover, they do not conform to Jewish tradition in which there are no baptized and crucified messiahs. They are also embarrassing to the early Church. John the Baptist's prominence in both the gospels and Josephus suggests that he may have been more popular than Jesus in his lifetime; also, Jesus' mission does not begin until after his baptism by John. Fredriksen suggests that it was only after Jesus' death that Jesus emerged as more influential than John.[citation
needed]

Accordingly, the gospels project Jesus' posthumous importance back to his lifetime. Ways

this was accomplished were by minimizing John's importance by having John resist baptizing Jesus (Matthew), by referring to the baptism in passing (Luke), or by asserting Jesus' superiority (John). Given the historical context in which the Gospels took their final form and during which Christianity first emerged, historians have struggled to understand Jesus' ministry in terms of what is known about 1st century Judaism. According to scholars such as Geza Vermes[citation needed] and E.P. Sanders,[citation needed] Jesus seems not to have belonged to any particular party or movement; Jesus was eclectic (and perhaps unique) in combining elements of many of these different and for most Jews, opposingpositions. Most critical scholars see Jesus as healing people and performing miracles in the prophetic tradition of the Galilee, and preaching God's desire for justice and righteousness in the prophetic tradition of Judea. (According to Geza Vermes, that Jesus' followers addressed him as "lord" indicates that they likened him to notable miracle workers and scribes. See Names and titles of Jesus) Historians also often note that as Jesus was Jewish, his life, words, and teachings must be understood in the context of 1st century Judaism, his native culture, see for example Aramaic of Jesus. Moreover, they highlight 1st and 2nd century Judaism especially after the destruction of the Temple as being in a state of flux, consisting of a variety of sects. As the Gospel accounts are generally held to have been composed in the period immediately following the revolt of 66-73, it has been suggested that Christians had to refashion their

theological and apocalyptic claims given that Jesus did not immediately return to restore the Jewish kingdom. Moreover, as Christianity emerged as a new religion seeking converts among the gentiles, and eventually as thereligion of the emperor himself, it needed to assure both Roman authorities and prospective Gentile audiences that it neither threatened nor challenged imperial sovereignty. Some historians have argued that these two conditions played a crucial role in the revision of accounts of Jesus' life and teachings into the form they ultimately took in the Gospels.[14]

[edit]The

divergence of early Christians and Rabbinic Jews

Main article: Split of early Christianity and Judaism See also: Origins of Christianity and List of events in early Christianity As with many religions, no precise date of founding is agreed by all parties. Christians traditionally believe that Christianity began with Jesus' ministry, and the appointment of the Twelve Apostles or theSeventy Disciples, see also Great Commission.[15] Most historians agree that Jesus or his followers established a new Jewish sect, one that attracted both Jewish and Gentile converts. Historians continue to debate the precise moment when Christianity established itself as a new religion, apart and distinct from Judaism. Some Christians were still part of the Jewish community up until the time of the Bar Kochba revolt in the 130s, see also Jewish Christians. As late as the 4th century, John Chrysostom strongly discouraged Christians from attending Jewish festivals in Antioch, which suggests at least some ongoing contact between the two groups in that city. Similarly for the Council of Laodicea around 365. See also Shabbat, Sabbath in Christianity, Quartodeciman, Constantine I and Christianity. According to historianShaye J. D. Cohen, The separation of Christianity from Judaism was a process, not an event. The essential part of this process was that the church was becoming more and more gentile, and less and less Jewish, but the separation manifested itself in different ways in each local community where Jews and Christians dwelt together. In some places, the Jews expelled the Christians; in other, the Christians left of their own accord.[16] According to Cohen, this process ended in 70 CE, after the great revolt, when various Jewish sects disappeared and Pharisaic Judaism evolved into Rabbinic Judaism, and Christianity emerged as a distinct religion.[17] Many historians argue that the Gospels took their final form after the Great Revolt and the destruction of the Temple, although some scholars put the authorship of Mark in the 60s, and need to be understood in this context.[18][19][20][21] They view Christians as much as Pharisees as being competing movements within Judaism that decisively broke only after the Bar Kokhba's revolt, when the successors of the Pharisees claimed hegemony over all Judaism, and at least from the Jewish perspective Christianity emerged as a new religion.

[edit]The

Great Revolt and the Destruction of the Temple

Model of Jerusalem Temple.

By 66 CE, Jewish discontent with Rome had escalated. At first, the priests tried to suppress rebellion, even calling upon the Pharisees for help. After the Roman garrison failed to stop Hellenists from desecrating a synagogue in Caesarea, however, the high priest suspended payment of tribute, inaugurating the Great Jewish Revolt. In 70, the Temple was destroyed. The destruction of the Second Temple was a profoundly traumatic experience for the Jews, who were now confronted with difficult and far-reaching questions:[22]

How to achieve atonement without the Temple? How to explain the disastrous outcome of the rebellion? How to live in the post-Temple, Romanized world? How to connect present and past traditions?

How people answered these questions depended largely on their position prior to the revolt. But the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans not only put an end to the revolt, it marked the end of an era. Revolutionaries like the Zealots had been crushed by the Romans, and had little credibility (the last Zealots died at Masada in 73). The Sadducees, whose teachings were so closely connected to the Temple cult, disappeared. The Essenes also vanished, perhaps because their teachings so diverged from the issues of the times that the destruction of the Second Temple was of no consequence to them; precisely for this reason, they were of little consequence to the vast majority of Jews). Two organized groups remained: the Early Christians, and Pharisees. Some scholars, such as Daniel Boyarin and Paula Fredricksen, suggest that it was at this time, when Christians and Pharisees were competing for leadership of the Jewish people, that accounts of debates

between Jesus and the apostles, debates with Pharisees, and anti-Pharisaic passages, were written and incorporated into the New Testament.

[edit]The

Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism

Of all the major Second Temple sects, only the Pharisees remained (but see Karaite Judaism). Their vision of Jewish law as a means by which ordinary people could engage with the sacred in their daily lives, provided them with a position from which to respond to all four challenges, in a way meaningful to the vast majority of Jews. Following the destruction of the Temple, Rome governed Judea through a Procurator at Caesarea, which had always been the Roman provincial capital, and a Jewish Patriarch. A former leading Pharisee,Yohanan ben Zakkai, was appointed the first Patriarch (the Hebrew word, Nasi, also means prince, or president), and he reestablished the Sanhedrin at Javneh under Pharisee control. Instead of giving tithes to the priests and sacrificing offerings at the Temple, the rabbis instructed Jews to give money to charities and study in local Synagogues, as well as to pay the Fiscus Iudaicus. In 132, the Emperor Hadrian threatened to rebuild Jerusalem as a pagan city dedicated to Jupiter, called Aelia Capitolina. Some of the leading sages of the Sanhedrin supported a rebellion (and, for a short time, an independent state) led by Simon bar Kozeba (also called Bar Kochba, or "son of a star"); some, such as Rabbi Akiba, believed Bar Kochbah to be messiah, or king. Up until this time, a number of Christians were still part of the Jewish community. However, they did not support or take part in the revolt. Whether because they had no wish to fight, or because they could not support a second messiah in addition to Jesus, or because of their harsh treatment by Bar Kochba during his brief reign, these Christians also left the Jewish community around this time. Traditionally, it is believed the Jerusalem Christians waited out the JewishRoman wars in Pella in the Decapolis. This revolt ended in 135 when Bar Kochba and his army were defeated. According to a midrash, in addition to Bar Kochba the Romans tortured and executed ten leading members of the Sanhedrin (the "Ten Martyrs"). This account also claims this was belated repayment for the guilt of the ten brothers who kidnapped Joseph. It is possible that this account represents a Pharisaic response to the Christian account of Jesus' crucifixion; in both accounts the Romans brutally punish rebels, who accept their torture as atonement for the crimes of others. After the suppression of the revolt, the vast majority of Jews were sent into exile; shortly thereafter (around 200), Judah haNasi edited together judgements and traditions into an authoritative code, the Mishna. This marks the transformation of Pharisaic Judaism into Rabbinic Judaism.

Although the Rabbis traced their origins to the Pharisees, Rabbinic Judaism nevertheless involved a radical repudiation of certain elements of Phariseism elements that were basic to Second Temple Judaism. The Pharisees had been partisan. Members of different sects argued with one another over the correctness of their respective interpretations, see also Hillel and Shammai. After the destruction of the Second Temple, these sectarian divisions ended. The term "Pharisee" was no longer used, perhaps because it was a term more often used by non-Pharisees, but also because the term was explicitly sectarian. The Rabbis claimed leadership over all Jews, and added to the Amidah the birkat haMinim (see Council of Jamnia), a prayer which in part exclaims, "Praised are You O Lord, who breaks enemies and defeats the arrogant," and which is understood as a rejection of sectarians and sectarianism. This shift by no means resolved conflicts over the interpretation of the Torah; rather, it relocated debates between sects to debates within Rabbinic Judaism.

[edit]The

Emergence of Christianity

Main article: Origins of Christianity See also: List of events in early Christianity Paula Fredriksen, in From Jesus to Christ, has suggested that Jesus' impact on his followers was so great that they could not accept this failure. According to the New Testament, some Christians believed that they encountered Jesus after his crucifixion; they argued that he had been resurrected (the belief in the resurrection of the dead in the messianic age was a core Pharisaic doctrine), and would soon returnto usher in the Kingdom of God and fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy such as the Resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment. Others adapted Gnosticism as a way to maintain the vitality and validity of Jesus' teachings (see Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels). Since early Christians believed that Jesus had already replaced the Temple as the expression of a new covenant, they were relatively unconcerned with the destruction of the Temple, though it came to be viewed as symbolic to the doctrine of Supersessionism. According to historians of Hellenistic Judaism, Jesus' failure to establish the Kingdom of God, and his death at the hands of the Romans, invalidated any messianic claims (see for comparison: prophet andfalse prophet).[23] In the aftermath of the destruction of the Temple, and then the defeat of Bar Kozeba, more Jews were attracted to the Pharisaic rabbis than Christianity perhaps because, in the aftermath of the revolt, many Jews were afraid that talk of a new king and a new kingdom would provoke Roman wrath, or because most Jews did not feel that the destruction of the Temple signified the abrogation of their covenant with God, or because Jesus' central teachings (to love one's neighbor, and to love God with all one's heart, soul, and might, see the Great Commandment) were also fundamental to Pharisaic teaching and therefore had no special appeal.[1] (See also Rejection of Jesus.)

According to many historians, most of Jesus' teachings were intelligible and acceptable in terms of Second Temple Judaism; what set Christians apart from Jews was their faith in Christ as the resurrected messiah.[24] The belief in a resurrected Messiah is unacceptable to Jews today and to Rabbinic Judaism, and Jewish authorities have long used this fact to explain the break between Judaism and Christianity. Recent work by historians paints a more complex portrait of late Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity. Some historians have suggested that, before his death, Jesus forged among his believers such certainty that the Kingdom of God and the resurrection of the dead was at hand, that with few exceptions (John 20: 24-29) when they saw him shortly after his execution, they had no doubt that he had been resurrected, and that the restoration of the Kingdom and resurrecton of the dead was at hand. These specific beliefs were compatible with Second Temple Judaism.[25] In the following years the restoration of the Kingdom as Jews expected it failed to occur. Some Christians believed instead that Christ, rather than being the Jewish messiah, was God made flesh, who died for the sins of humanity, and that faith in Jesus Christ offered everlasting life (see Christology).[26] The foundation for this new interpretation of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection are found in the epistles of Paul and in the book of Acts. Most Jews view Paul as the founder of Christianity, who is responsible for the break with Judaism. Recently, Talmud scholar Daniel Boyarin has argued that Paul's theology of the spirit is more deeply rooted in Hellenistic Judaism than generally believed. In A Radical Jew, Boyarin argues that Paul of Tarsus combined the life of Jesus with Greek philosophy to reinterpret the Hebrew Bible in terms of the Platonic opposition between the ideal (which is real) and the material (which is false); see also Paul of Tarsus and Judaism. Judaism is a corporeal religion, in which membership is based not on belief but rather descent from Abraham, physically marked by circumcision, and focusing on how to live this life properly. Paul saw in the symbol of a resurrected Jesus the possibility of a spiritual rather than corporeal messiah. He used this notion of messiah to argue for a religion through which all people not just descendants of Abraham could worship the God of Abraham. Unlike Judaism, which holds that it is the proper religion only of the Jews (except see Noahide Laws), Pauline Christianity claimed to be the proper religion for all people. In other words, by appealing to the Platonic distinction between the material and the ideal, Paul showed how the spirit of Christ could provide all people a way to worship God the God who had previously been worshipped only by Jews, and Jewish Proselytes, although Jews claimed that He was the one and only God of all (see, for example, Romans 8: 1-4; II Corinthians 3:3; Galatians 3: 14; Philippians 3:3). Boyarin roots Paul's work in Hellenistic Judaism and insists that Paul was thoroughly Jewish. But, Boyarin argues, Pauline theology made his version of Christianity so appealing to Gentiles. Nevertheless, Boyarin also sees this Platonic reworking of both Jesus's teachings and Pharisaic Judaism as essential to the

emergence of Christianity as a distinct religion, because it justified a Judaism without Jewish law (see also New Covenant). The above events and trends lead to a gradual separation between Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism.[27][28] According to historian Shaye J.D. Cohen, "Early Christianity ceased to be a Jewish sect when it ceased to observe Jewish practices.[23] Among the Jewish practices abandoned by Proto-orthodox Christianity, Circumcision was rejected as a requirement at the Council of Jerusalem, c. 50, though the decree of the council parallels JewishNoahide Law. Sabbath observance was modified, perhaps as early as Ignatius' Epistle to the Magnesians 9.1.[29] Quartodecimanism (observation of the Paschal feast on Nisan 14, the day of preparation forPassover, linked to Polycarp and thus to John the Apostle) was formally rejected at the First Council of Nicaea.

[edit]See

also

Assyro-Babylonian culture Christianity and Judaism Hellenistic Greece History of ancient Israel and Judah Jesus in the Christian Bible Jesus in the Talmud Jesus Seminar

[edit]Endnotes

1. 2. 3.

^ Fredriksen, Paula (1988). From Jesus to Christ ISBN 0-300-04864-5 pp. ix-xii ^ Sanders, E.P. (1987). Jesus and Judaism, Fortress Press ISBN 0-8006-2061-5 pp. 1-9 ^ "Pharisees", Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005

4.

^ Based on a comparison of the gospels with the Talmud and other Jewish literature. Maccoby, Hyam Jesus the Pharisee, Scm Press, 2003. ISBN 0-334-02914-7; Falk, Harvey Jesus the Pharisee: A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus, Wipf & Stock Publishers (2003). ISBN 1-59244-313-3.

5.

^ Neusner, Jacob (2000). A Rabbi Talks With Jesus. Montreal; Ithaca: McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 978-0-7735-2046-2. Rabbi Neusner contends that Jesus' teachings were closer to the House of Shammai than the House of Hillel.

6.

^ Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus Seminar. The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998.

7.

^ "Sadducees". Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005

8.

^ Based on a comparison of the gospels with the Dead Sea Scrolls, especially the Teacher of Righteousness and Pierced Messiah. Eisenman, Robert James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Penguin (Non-Classics), 1998. ISBN 0-14-025773-X; Stegemann, Hartmut The Library of Qumran: On the Essenes, Qumran, John the Baptist, and Jesus. Grand Rapids MI, 1998. See also Broshi, Magen, "What Jesus Learned from the Essenes", Biblical Archaeology Review, 30:1, pg. 3237, 64. Magen notes similarities between Jesus' teachings on the virtue of poverty and divorce, and Essene teachings as related in Josephus' The Jewish Wars and in the Damascus Document of the Dead Sea Scrolls, respectively. See also Akers, Keith The Lost Religion of Jesus. Lantern, 2000.ISBN 1-930051-26-3

9.

^ Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, p. 14


a b

10. ^

"Zealots". Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York:

Oxford University Press. 2005 11. ^ "Jesus Christ". Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005 12. ^ H.H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, page 247-248: "Consequently, the province of Judea may be regarded as a satellite of Syria, though, in view of the measure of independence left to its governor in domestic affairs, it would be wrong to say that in the Julio-Claudian era Judea was legally part of the province of Syria." 13. ^ Martin Hengel, The Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ. 14. ^
a b

Michael Cook 2008 Modern Jews Engage the New Testament Jewish Lights Press

p. 128 15. ^ From the viewpoint expressed in the Gospels, Christianity could be said to have first emerged with a structure a Church when Jesus appointed "seventy" and sent them to the "harvest" (ie, missionary work) in Luke 10. 16. ^ Cohen, Shaye J.D. (1988). From the Maccabees to the Mishnah ISBN 0-664-250173 p. 228 17. ^ Cohen, Shaye J.D. (1988). From the Maccabees to the Mishnah ISBN 0-664-250173 pp. 224-225 18. ^ Michael Cook 2008 Modern Jews Engage the New Testament Jewish Lights Press ISBN 978-1-58023-323-2 p. 19 19. ^ Fredriksen, Paula (1988. From Jesus to Christ ISBN 0-300-04864-5 p.5 20. ^ Meier, John (1991), A Marginal Jew, Rethinking the Historical Jesus Volume I: The Roots of the Problem and the Person,. Doubleday Press. pp. 434 21. ^ Sanders, E.P. (1987). Jesus and Judaism, Fortress Press ISBN 0-8006-2061-5 p.60 22. ^ Jacob Neusner 1984 Torah From our Sages Rossell Books. p. 175

23. ^

a b

Shaye J.D. Cohen 1987 From the Maccabees to the Mishnah Library of Early

Christianity, Wayne Meeks, editor. The Westminster Press. 168 24. ^ Shaye J.D. Cohen 1987 From the Maccabees to the Mishnah Library of Early Christianity, Wayne Meeks, editor. The Westminster Press. 167-168 25. ^ Paula Fredricksen, From Jesus to Christ Yale university Press. pp. 133-134 26. ^ Paula Fredricksen, From Jesus to Christ Yale university Press. pp. 136-142 27. ^ Shaye J.D. Cohen 1987 From the Maccabees to the Mishnah Library of Early Christianity, Wayne Meeks, editor. The Westminster Press. 224-228 28. ^ Paula Fredriksen, 1988From Jesus to Christ, Yale University Press. 167-170 29. ^ Ignatius to the Magnesians chapter 9 at ccel.org

Pauline Christianity
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Artist depiction of Saint Paul Writing His Epistles, 16th century (Blaffer Foundation Collection, Houston, Texas). Most scholars think Paul actually dictated his letters to a secretary. [1]

Pauline Christianity is a term used to refer to the Christianity associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by Paul the Apostle through his writings.Orthodox Christianity relies heavily on these teachings and considers them to be amplifications and explanations of the teachings of Jesus. Others, as detailed below, perceive in Paul's writings, teachings that are different from the original teachings of Jesus documented in the canonical gospels, early Acts and the rest of the New Testament, such as the Epistle of James. Proponents of the perceived, distinctive Pauline form of Christianity, include Marcion of Sinope, the 2nd centurytheologian and excommunicated heresiarch, who asserted that Paul was the only apostle who had rightly understood the new message of salvation as delivered by Jesus Christ. Opponents of the same era include the Ebionites and Nazarenes, Jewish Christians who rejected Paul for straying from Second Temple Judaism. Pauline Christianity, as an expression, first came into use in the 20th century among scholars who proposed different strands of thought within Early Christianity, wherein Paul was a powerful influence.[2] It has come into widespread use among non-Christian scholars, and depends on the claim that the form of the faith found in the writings of Paul is different from that found elsewhere in the New Testament, but also that his influence came to predominate. Reference is made to the large number of non-canonical texts,[3] some of which have been discovered during the last 100 years, which show the many movements and strands of thought emanating from Jesus' life and teaching or which may be contemporary with them, some of which can be contrasted with Paul's thought. Of the more significant are Ebionism and Gnosticism. However, there is no universal agreement as to Gnosticism's relationship either to Christianity in general or thewritings of Paul. The expression is used by modern Christian scholars, such as Ziesler[4] and Mount, whose interest is in the recovery of Christian origins and the contribution made by Paul to Christian doctrine, Christian Reconstructionism and Restorationism.
Contents
[hide]

1 Characteristics of 'Pauline Christianity'

1.1 Political

o o

1.2 Theological 1.3 Other views

2 Paul's view of the subject 3 As a pejorative term 4 See also 5 Notes 6 Further reading 7 External links

[edit]Characteristics

of 'Pauline Christianity'

The characteristics of the critical use of the term take a number of forms. They are partly political and partly theological.

[edit]Political
From a political perspective, Robert Eisenman sees Pauline Christianity as a method of taming a dangerous sect among radical Jews and making it palatable to Roman authorities.[5] Pauline Christianity was essentially based on Rome and made use of the administrative skills which Rome had honed. Its system of organization with a single bishop for each town was, in Bart Ehrman's view, the means by which it obtained its hegemony.[6]

[edit]Theological
The theological aspect is the claim that Paul transmuted Jesus the Jewish messiah into the universal (in a wider meaning "catholic") Savior. Pauline theology is also a term referring to the teaching and doctrines especially espoused by the apostle Paul through his writings. Mainstream Christianity relies on Pauls writings as integral to the biblical theology of the New Testament and regards them as amplifications and explanations consistent with the teachings of Jesus and other New Testament writings. Christian scholars generally use the term expressing interest in the recovery of Christian origins and the contribution made by Paul to Christian doctrine. Others, especially non-Christian scholars, claim to see a Pauline distinction different from that found elsewhere in the New Testament, a distinction that unduly influenced later Christianity.

[edit]Other

views

The use of the term by Christian scholars, such as John Ziesler,[7] is altogether different. Pauline Christianity is the development of thinking about Jesus in a gentile missionary context; Christopher Rowlands concludes that Paul did not materially alter the teachings of Jesus. Much of this view turns on the significance of the Council of Jerusalem. According to this view, James decreed that Christianity was for the Gentiles and not just for the Jews, and quoted the prophet Amos in support of this position (the Apostolic Decree is found in Acts 15:19-21). He entrusted Paul among others with bringing their decision to Antioch (15:22-31).

Christians themselves disagree as to how far there was tension between Paul and the Jerusalem Church. (See Paul of Tarsus). One difficulty is the tension between Acts and Paul's letters; another is the disparity between his views in different letters. Galatians is reserved about the teaching of the Jerusalem church and is hostile toward Jews (whom he calls "Judaizers") who would impose Jewish distinctives, codified in the Mosaic Law, on Gentile converts; in Romans Paul is deeply concerned about the spiritual condition and ultimate destiny of the Jewish people.

[edit]Paul's

view of the subject

See also: Paul of Tarsus and Judaism That people saw different disciples of Christ as representing different teachings was addressed by Paul himself, in the 1st letter to the Corinthians: (1 Cor 1:1018)

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas(Peter)"; still another, "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power

[edit]As

a pejorative term

See also: Jesuism


All that is good about Christianity stems from Jesus, and all that is bad about it stems from Paul. Tom O'Golo, Christ? No! Jesus? Yes!, p.199

The pejorative use of the expression "Pauline Christianity" relies in part upon a thesis that Paul's supporters, as a distinct group, had an undue influence on the formation of the canon of scripture, and also that certain bishops, especially the Bishop of Rome, influenced the debates by which the dogmatic formulations known as the Creeds came to be produced, thus ensuring a Pauline interpretation of the gospel. The thesis is founded on differences between the views of Paul and the apostles in Jerusalem, and also between the picture of Paul in the Acts of the Apostles and his own writings, such that it is claimed that the essential Jewish or Old Testament character of the faith was lost (see Jewish Christian). Christian anarchists, such as Leo Tolstoy and Ammon Hennacy, believe Paul distorted Jesus' teachings. Tolstoy claims Paul was instrumental in the church's "deviation" from Jesus' teaching and practices, whilst Hennacy believed "Paul spoiled the message of Christ."[8][9] According to Tom O'Golo, the Ebionites believed Paul was a false prophet whose task was not to convert Romans to Christians but

Christians to Romans.[10] Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon, wrote in the latter half of the 2nd century that the Ebionites rejected Paul as an apostate from the law, using only a version of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, known as the Gospel of the Ebionites. Tom O'Golo postulates several key elements were added by Paul to Christian theology that weren't evident in Jesuism. These included: 1. Original sin 2. Making Jews the villains 3. Making Jesus divine 4. Transubstantiation of bread and wine into actual flesh and blood 5. Jesus' death being seen as atonement for human sin 6. Making Jesus the Messiah 7. Shifting the emphasis from an earthly to a heavenly kingdom 8. Enlarging the chosen people to include anyone who accepted Jesus as Saviour 9. Making salvation a matter of belief in Jesus almost regardless of the demands of the Torah 10. Establishing a hierarchy (literally a holy order) to create and control a Church and more importantly to create and control the beliefs of its membership.[10] The argument made that Christian doctrine (that is, the teachings of Jesus) was subsequently distorted by Paul and the Church of Rome depends on a view as to how the canon of Scripture came to be compiled, about which little is known (for details, see Biblical canon). The earliest references to Paul's writing are fragmentary: Clement of Rome, writing about AD 95, quotes from Romans; Ignatius of Antioch(d. AD 115) quotes from 1 Corinthians, Romans, and from 1 Timothy and Titus as if authoritative, not merely as the opinion of one writer. As to his influence, there are considerable differences of scholarly opinion concerning how far Paul did in fact influence Christian doctrine. Among the most radical is G.A. Wells, a professor of German rather than of theology or history, whose view is that Jesus was a mythical figure and that Christianity was in good part invented by Paul. More widely influential is the view of the 19th century German theologian F.C. Baur,[11] founder of the Tbingen school, that Paul was utterly opposed to the disciples, based upon his view that Acts was late and unreliable and who contended that Catholic Christianity was a synthesis of the views of Paul and the Judaising church in Jerusalem. Since Harnack, the Tbingen position has been generally abandoned,[12] though the view that Paul took over the faith and transformed the Jewish teacher to the Son of God is still widely canvassed.[13] It depends on a comparison between the books of the New Testament which cannot be made here, but see Paul of Tarsus, and the claims ofUltradispensationalists such as E. W. Bullinger who view the distinction abhorred by the Ebionites as positive and essential doctrine.[14] On the other side, the idea that Paul invented Christianity is disputed by numerous Christian writers.[15][16][17][18][19] Christopher Rowlands contends that, "the extent of his influence on Christian thought

has been overestimated".[20] Thus, though thirteen letters under his name appear in the New Testament, the great controversies of the 3rd and 4th centuries were about the Person of Christ and the nature of God - the so-called Christological and Trinitarian debates -in which St. Paul does not greatly feature; likewise, the Nicene Creed contains no doctrine of atonement. Moreover, while the influence of the Church of Rome was very important in the credal debates, Greek theologians such as Athanasius, the Cappadocian Fathers, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa were formidable figures. The resolution of these controversies at the Council of Chalcedon was not dictated by the Bishop of Rome or Latin Christendom, but was made more difficult by the necessary task of translating technical terms between the two languages of Greek and Latin, and not by arguments over Pauline theology. As for the New Testament itself, there are evident tensions between the Judaizing party and Paul's views, which are made plain by a comparison between Acts and Paul's letters. How far Paul is to be taken as antiJewish (pro-Hellenization or Romanization) is a matter of disagreement, but there has been widespread acknowledgement of the view of W. D. Davies that the essential Jewishness of Paul's Christian perspective has been underplayed.[21] In Davies' view, Paul replaced the Torah, the Jewish Law or Mosaic Law, with Christ.[22] In any case, "the problems with which he wrestles in his letters were probably typical of many which were facing the Christian sect during this period".[23] Further, by contrast one of the common features of Protestant churches, certainly in English-speaking countries and those influenced by the reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin, is their use of formulations other than the ancient Creeds, such as the Westminster Confession of Faith, in which Pauline formulations play a much greater part. Ideas such as justification by faith, which, though not absent from Catholic formulations, play a much more central role in Protestant thinking, where they are considered fundamental Christian truths and essential for defining the Gospel.[24] As to the conclusion that Paul distorted rather than developed the faith, this depends upon a judgment as to wherein lies the right path. Henry Chadwick, former Oxford don, commented about a later controversy: "It was not that the heretics departed from the road; it was that they took a path along which the road was not subsequently built." Roman Catholics, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, conservativeProtestants, and most Messianic Jews contend that Paul's writings were a legitimate interpretation of the Gospel. Those who disagree with them either argue that Paul distorted the original and true faith or claim that Christianity is, largely, his invention. The former include such secular commentators
[25]

as the philosophers Friedrich

Nietzsche and Bertrand Russell, whose criticisms are based upon their moral objections to Paul's thought; others thinkers, such as Slavoj iek and Alain Badiou, also agree with this interpretation, but hold much more positive opinions about Paul's theological influence.

Paul the Apostle and Judaism


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Artist's depiction of Saint Paul Writing His Epistles, 16th century (Blaffer Foundation Collection, Houston, Texas). Most scholars think Paul actually dictated his letters to a secretary, such as Tertius named in Romans 16:22.

The relationship between Paul the Apostle and Second Temple Judaism continues to be the subject of much scholarly research, as it is thought that Paul played an important role in the relationship between Christianity and Judaism as a whole. Paul's influence on Christian thinking is said to be more significant than any other New Testament author.[1] Some scholars see Paul (or Saul) as completely in line with 1st-century Judaism (a "Pharisee" and student of Gamaliel or as part of Hellenistic Judaism),[2] others see him as opposed to 1st-century Judaism (see Pauline passages supporting antinomianism and Marcionism), while the majority see him as somewhere in between these extremes, opposed to "Ritual Laws" (see for example Circumcision controversy in early Christianity) but in full agreement on "Divine Law". These views of Paul are paralleled by Christian views of the Old Covenant. See also Antithesis in the Bible and Christianity in the 1st century.
Contents
[hide]

1 Jewish background 2 Greek background 3 Paul's persecution of Christians as a Jew 4 Incident at Antioch 5 Circumcision controversy 6 Views on Judaizers 7 Pillars of the Church 8 Council of Jerusalem 9 Proselytizing among Jews 10 Separation with Judaism 11 Persecution of Paul by Jews in Acts

12 Pauline Christianity 13 The New Perspective on Paul 14 Messianic Jewish views 15 See also 16 References 17 External links

[edit]Jewish

background

Mediterranean Basin geography relevant to Paul's life in the first century, stretching from Jerusalem in the lower-right to Rome in the upper-left.

See also: Jewish Christianity, Jewish culture, Cultural and historical background of Jesus, and Zealots#Paul the Apostle The Book of Acts contains an account of Paul's travels and deeds, his conflicts with pagans and Jews, and his interactions with the original apostles. The value of the historical information in Acts, however, is challenged by a few. It was written from a perspective of reconciliation between Pauline Christianity and its opponents, so portrays Paul as a law-abiding Jew and omits his dispute with Peter, only briefly mentioning the split withBarnabas.[Acts 15:36-41] Irenaeus in the 2nd century is the first of record to quote Acts, and he used it against Marcion who rejected the Hebrew Bible. See also Luke-Acts.

[edit]Greek

background

Map of Alexander's empire, c. 334-323 BC, stretching east and south of Macedonia.

See also: Hellenistic Judaism, Hellenistic religion, and Greek culture

Hellenistic Judaism was a movement which existed in the Jewish diaspora and the Holy Land that sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism. The major literary product of the contact of Judaism and Hellenistic culture is the Septuagint(begun in the 3rd century BC). Major authors are Philo of Alexandria (died c.50 AD), Josephus (died c.100 AD), and some would claim also Paul.[3] The decline of Hellenistic Judaism in the 2nd century AD is obscure. It may be that it was marginalized by, absorbed into or became Early Christianity. Recently, Talmudic scholar Daniel Boyarin has argued that Paul's theology of the spirit is more deeply rooted in Hellenistic Judaism than generally believed. In A Radical Jew, Boyarin argues that Paul of Tarsus combined the life of Jesus with Greek philosophy to reinterpret the Hebrew Bible in terms of the Platonic opposition between the ideal (which is real) and the material (which is false).

[edit]Paul's

persecution of Christians as a Jew

Main article: Conversion of Paul Prior to his belief in Jesus as the Messiah of Israel, Paul was a Pharisee who "violently persecuted" the followers of Jesus. Says Paul:
You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it. I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 1:13-14

Paul also discusses his pre-conversion life in his letter to the Philippians:
If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. Paul's Letter to the Philippians 3:4-6

[edit]Incident

at Antioch

Main article: The Incident at Antioch

Rembrandt's Two old men disputing, 1628. This painting has been thought to depict Peter and Paul. [4]

Despite the agreement presumably achieved at the Council of Jerusalem as understood by Paul, Paul recounts how he later publicly confronted Peter, also called the "Incident at Antioch" over Peter's reluctance to share a meal with Gentile Christians in Antioch.[5] Writing later of the incident, Paul recounts: "I opposed [Peter] to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong". Paul reports that he told Peter: "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?"[Gal. 2:1114] Paul also mentions that even Barnabas (his travelling companion and fellow apostle until that time) sided with Peter.[6] The final outcome of the incident remains uncertain. The Catholic Encyclopedia states: "St. Paul's account of the incident leaves no doubt that St. Peter saw the justice of the rebuke."[7] In contrast, L. Michael White's From Jesus to Christianity states: "The blowup with Peter was a total failure of political bravado, and Paul soon left Antioch as persona non grata, never again to return."[8] The primary source for the Incident at Antioch is Paul's letter to the Galatians.[Gal. 2:11-14]

[edit]Circumcision

controversy

Main article: Circumcision controversy in early Christianity

Circumcision of Christ, sculpture in the Cathedral of Chartres.

Paul, who called himself Apostle to the Gentiles, sometimes attacked the practice of Religious male circumcision, perhaps as an entrance into the New Covenant of Jesus. In the case of Timothy, whose mother was Jewish Christian but whose father was Greek, Paul personally circumcised him "because of the [Judean] Jews" that were in town.[Acts 16:1-3] [9] He also appeared to praise its value in Romans 3:1-2. In any case he stated that his teachings varied in 1 Corinthians 9:20-23. Paul made his case to the Christians at Rome[Romans 2:25-29] that circumcision no longer meant the physical, but a spiritual practice. And in that sense, he wrote: "Is any man called being circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised" in 1 Corinthians 7:18probably a reference to the practice of epispasm.[10] Paul was circumcised when he was "called." He added: "Is any called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised", and went on to argue that circumcision didn't matter: "Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts."[1 Cor. 7:19] Later Paul more explicitly denounced the practice, rejecting and condemning those who promoted circumcision to Gentile converts. Paul warned that the advocates of circumcision were "false brothers".[Gal. 2:4] He accused Galatian converts who advocated circumcision of turning from the Spirit to the flesh: "Are you so foolish, that, whereas you began in the Spirit, you would now be made perfect by the flesh?"[Gal. 3:3] He accused advocates of circumcision of wanting to make a good showing in the flesh[Gal 6:12] and of glorying or boasting of the flesh.[Gal. 3:13] Some believe Paul wrote the entire Epistle to the Galatians attacking circumcision, saying in chapter five: "If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." His attitude towards circumcision varies between his outright hostility to what he calls "mutilation" in Philippians 3:2-3 to praise in Romans 3:1-2 and his willingness that Timothy be circumcised, recorded in Acts 16:1-3 However, such apparent discrepancies have led to a degree of skepticism about the reliability of Acts.[11] Baur, Schwanbeck, De Wette, Davidson, Mayerhoff, Schleiermacher, Bleek, Krenkel, and others have opposed the authenticity of the Acts. An objection is drawn from the discrepancy between Acts 9:19-28and Gal. 1:17-19. The division between those who followed Mosaic law and were circumcised and those who were not circumcised was highlighted in his Epistle to the Galatians:
On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel for the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter making him an apostle to the circumcised also worked through me in sending me to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we should go to theGentiles and they to the circumcised. Galatians 2:7-9

The Catholic Encyclopedia: Judaizers[12] notes: "Paul, on the other hand, not only did not object to the observance of the Mosaic Law, as long as it did not interfere with the liberty of the Gentiles, but he conformed to its prescriptions when occasion required.[1Cor 9:20] Thus he shortly after circumcised Timothy,[Acts 16:1-3] and he was in the very act of observing the Mosaic ritual when he was arrested at Jerusalem."[Acts 21:26]

[edit]Views

on Judaizers

See also: Judaizers Paul was critical of "Judaizers" within the Church. This conflict between Saint Paul and his opponents may have been the reason for the Council of Jerusalem.[Acts 15:1-35] Here James, Paul, and the other leaders of the Early Christian movement agreed that Gentile converts needed only to follow the "three exceptions",[Acts 15:20,29] (counted by some as four) laws that roughly coincide with Judaism's Seven Laws of Noah said to be established by God for all humankind.[Genesis 9:1-17] This Apostolic Decree, still observed by the Orthodox Church, is similar to that adopted by Rabbinic Judaism, which teaches that Gentiles need only follow the Noachide Laws to be assured of a place in the World to Come. See also Noahidism and Dual-covenant theology.

[edit]Pillars

of the Church

Paul made explicit in Galatians 1:7 that he did not discuss with the "Pillars of the Church" after he had received his revelation to be an apostle,[Gal. 1:15-16] that he saw no one except Cephas (Peter) and James, when he was in Jerusalem three years after the revelation[Gal 1:18-24] and implies he did not explain his gospel to them until 14 years later[Gal 2:1-2] in a subsequent trip to Jerusalem. Since F.C. Baur, scholars have found evidence of conflict between the leaders of Early Christianity, for example James D. G. Dunn proposes that Peter was a "bridge-man" between the opposing views of Paul and James the Just.
For Peter was probably in fact and effect the bridge-man (pontifex maximus!) who did more than any other to hold together the diversity of first-century Christianity. James the brother of Jesus and Paul, the two other most prominent leading figures in first-century Christianity, were too much identified with their respective "brands" of Christianity, at least in the eyes of Christians at the opposite ends of this particular spectrum. But Peter, as shown particularly by the Antioch episode in Gal 2, had both a care to hold firm to his Jewish heritage, which Paul lacked, and an openness to the demands of developing Christianity, which James lacked. John might have served as such a figure of the center holding together the extremes, but if the writings linked with his name are at all indicative of his own stance he was too much of an individualist to provide such a rallying point. Others could link the developing new religion more firmly to its founding events and to Jesus himself. But none of them, including the rest of the twelve, seem to have played any role of continuing significance for the whole sweep of Christianitythough James the brother of John might have proved an exception had he been spared." [Italics original]

James D. G. Dunn. "The Canon Debate," McDonald & Sanders editors, 2002, chapter 32, p. 577

[edit]Council

of Jerusalem

Main article: Council of Jerusalem Paul seems to have refused "to be tied down to particular patterns of behavior and practice."[2] [1 Cor. 9:2023]

He does not engage in a dispute with those Corinthians who apparently feel quite free to eat anything

offered to idols, never appealing or even mentioning the Jerusalem council. He rather attempts to persuade them by appealing to the care they should have for other believers who might not feel so free. Paul himself described several meetings with the apostles in Jerusalem, though it is difficult to reconcile any of them fully with the account in Acts (see also Paul of TarsusCouncil of Jerusalem). Paul claims he "went up again to Jerusalem" (i.e., not the first time) with Barnabas and Titus "in response to a revelation", in order to "lay before them the gospel (he) proclaimed among the Gentiles",[Gal. 2:2] them being according to Paul "those who were supposed to be acknowledged leaders":[Gal. 2:6] James, Cephas and John. He describes this as a "private meeting" (not a public council) and notes that Titus, who was Greek, wasn't pressured to be circumcised.[Gal. 2:3] [3] However, he refers to "false believers secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy on the freedom[4] we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might enslave us."[Gal. 2:4] Paul claims the "pillars" of the Church[13] had no differences with him. On the contrary, they gave him the "right hand of fellowship", he bound for the mission to "the uncircumcised" and they to "the circumcised", requesting only that he remember the "poor"[5]. Whether this was the same meeting as that described in Acts is not universally agreed. According to an article in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Paul not only did not object to the observance of the Mosaic Law, as long as it did not interfere with the liberty of the Gentiles, but he conformed to its prescriptions when occasion required.[1 Cor 9:20] Thus he shortly after circumcised Timothy,[Acts 16:13] and he was in the very act of observing the Mosaic ritual when he was arrested at Jerusalem.[Acts 21:26] According to an article in the Jewish Encyclopedia, great as was the success of Barnabas and Paul in the heathen world, the authorities in Jerusalem insisted upon circumcision as the condition of admission of members into the church, until, on the initiative of Peter, and of James, the head of the Jerusalem church, it was agreed that acceptance of the Noachian Laws namely, regarding avoidance of idolatry, fornication, and the eating of flesh cut from a living animal should be demanded of the heathen desirous of entering the Church.[14]

[edit]Proselytizing

among Jews

According to Acts, Paul began working along the traditional Jewish line of proselytizing in the various synagogues where the proselytes of the gate (a biblical term. For example, see Exodus 20:10) and the Jews met; and only because he failed to win the Jews to his views, encountering strong opposition and persecution from them, did he turn to the Gentile world after he had agreed at a convention with the

apostles at Jerusalem to admit the Gentiles into the Church only as proselytes of the gate, that is, after their acceptance of the Noachian laws.[Acts 15:131][15] In Galatians 1:17,18, St. Paul declares that, immediately after his conversion, he went away into Arabia, and again returned to Damascus. "Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas." In Acts, no mention is made of St. Paul's journey into Arabia; and the journey to Jerusalem is placed immediately after the notice of Paul's preaching in the synagogues. Hilgenfeld, Wendt, Weizcker, Weiss, and others allege here a contradiction between the writer of the Acts and St. Paul."[16] R. Emden, in a remarkable apology for Christianity contained in his appendix to "Seder 'Olam"
[17]

gives it

as his opinion that the original intention of Jesus, and especially of Paul, was to convert only the Gentiles to the seven moral laws of Noah and to let the Jews follow the Mosaic law which explains the apparent contradictions in the New Testament regarding the laws of Moses and the Sabbath.

[edit]Separation

with Judaism

Main article: Split of early Christianity and Judaism Before Paul's conversion, Christianity was part of Second Temple Judaism, in other words a Jewish sect of the time period, so-called Jewish Christianity, and thus, from a modern perspective, Gentiles that wished to fully join the movement were expected to convert to Judaism, which likely meant submission to adult male circumcision if they hadn't been as an infant, following the dietary restrictions of kashrut, and more, see 613 mitzvot for details. During the time period, there were also "partial converts", such as gate proselytes and Godfearers. Paul insisted that faith in Christ (see also Faith or Faithfulness) was sufficient for salvation and that the Torah did not bind Gentiles, the later view also being held by most Jews. The success of Paul's efforts as "Apostle to the Gentiles" sped up the split between Christianity and mainstream Judaism, even though Paul wanted no such split himself. Without Paul's campaign against the legalists who opposed him, Christianity may have remained a dissenting sect within Judaism,[18] for example see Noahidism. Paul's theology of the gospel accelerated the separation of the messianic sect of Christians from Judaism, a development contrary to Paul's own intent. He wrote that faith in Christ was alone decisive in salvation for Jews and Gentiles alike, making the schism between the followers of Christ and mainstream Jews inevitable and permanent. He successfully argued that Gentile converts did not need to follow Jewish customs, get circumcised, follow Jewish dietary restrictions, or (according to some interpretations) otherwise observe Mosaic law, see also Antinomianism in the New Testament and Abrogation of Old Covenant laws. Nevertheless, in his Epistle to the Romans he insisted on the positive value of the Law (see also Pauline passages opposing antinomianism), perhaps an attempt to demonstrate God's consistency and in Acts of the Apostles he personally circumcised Timothy, whose mother was Jewish Christian but whose father was Greek.[9] Since Paul's time, the polemical contrast that he made between the old and the new way of

salvation has usually been weakened, with an emphasis on smooth development (Supersessionism) rather than stark contrast (Marcionism). See also New Perspective on Paul.

[edit]Persecution

of Paul by Jews in Acts

Main article: Persecution of Christians in the New Testament Several passages in Acts describe St. Paul's missions to Asia Minor and the encounters he had with Diaspora Jews and with local gentile populations. In Acts 13-15, the Jews from Antioch and Iconium go so far as to follow Paul to other cities and to incite the crowds there to violence against him. Paul had already been stoned and left for dead once.[Acts 14:19] In Philippi, a Roman colony, Roman magistrates beat and jailed Paul and his companions on behalf of the Gentiles.[Acts 16:19-40] Clearly at this point, Paul and his companions were still considered to be Jews by those in Philippi who raised protests against them, despite Paul's attempts to tailor his teachings to his audience.[1 Cor. 9:20-23] Later, in nearby Thessalonica, the Jews again incited the crowds and pitted the Christians against the Roman authority.[Acts 17:6-8]

[edit]Pauline

Christianity

Pauline Christianity is a term used to refer to a branch of Early Christianity associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by Paul the Apostle through his writings. The term is generally considered a pejorative by Christians as it carries the implication that Christianity as it is known is a corruption of the original teachings of Jesus, as in the doctrine of the Great Apostasy.

[edit]The

New Perspective on Paul

Main article: New Perspective on Paul E. P. Sanders in 1977[19] reframed the context of Paul's theology to make law-keeping and good works a sign of being in the Covenant (marking out the Jews as the people of God) rather than deeds performed in order to accomplish salvation (so-called Legalism (theology)), a pattern of religion he termed "covenantal nomism." If Sanders' perspective is valid, the traditional Protestant understanding of the doctrine of justification (the "old perspective") may have needed rethinking, for the interpretive framework of Martin Luther was called into question. Sanders' publications, such as Paul and Palestinian Judaism in 1977 and Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People in 1983, have since been taken up by Professor James Dunn who coined the phrase "The New Perspective on Paul"[20] and N.T. Wright,[21] Anglican Bishop of Durham. Wright, noting the apparent discrepancy between Romans and Galatians, the former being much more positive about the continuingcovenantal relationship between God and his ancient people than the latter, contends that works are not insignificant[Romans 2:13] and that Paul distinguishes between works which are signs of ethnic identity and those which are a sign of obedience to Christ. Some contemporary scholars hold that the Lord's supper had its origins in a pagan context, where dinners to memorialize the dead were common and the Jewish prohibition against drinking blood (see alsoTaboo

food and drink#Blood) did not prevail.[22] They conclude the "Lord's supper" that Paul describes probably originated in the Christian communities that he had founded in Asia Minor and Greece.[22] Within the last three decades, a number of theologians have put forward other "new perspectives" on Paul's doctrine of justification, and even more specifically on what he says about justification by faith. According to Simon Gathercole , "Justification by faith" means God accepts Gentiles in addition to Jews, since both believe in God. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith".[Romans 3:28-30] Faith is the central component of Paul's doctrine of justification meaning that Gentiles don't need to become Israelites when they convert to Christianity, because God is not just the God of one nation, but Gentile and Jew alike.[23]

[edit]Messianic

Jewish views

Messianics understand that Paul the Apostle (who is often referred to as Shaul, his Hebrew name) remained a Jewish Pharisee even as a believer until his death. This is based on Acts 23:6, detailing events after Paul's acceptance of Jesus as Messiah. "But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men [and] brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question." Messianics cite the cutting off of Pauls hair at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken,[Acts 18:18] references in passing to his observing the Jewish holidays, the frequent mistranslations of his writings in many Bibles,[citation needed] and his consistent good standing with his Rabbinic master Gamaliel, to show that he was wholly in continued observance of the laws and traditions of Judaism. They maintain that Paul never set out to polarize the gospel between faith and righteous works, but that one is necessary to maintain the other.

Split of early Christianity and Judaism


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about events that marked the split between Early Christianity and Second Temple Judaism. For a general Christian timeline, see Timeline of Christianity. For Jewish Schisms, see Schisms among the Jews. For a comparison of the religions as they exist today, see Christianity and Judaism.

Christ Driving the Traders from the Temple by El Greco, 1600

The split between Pharisaic/Rabbinic Judaism and Early/Proto-orthodox Christianity was a slowly growing chasm between Christians and Jews in the first centuries of the Christian Era. It is commonly attributed to a number of events said to be pivotal: the antithesis of the law and rejection of Jesus c. 30, the Council of Jerusalem c. 50, the destruction of the Second Temple and institution of the Jewish tax in 70, the postulated Council of Jamnia c. 90, or the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132135. On the one hand, while it is commonly thought that Paul established a Gentile church within his lifetime, it took centuries for a complete break to manifest, and the relationship of Paul of Tarsus and Judaism is still disputed, as are many events of the nascent common era; on the other, this is one of best documented and fertile epochs of history, archaeology and the formative years of Western thought. For centuries, the traditional understanding has been that Judaism came before Christianity and that Christianity separated from Judaism some time after the destruction of the Second Temple. Recently, scholars have begun to believe that the historical picture is quite a bit more complicated than that. In the 1st century, many Jewish sects existed in competition with each other; see Second Temple Judaism. The sects which eventually became Rabbinic Judaism and Proto-orthodox Christianity were but two of these. Some scholars have begun to propose a model which envisions a twin birth of Proto-Orthodox Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism rather than a separation of the former from the latter. For example, Robert Goldenberg asserts that it is increasingly accepted among scholars that "at the end of the 1st century CE there were not yet two separate religions called 'Judaism' and 'Christianity'".[1] Daniel Boyarin proposes a revised understanding of the interactions between nascent Christianity and Judaism in late antiquity which views the two "new" religions as intensely and complexly intertwined throughout this period. Boyarin writes: "for at least the first three centuries of their common lives, Judaism in all of its forms and Christianity in all of its forms were part of one complex religious family, twins in a womb, contending with each other for identity and precedence, but sharing with each other the same spiritual food, as well".

Without the power of the orthodox Church and the Rabbis to declare people heretics and outside the system it remained impossible to declare phenomenologically who was a Jew and who was a Christian. At least as interesting and significant, it seems more and more clear that it is frequently impossible to tell a Jewish text from a Christian text. The borders are fuzzy, and this has consequences. Religious ideas and innovations can cross borders in both directions. [2]
Contents
[hide]

1 Framing the debate 2 Compatibility of Christianity with Second Temple Judaism

o o o

2.1 Jewish messianism 2.2 Christian understanding of Jesus as messiah 2.3 Jewish rejection of Jesus as messiah

3 Conversion of Paul 4 Possible conversion of Gamaliel 5 Christian abandonment of Jewish practices 6 Council of Jerusalem 7 Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity

o o o

7.1 The Great Revolt and the Destruction of the Temple 7.2 The Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism 7.3 The Emergence of Christianity

8 Council of Jamnia 9 Status under Roman law 10 Marcion of Sinope 11 Timeline of events

11.1 1st century

11.1.1 New Testament 11.1.2 Other Sources

11.2 2nd century

12 See also 13 References

[edit]Framing

the debate

This section requires expansion. (June


2010)

Philip S. Alexander characterizes the question of when Christianity and Judaism parted company and went their separate ways as "one of those deceptively simple questions which should be approached with great care."[3] Robert M. Price asserts that "classic," "Orthodox" type of Christianity does not look much like JavnehRabbinic Judaism. Thus Christianity as we know it and Judaism as we know it never in fact separated from one another in the manner of, say, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christianity in the eleventh century. Rather, each is a finally dominant form at the end of its own branch of the tree of religious evolution.[4] Robert and Mary Coote write: "Despite the ostensible merging of Judean and Jew even in certain New Testament passages and by the rabbis who became rulers of Palestine in the third century and continued to use Hebrew and Aramaic more than Greek, the roots of Christianity were not Jewish. Christianity did not derive from the Judaism of the pharisees, but emerged like Judaism from the wider Judean milieu of the first century. Both Christians and Jews stemmed from pre-70 Judean-ism as heirs of groups that were to take on the role of primary guardians or interpreters of scripture as they developed on parallel tracks in relation to each other."[5]

[edit]Compatibility [edit]Jewish

of Christianity with Second Temple Judaism

messianism

Main article: Jewish messianism Alan Segal has written that "one can speak of a 'twin birth' of two new Judaisms, both markedly different from the religious systems that preceded them. Not only were rabbinic Judaism and Christianity religious twins, but, like Jacob and Esau, the twin sons of Isaac and Rebecca, they fought in the womb, setting the stage for life after the womb."[6] For Martin Buber, Judaism and Christianity were variations on the same theme of messianism. Buber made this theme the basis of a famous definition of the tension between Judaism and Christianity: Pre-messianically, our destinies are divided. Now to the Christian, the Jew is the incomprehensibly obdurate man who declines to see what has happened; and to the Jew, the Christian is the incomprehensibly daring man who affirms in an unredeemed world that its redemption has been accomplished. This is a gulf which no human power can bridge.[7] Jewish messianism has its root in the apocalyptic literature of the 2nd century BC to 1st century BC, promising a future "anointed" leader or Messiah to resurrect the Israelite "Kingdom of God", in place of the foreign rulers of the time. This corresponded with the Maccabean Revolt directed against the Seleucids. Following the fall of the Hasmonean kingdom, it was directed against the Roman administration ofIudaea Province, which, according to Josephus, began with the formation of the Zealots during the Census of Quirinius of 6 AD, though full scale open revolt did not occur till the First JewishRoman War in 66 AD. Historian H. H. Ben-Sasson has proposed that the "Crisis under Caligula" (37-41) was the "first open break

between Rome and the Jews", even though problems were already evident during the Census of Quirinius in 6 and under Sejanus (before 31).[8] Judaism at this time was divided into antagonistic factions. The main camps were the Pharisees, Saducees, and Zealots, but also included many other less influential sects (including the Essenes), seeSecond Temple Judaism for details. This led to further unrest, and the 1st century BC and 1st century AD saw a number of charismatic religious leaders, contributing to what would become the Mishnah of Rabbinic Judaism, including Yochanan ben Zakai and Hanina Ben Dosa. The ministry of Jesus, according to the account of the Gospels, falls into this pattern of sectarian preachers with devoted disciples.

[edit]Christian

understanding of Jesus as messiah

Paula Fredriksen, in From Jesus to Christ, has suggested that Jesus' impact on his followers was so great that they could not accept the failure implicit in his death. According to the New Testament, Jesus's followers reported that they encountered Jesus after his crucifixion; they argued that he had been resurrected (the belief in the resurrection of the dead in the messianic age was a core Pharisaic doctrine), and would soon return to usher in the Kingdom of God and fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy such as the Resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment. Others adapted Gnosticism as a way to maintain the vitality and validity of Jesus' teachings (see Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels). Since early Christians believed that Jesus had already replaced the Temple as the expression of a new covenant, they were relatively unconcerned with the destruction of the Temple, though it came to be viewed as symbolic to the doctrine of Supersessionism. According to many historians, most of Jesus' teachings were intelligible and acceptable in terms of Second Temple Judaism; what set Christians apart from Jews was their faith in Christ as the resurrected messiah.[9] The belief in a resurrected Messiah is unacceptable to Jews today and to Rabbinic Judaism, and Jewish authorities have long used this fact to explain the break between Judaism and Christianity. Recent work by historians paints a more complex portrait of late Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity. Some historians have suggested that, before his death, Jesus created amongst his believers such certainty that the Kingdom of God and the resurrection of the dead was at hand, that with few exceptions (John 20: 24-29) when they saw him shortly after his execution, they had no doubt that he had been resurrected, and that the restoration of the Kingdom and resurrecton of the dead was at hand. These specific beliefs were compatible with Second Temple Judaism.[10] In the following years the restoration of the Kingdom, as Jews expected it, failed to occur. Some Christians believed instead that Christ, rather than being the Jewish messiah, was God made flesh, who died for the sins of humanity, and that faith in Jesus Christ offered everlasting life (see Christology).[11] The foundation for this new interpretation of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection are found in the epistles of Paul and in the book of Acts (and Christians would argue, in the gospels themselves). In contrast to most

Christians, most Jews view Paul as the founder of Christianity, who is responsible for the break with Judaism; see Paul of Tarsus and Judaism for details.

[edit]Jewish

rejection of Jesus as messiah

See also: Rejection of Jesus The first Christians (the disciples or students of Jesus) were essentially all ethnically Jewish or Jewish proselytes. In other words, Jesus was Jewish, preached to the Jewish people and called from them his first disciples. However, the Great Commission, issued after the Resurrection is specifically directed at "all nations." Jewish Christians, as faithful religious Jews, regarded "Christianity" as an affirmation of every aspect of contemporary Judaism, with the addition of one extra belief that Jesus was the Messiah.[12] The doctrines of the apostles of Jesus brought the Early Church into conflict with some Jewish religious authorities (Acts records dispute over resurrection of the dead which was rejected by the Sadducees, see also Persecution of Christians in the New Testament), and possibly later led to Christians' expulsion from synagogues (see Council of Jamnia for other theories). While Marcionism rejected all Jewish influence on Christianity, Proto-orthodox Christianity instead retained some of the doctrines and practices of 1stcentury Judaism while rejecting others, see the Historical background to the issue of Biblical law in Christianity and Early Christianity. They held the Jewish scriptures to be authoritative and sacred, employing mostly the Septuagint or Targum translations, and adding other texts as the New Testament canon developed. Christian baptism was another continuation of a Judaic practice.[13]

[edit]Conversion

of Paul

Main article: Conversion of Paul According to the Acts of the Apostles, Paul of Tarsus (c.5-c.67) was taught by the famous Pharisee Gamaliel in Jerusalem, but modern historians still debate the relationship between Paul of Tarsus and Judaism and the historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles. Before his conversion, Paul persecuted the Jewish Christians as a heretical sect, such as the Martyrdom of Stephen. After his conversion, he assumed the title of "Apostle to the Gentiles" and actively converted gentiles to his beliefs, known as Pauline Christianity. Paul's influence on Christian thinking arguably has been more significant than any other New Testament author.[14] Augustine (354-430) developed Paul's idea that salvation is based on faith and not "works of the law".[14][need quotation to verify] Luther (14831546) and his doctrine of sola fidewere heavily influenced by Paul. Evangelical Christians refer to the Roman's road, an explanation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ taken solely from the book of Romans.[clarification needed] Recently, Talmudic scholar Daniel Boyarin has argued that Paul's theology of the spirit is more deeply rooted in Hellenistic Judaism than generally believed. In A Radical Jew, Boyarin argues that Paul of Tarsus combined the life of Jesus with Greek philosophy to reinterpret the Hebrew Bible in terms of the Platonic opposition between the ideal (which is real) and the material (which is false).

[edit]Possible

conversion of Gamaliel

Main article: Gamaliel#In Christian tradition According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:[15] "The Jewish accounts make him die a Pharisee, and state that: "When he died, the honour of the Torah (the law) ceased, and purity and piety became extinct". At an early date, ecclesiastical tradition has supposed that Gamaliel embraced the Christian Faith, and remained a member of the Sanhedrin for the purpose of helping secretly his fellow-Christians (cf. Recognitions of Clement, I, lxv, lxvi). According to Photius, he was baptized by St. Peter and St. John, together with his son and with Nicodemus. His body, miraculously discovered in the fifth century, is said to be preserved at Pisa, in Italy."

[edit]Christian

abandonment of Jewish practices

See also: Christian views on the old covenant According to historian Shaye J.D. Cohen, early Christianity ceased to be a Jewish sect when it ceased to observe Jewish practices.[16] Among the Jewish practices abandoned by Proto-orthodox Christianity,Circumcision was rejected as a requirement at the Council of Jerusalem, c. 50, though the decree of the council may parallel Jewish Noahide Law. The establishment of a Jewish Tax known as Fiscus Judaicus helped widen the gap between Christians and Jews for anyone that appeared to be Jewish was taxed after A.D. 70. Sabbath observance was modified, perhaps as early as Ignatius of Antioch(c.110).[17] Quartodecimanism (observation of a Paschal feast on Nisan 14, the day of preparation for Passover, linked to Polycarp and thus to John the Apostle) was disputed by Pope Victor I (189-199) and formally rejected at the First Council of Nicaea in 325.[18]

[edit]Council

of Jerusalem

In or around the year 50, the apostles convened the first church council (although whether it was a council in the later sense in questioned), known as the Council of Jerusalem, to reconcile practical (and by implication doctrinal) differences concerning the Gentile mission. [19] At the Council of Jerusalem it was agreed that gentiles could be accepted as Christians without full adherence to the Mosaic Laws, possibly a major break between Christianity and Judaism, though the decree of the council (Acts 15:19-29) seems to parallel the Noahide laws of Judaism, which would make it a commonality rather than a difference. The Council of Jerusalem, according to Acts 15, determined that circumcision was not required of Gentile converts, only avoidance of "pollution of idols, fornication, things strangled, and blood" (Acts 15:20), possibly establishing nascent Christianity as an attractive alternative to Judaism for prospective Proselytes. Around the same time period, Judaism made its circumcision requirement of Jewish boys even stricter.[20] According to the 19th century Roman Catholic Bishop Karl Josef von Hefele, the Apostolic Decree of the Jerusalem Council "has been obsolete for centuries in the West", though it is still recognized and observed by the Greek Orthodox Church.[21] Jehovah's Witnesses also believe the decree still applies

today[22] and perhaps other Christian denominations[who?] as well. Acts 28 Hyperdispensationalists, such as the 20th century Anglican E. W. Bullinger, would be another example of a group that believes the decree (and everything before Acts 28) no longer applies. In addition, the Apostolic Age is particularly significant to Christian Restorationism which claims that it represents a purer form of Christianity that should be restored to the church as it exists today.

[edit]Emergence

of Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity

A depiction of Jesus appearing to his apostles after his resurrection.

At the time of the Destruction of the Second Temple, Judaism was divided into antagonistic factions. The main camps were the Pharisees, Saducees, and Zealots, but also included other less influential sects. This led to further unrest, and the 1st century BC and 1st century AD saw a number of charismatic religious leaders, contributing to what would become the Mishnah of Rabbinic Judaism, including Yochanan ben Zakai and Hanina Ben Dosa. According to most scholars, the followers of Jesus composed principally apocalyptic Jewish sects during the late Second Temple period of the 1st century. Some Early Christian groups were strictly Jewish, such as the Ebionites and the early church leaders in Jerusalem, collectively called Jewish Christians. During this period, they were led by James the Just. Paul of Tarsus, commonly known as Saint Paul, persecuted the early Jewish Christians, such as Saint Stephen, then converted and adopted the title of "Apostle to the Gentiles" and started proselytizing among the Gentiles. He persuaded the leaders of the Jerusalem Church to allow Gentile converts exemption from most Jewish commandments at the Council of Jerusalem, which may parallel Noahide Law in Rabbinic Judaism.

Most historians agree that Jesus or his followers established a new Jewish sect, one that attracted both Jewish and Gentile converts. Historians continue to debate the precise moment when Christianity established itself as a new religion, apart and distinct from Judaism. Some scholars view Christians as much as Pharisees as being competing movements within Judaism that decisively broke only after the Bar Kokhba's revolt, when the successors of the Pharisees claimed hegemony over all Judaism, and at least from the Jewish perspective Christianity emerged as a new religion. Some Christians were still part of the Jewish community up until the time of the Bar Kochba revolt in the 130s, see also Jewish Christians. According to historian Shaye J. D. Cohen, The separation of Christianity from Judaism was a process, not an event. The essential part of this process was that the church was becoming more and more gentile, and less and less Jewish, but the separation manifested itself in different ways in each local community where Jews and Christians dwelt together. In some places, the Jews expelled the Christians; in other, the Christians left of their own accord.[23] According to Cohen, this process ended in 70 CE, after the great revolt, when various Jewish sects disappeared and Pharisaic Judaism evolved into Rabbinic Judaism, and Christianity emerged as a distinct religion.[24]

[edit]The

Great Revolt and the Destruction of the Temple

Main article: First JewishRoman War By 66 CE Jewish discontent with Rome had escalated. At first, the priests tried to suppress rebellion, even calling upon the Pharisees for help. After the Roman garrison failed to stop Hellenists from desecrating a synagogue in Caesarea, however, the high priest suspended payment of tribute, inaugurating the Great Jewish Revolt. After a Jewish revolt against Roman rule in 66 CE, the Romans all but destroyed Jerusalem. Following a second revolt, Jews were not allowed to enter the city of Jerusalem except for the day of Tisha B'Av and most Jewish worship was forbidden by Rome[citation needed]. Rome instituted the Fiscus Judaicus, those who paid the tax were allowed to continue Jewish practices. Following the destruction of Jerusalem and the expulsion of the Jews, Jewish worship stopped being centrally organized around the Temple, prayer took the place of sacrifice, and worship was rebuilt around rabbis who acted as teachers and leaders of individual communities (see Jewish diaspora and Council of Jamnia). In 70 the Temple was destroyed. The destruction of the Second Temple was a profoundly traumatic experience for the Jews, who were now confronted with difficult and far-reaching questions:[25]

How to achieve atonement without the Temple?

How to explain the disastrous outcome of the rebellion? How to live in the post-Temple, Romanized world? How to connect present and past traditions?

How people answered these questioned depended largely on their position prior to the revolt. But the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans not only put an end to the revolt, it marked the end of an era. Revolutionaries like the Zealots had been crushed by the Romans, and had little credibility (the last Zealots died at Masada in 73). The Sadducees, whose teachings were so closely connected to the Temple cult, disappeared. The Essenes also vanished, perhaps because their teachings so diverged from the issues of the times that the destruction of the Second Temple was of no consequence to them; precisely for this reason, they were of little consequence to the vast majority of Jews. Two organized groups remained: the Early Christians, and Pharisees. Some scholars, such as Daniel Boyarin and Paula Fredricksen, suggest that it was at this time, when Christians and Pharisees were competing for leadership of the Jewish people, that accounts of debates between Jesus and the apostles, debates with Pharisees, and anti-Pharisaic passages, were written and incorporated into the New Testament.

[edit]The

Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism

Main article: Origins of Rabbinic Judaism Of all the major Second Temple sects, only the Pharisees remained (but see Karaite Judaism). Their vision of Jewish law as a means by which ordinary people could engage with the sacred in their daily lives, provided them with a position from which to respond to all four challenges, in a way meaningful to the vast majority of Jews. Following the destruction of the Temple, Rome governed Judea through a Procurator at Caesarea and a Jewish Patriarch. A former leading Pharisee, Yohanan ben Zakkai, was appointed the first Patriarch (the Hebrew word, Nasi, also means prince, or president), and he reestablished the Sanhedrin at Javneh under Pharisee control. Instead of giving tithes to the priests and sacrificing offerings at the Temple, the rabbis instructed Jews to give money to charities and study in local Synagogues, as well as to pay the Fiscus Iudaicus. Around the 1st century CE there were several Jewish sects: the Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, Essenes, and Christians. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, these sects vanished.Christianity survived, but by breaking with Judaism and becoming a separate religion; the Pharisees survived but in the form of Rabbinic Judaism (today, known simply as "Judaism"). The Sadducees rejected the divine inspiration of the Prophets and the Writings, relying only on the Torah as divinely inspired. Consequently, a number of other core tenets of the Pharisees' belief system (which became the basis for modern

Judaism), were also dismissed by the Sadducees. (The Samaritans practiced a similar religion, which is traditionally considered separate from Judaism.) In 132, the Emperor Hadrian threatened to rebuild Jerusalem as a pagan city dedicated to Jupiter, called Aelia Capitolina. Some of the leading sages of the Sanhedrin supported a rebellion (and, for a short time, an independent state) led by Simon bar Kozeba (also called Bar Kochba, or "son of a star"); some, such as Rabbi Akiba, believed Bar Kochbah to be messiah, or "annointed one". Up until this time, a number of Christians were still part of the Jewish community. However, they did not support or take part in the revolt. Whether because they had no wish to fight, or because they could not support a second messiah in addition to Jesus, or because of their harsh treatment by Bar Kochba during his brief reign, these Christians also left the Jewish community around this time. This revolt ended in 135 when Bar Kochba and his army were defeated. According to a midrash, in addition to Bar Kochba the Romans tortured and executed ten leading members of the Sanhedrin. This account also claims this was belated repayment for the guilt of the ten brothers who kidnapped Joseph. It is possible that this account represents a Pharisaic response to the Christian account of Jesus'crucifixion; in both accounts the Romans brutally punish rebels, who accept their torture as atonement for the crimes of others. After the suppression of the revolt the vast majority of Jews were sent into exile; shortly thereafter (around 200), Judah haNasi edited together judgements and traditions into an authoritative code, the Mishna. This marks the transformation of Pharisaic Judaism into Rabbinic Judaism. Although the Rabbis traced their origins to the Pharisees, Rabbinic Judaism nevertheless involved a radical repudiation of certain elements of Pharisaism - elements that were basic to Second Temple Judaism. The Pharisees had been partisan. Members of different sects argued with one another over the correctness of their respective interpretations, most notably the sages Hillel and Shammai. After the destruction of the Second Temple, these sectarian divisions ended. The term "Pharisee" was no longer used, perhaps because it was a term more often used by nonPharisees, but also because the term was explicitly sectarian. The Rabbis claimed leadership over all Jews, and added to the Amidah the birkat haMinim (see Council of Jamnia), a prayer which in part exclaims, "Praised are You O Lord, who breaks enemies and defeats the arrogant," and which is understood as a rejection of sectarians and sectarianism. This shift by no means resolved conflicts over the interpretation of the Torah; rather, it relocated debates between sects to debates within Rabbinic Judaism. As the Rabbis were required to face a new realitymainly Judaism without a Temple (to serve as the center of teaching and study) and Judea without autonomythere was a flurry of legal discourse and the old system of oral scholarship could not be maintained. It is during this period that Rabbinic discourse began to be recorded in writing.[26] The theory that the destruction of the

Temple and subsequent upheaval led to the committing of Oral Law into writing was first explained in the Epistle of Sherira Gaon and often repeated.[27] The oral law was subsequently codified in the Mishna and Gemarah, and is interpreted in Rabbinic literature detailing subsequent rabbinic decisions and writings. Rabbinic Jewish literature is predicated on the belief that the Written Law cannot be properly understood without recourse to the Oral Law (the Mishnah). Much Rabbinic Jewish literature concerns specifying what behavior is sanctioned by the law; this body of interpretations is called halakha (the way).

[edit]The

Emergence of Christianity

Main article: Origins of Christianity According to Shaye J.D. Cohen, Jesus's failure to establish an independent Israel, and his death at the hands of the Romans, caused many Jews to reject Him as the Messiah (see for comparison: prophetand false prophet).[16] Christians who profess the Nicene Creed, which is the majority, believe that the "Kingdom of God" will be fully established at the Second Coming of Christ. Some other Christians[who?]claim that the Kingdom is a "spiritual Kingdom of Grace"[citation
needed]

. In the aftermath of the destruction of the Temple, and then the defeat of Bar Kozeba, it is

claimed that more Jews continued to be attracted to the Pharisaic rabbis than to Christianity, because they believed the latter to be a form of idolatry and thus antithetical to the unity of God as expressed in the Mosaic tradition (see Maimonides, Laws of King 11:4). Also, Jews at that time were expecting a military leader as a Messiah, such as Bar Kohhba. According to the majority of historians, Jesus' teachings were intelligible and acceptable in terms of Second Temple Judaism; what set Christians apart from Jews was their faith in Christ as the resurrected messiah. [9] The belief in a resurrected Messiah is said to be unacceptable to Jews who practice Rabbinic Judaism; Jewish authorities have long used this fact to explain the break between Judaism and Christianity. Recent work by historians paints a more complex portrait of late Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity. Some historians have suggested that, before his death, Jesus forged among his believers such certainty that the Kingdom of God and the resurrection of the dead was at hand, that with few exceptions (John 20: 24-29) when they saw him shortly after his execution, they had no doubt that he had been resurrected, and that the restoration of the Kingdom and resurrecton of the dead was at hand, though only Full Preterism proposes that all this happened in the first century. These specific beliefs were compatible with Second Temple Judaism.[10] In the following years the restoration of the Kingdom as expected failed to occur. Some Christians believed instead that Christ, rather than being the Jewish messiah, was God made flesh, who died for the sins of humanity, and that faith in Jesus Christ offered everlasting life (see Christology).[11] Jesus himself declared that he was God, according to a common interpretation of John 8, vs. 58, see Divinity of Jesus for details.

The foundation for this new interpretation of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection are found in the epistles of Paul and in the book of Acts, as well as Jesus's claim to be God. Adherents to the modern form of Talmudic Judaism whose thinking is influenced by religious categories tend to view Paul as the so-called founder of "Christianity." Despite the fact that no such term was ever used by Paul himself, and that Paul expressly asserted his Jewish pedigree, he is claimed by some to be responsible for the break with "Judaism." However, recently, Talmud scholar Daniel Boyarin has argued that Paul's theology of the spirit is more deeply rooted in Hellenistic Judaism than has been generally argued by proponents of modern Talmudic Judaism. In his work A Radical Jew, Boyarin argues that Paul of Tarsus combined the life of Jesus with Greek philosophy to interpret the Hebrew Bible in terms of the Platonic opposition between the ideal (which is real) and the material (which is false); see also Paul of Tarsus and Judaism. Judaism is a corporeal religion, in which membership is based not on belief but rather descent from Abraham, physically marked by circumcision, and focusing on how to live this life properly. According to Boyarin, Paul saw in the "symbol" of a resurrected Jesus the possibility of a spiritual rather than corporeal messiah. He used this notion of messiah, so Boyarin, to argue for a religion through which all people not just descendants of Abraham could worship the God of Abraham. Unlike Judaism, which holds that it is the proper religion only of the Jews (except see Noahide Laws), Pauline Christianity claimed to be the proper religion for all people. In other words, by appealing to the Platonic distinction between the material and the ideal, Paul showed how the spirit of Christ could provide all people a way to worship God the God who had previously been worshiped only by Jews, and Jewish Proselytes, although Jews claimed that He was the one and only God of all (see, for example, Romans 8: 1-4; II Corinthians 3:3; Galatians 3: 14; Philippians 3:3). Boyarin attempts to root Paul's work in Hellenistic Judaism and insists that Paul was thoroughly Jewish. But, Boyarin argues, Pauline theology made his version of Christianity so appealing to Gentiles. Nevertheless, Boyarin also sees this so-called Platonic reworking of both Jesus' teachings and Pharisaic Judaism as essential to the emergence of Christianity as a distinct religion, because it justified a Judaism without Jewish law (see also New Covenant). Since early Christians believed that Jesus had already replaced the Temple as the expression of a new covenant, they were relatively unconcerned with the destruction of the Temple, though it came to be viewed as symbolic to the doctrine of Supersessionism. The above events and trends lead to a gradual separation between Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism.[28][29] According to historian Shaye J.D. Cohen, "Early Christianity ceased to be a Jewish sect when it ceased to observe Jewish practices.[16] Among the Jewish practices abandoned by Proto-orthodox Christianity, Circumcision was rejected as a requirement at the Council of Jerusalem, c. 50, though the decree of the council may parallel JewishNoahide Law. Sabbath observance was modified, perhaps as early as Ignatius' Epistle to

the Magnesians 9.1.,[30] though the Bible gives accounts of an even earlier observance (see Acts 20:7, and Rev. 1:10-11). Quartodecimanism (observation of the Paschal feast on Nisan 14, the day of preparation for Passover, linked to Polycarp and thus to John the Apostle) was formally rejected at the First Council of Nicaea.

[edit]Council

of Jamnia

A hypothetical Council of Jamnia circa 85 is often stated to have condemned all who claimed the Jewish Messiah had already come, and Christianity in particular. The formulated prayer in question (birkat ha-minim) however is considered by other scholars to be unremarkable in the history of Jewish and Christian relations. There is a paucity of evidence for Jewish persecution of "heretics" in general, or Christians in particular, in the period between 70 and 135. It is probable that the condemnation of Jamnia included many groups, of which the Christians were but one, and did not necessarily mean excommunication. That some of the later church fathers only recommended against synagogue attendance makes it improbable that ananti-Christian prayer was a common part of the synagogue liturgy. Jewish Christians continued to worship in synagogues for centuries.[31][32][33] Other actions, however, such as the rejection of the Septuagint translation, are attributed to the "School of Jamnia". Early church teachers and writers reacted with even stronger devotion, citing the Septuagint's antiquity and its use by the Evangelists and Apostles. Being the Old Testament quoted by the Canonical Gospels (according to Greek primacy) and the Greek Church Fathers, the Septuagint had an essentially official status in the early Christian world, [34] and is still considered to be the Old Testament text in the Greek Orthodox church, see also Development of the Old Testament canon.

[edit]Status

under Roman law

A coin issued by Nerva reads fisci Judaicicalumnia sublata, "abolition of malicious prosecution in connection with the Jewish tax,"[35]in reference to his reform of the harsh policies ofDomitian[36]

During the late 1st century, Rome considered Judaism a legitimate religion, with protections and exemptions under Roman law that had been negotiated over two centuries (see also Anti-Judaism in the pre-Christian Roman Empire). Observant Jews had special rights, including the privilege of

abstaining from the civic rites of ancient Roman religion. Failure to support public religion could otherwise be viewed as treasonous, since the Romans regarded their traditional religion as necessary for preserving the stability and prosperity of the state (see Religio and the state). Christianity at first had been regarded by the Romans as a sect of Judaism, but eventually as a distinct religion requiring separate legal provisions. The distinction between Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism was recognized by the emperor Nerva around the year 98 in a decree granting Christians an exemption from paying the Fiscus Iudaicus, the annual tax upon the Jews. From that time, Roman literary sources begin to distinguish between Christians and Jews. In his letters to Trajan, Pliny assumes that Christians are not Jews because they do not pay the tax. Since paying taxes had been one of the ways that Jews demonstrated their goodwill and loyalty toward the Empire, Christians were left to negotiate their own alternatives to participating in Imperial cult; their inability or refusal to do so resulted at times in martyrdom and persecution.[37][38][39] The Church Father Tertullian, for instance, had attempted to argue that Christianity was not inherently treasonous, and that Christians could offer their own form of prayer for the wellbeing of the emperor.[40] Christianity was formally recognized as a legitimate religion by the Edict of Milan in 313.

[edit]Marcion

of Sinope

Main article: Marcion of Sinope Marcion of Sinope, a bishop of Asia Minor who went to Rome and was later excommunicated for his views, was the first of record to propose a definitive, exclusive, unique canon of Christian scriptures, compiled sometime between 130 and 140 AD. In his book Origin of the New Testament[41] Adolf von Harnack argued that Marcion viewed the church at this time as largely an Old Testament church (one that "follows the Testament of the Creator-God") without a firmly established New Testament canon, and that the church gradually formulated its New Testament canon in response to the challenge posed by Marcion. Marcion endorsed a form of Christianity that excluded Jewish doctrines and the Hebrew Bible, with Paul as the only reliable source of authentic doctrine. Paul was, according to Marcion, the only apostle who had rightly understood the new message of salvation as delivered by Christ.[42] Marcion's canon and theology were rejected as heretical by Tertullian and Epiphanius and the growing movement of Proto-orthodox Christianity; however, he forced other Christians to consider which texts were canonical and why, see Development of the New Testament canon.

[edit]Timeline

of events

Various events in the 1st and 2nd centuries contributed to or marked the widening split between Christianity and Judaism. The following listing of these events is in rough historical order, as dates for some are disputed.

[edit]1st

century

See also: Christianity in the 1st century

[edit]New Testament
Actions of Jesus "cleansing the temple" and trial by Sanhedrin according to the Gospels (c. 30), both of which are accepted by the majority of modern scholars as significant actions by the Historical Jesus, but rejected by more radical critics; see also Rejection of Jesus and the Jesus Seminar's Acts of Jesus.[43]

Peter's speech at the Jerusalem Temple accusing the Israelites of killing Jesus according to Acts 3:124:4,[44] c 34, see also Responsibility for the death of Jesus and Josephus on Jesus.

Stephen before a Sanhedrin, his speech and stoning according to Acts 6:88:1,[45] c 35. Baptism of Cornelius the Centurion by Peter according to Acts 10,[46] traditionally considered the first gentile convert to Christianity[47]

martyrdom of James, son of Zebedee by Agrippa I according to Acts 12:12,[48] c 44 Paul's proselytization of gentiles as "Apostle to the Gentiles" (see also Proselytes and Godfearers and Paul of Tarsus and Judaism), 1st mission c 45

Incident at Antioch[49] where Paul accused Peter of Judaizing, but even Barnabas sided with Peter, c 49

Council of Jerusalem, c 50, which allowed gentile converts who did not also "convert to Judaism", or another interpretation: decreed proto-Noahide Law,[50] see also Circumcision controversy in early Christianity and Dual-covenant theology.

Paul, persecuted by the Jews of Jerusalem, on charges of Antinomianism, is saved by the Romans and sent to Rome.[51]

Woes of the Pharisees, Lament over Jerusalem,[52] Great Commission[53] from the Gospel of Matthew and Gospel of Luke, c 80, earlier if actually spoken by Jesus.

Epistle to the Hebrews and the New Covenant, which some date as pre-AD 70, given that the argument of the letter presupposes that temple worship and sacrifice were in operation at the time of the writing. If post AD 70, the writer would have used the destruction of the temple and the discontinuation of sacrifices as proof of the passing of the Old Covenant and the institution and superiority of the New, unless he was trying to make the document appear older. The term "New Covenant" also appears in the Pauline epistles, some copies of the Gospel of Luke, and the Septuagint.

John 6:606:66[54] records "many disciples" (who at the time were largely Jewish) leaving Jesus after he said that those who eat his body and drink his blood will remain in him and have eternal life,[55] for interpretations of this passage, see Transubstantiation, c 90 100,[56] earlier if actually spoken by Jesus

[edit]Other Sources

Census of Quirinius and creation of Iudaea Province, c. 6 John the Baptist is executed by Herod Antipas, c 30, recorded in Jewish Antiquities 18.5.2 Crisis under Caligula, 3741, proposed as the first open break between Rome and the Jews[57]

Claudius's expulsion of Jews from Rome,[58] 49 James the Just, considered the 1st Christian bishop of Jerusalem, is stoned at the instigation of the High Priest, c. 62, according to Jewish Antiquities 20.9.1.

Development of Christian scripture, starting with Paul's Epistle to the Galatians which many scholars date either just before or after the Jerusalem Council.

Destruction of the Second Temple and institution of the Fiscus Iudaicus, the Roman annual head tax on all Jews to pay for upkeep of the Jupiter Capitolinus temple in Rome instead of the Jerusalem Temple, Vespasian orders arrest of all descendants of King David according to Eusebius' Church History 3.12, 70

Hypothetical Council of Jamnia may have excluded the Christian scriptures and may have excluded Jewish Christians as Minuth, c 90

Domitian applied the Fiscus Iudaicus tax even to those who merely "lived like Jews",[59] c 90 Titus Flavius Clemens (consul) condemned to death by the Roman Senate for conversion to Judaism, 95

Nerva relaxed the Fiscus Iudaicus applying it only to those who professed to be practicing Judaism, c. 96

[edit]2nd

century

See also: Christianity in the 2nd century

The 3rd bishop of Antioch, Ignatius's Letter to the Magnesians 910 against Sabbath in Christianity [1] and Judaizers [2], c 100

crucifixion of the 2nd bishop of Jerusalem, Simeon of Jerusalem, c 107[60] Certain Gospels (not necessarily limited to those in the modern canon, see also JewishChristian Gospels) begin to be discussed by Jewish writers, who refer to them as Gilyonim. Rabbi Tarfon possibly advocated burning them, c 120, but this is a disputed reading.[61][62]

controversial claim of Simon bar Kokhba to be the Jewish Messiah, 132135, rejected by Rabbinic Judaism, final result of the revolt was the expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem which was rebuilt as Aelia Capitolina, end of Christian "bishops of the circumcision" according to Eusebius' Church History 4.5, Caesarea Maritima became the center of Palestinian Christianity (the Metropolitan bishops over the Jerusalem Suffragan bishops) while the Great Sanhedrin of Judaism had previously relocated to Yavne.

controversial claim of Marcion against the Jewish Bible, c 144, rejected by Proto-orthodox Christianity

Epistle to Diognetus polemic against the Jews, c 150 Martyrdom of Polycarp implicates the Jews, c 150 Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew [3], c 150 Octavius of Marcus Minucius Felix, for example [4]: "XXXVIII.To the Jews. Evil always, and recalcitrant ...", c 180

excommunication of Quartodecimanism by Pope Victor I whose decree was unpopular in the East and perhaps rescinded,[63] c 190

Tertullian's Adversus Judaeos/An Answer to the Jews [5], c 200

Origins of Rabbinic Judaism


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Rabbinic Judaism or Rabbinism has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century, after the codification of the Talmud. Rabbinic Judaism gained predominance within the Jewish diasporabetween the 2nd to 6th centuries, with the development of the oral law and the Talmud to control the interpretation of Jewish scripture (specifically the Masoretic Text) and to encourage the practice of Judaism in the absence of Temple sacrifice and other practices no longer possible, while waiting for the Third Temple.
Contents
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1 Historical background

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1.1 Hellenistic Judaism 1.2 Hillel and Shammai 1.3 Jewish messianism

2 Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism

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2.1 The Great Revolt and the destruction of the Temple 2.2 The Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism 2.3 The Yeshiva at Yavne

3 Development of Rabbinic Judaism

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3.1 Talmud 3.2 Mishnah 3.3 Gemara

4 Cross-fertilization with Christianity

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4.1 Split of Christianity from Judaism 4.2 Bar Kokhba revolt 4.3 Messianic Judaism

5 References

[edit]Historical

background
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Critical scholars reject the claim that sacred texts, including the Hebrew Bible were dictated by God; and reject the claim that they were divinely inspired. Instead, they see these texts as authored by humans and possibly meaningful in specific historical and cultural contexts. Many of these scholars accept the general principles of the documentary hypothesis and suggest that the Torah consists of a variety of inconsistent texts edited together in a way that calls attention to divergent accounts.[1][2][3]

A Torah scroll.

These scholars have various theories concerning the origins of the Israelites and Israelite religion. Most agree that the people who formed the nation of Israel during the First Temple era had origins in Mesopotamia and in Egypt, although some question whether any or all of their ancestors had been slaves in Egypt. Many suggest that during the First Temple period, the people of Israel were henotheists, that is, they believed that each nation had its own god, but that their god was superior to other gods.[4][5] Some suggest that strict monotheism developed during the Babylonian Exile, perhaps in reaction to Zoroastrian dualism.[6] In this view, it was only by the Hellenic period that most Jews came to believe that their god was the only god (and thus, the god of everyone), and that the record of his revelation (the Torah) contained within it universal truths. This attitude reflected a growing Gentile interest in Judaism (some Greeks and Romans considered the Jews a most "philosophical" people because of their belief in a god that cannot be represented visually), and growing Jewish interest in Greek philosophy, which sought to establish universal truths, thus leadingpotentiallyto the idea of monotheism, at least in the sense that "all gods are one". It was also at this time that the notion of a clearly bounded Jewish nation identical with the Jewish religion formed.[7] According to one scholar, the clash between the early Christians and Pharisees that ultimately led to the birth of the Christian religion and Rabbinic Judaism reflected the struggle by Jews to reconcile their claims to national particularism and theological universalism.[8]

According to Prof. Ze'ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University, monotheism, as a state religion, is probably "an innovation of the period of the Kingdom of Judea, following the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel". Herzog states that "The question about the date at which monotheism was adopted by the kingdoms of Israel and Judea arose with the discovery of inscriptions in ancient Hebrew that mention a pair of gods: Jehovah and his Asherah. At two sites, Kuntiliet Ajrud in the southwestern part of the Negev hill region, and at Khirbet el-Kom in the Judea piedmont, Hebrew inscriptions have been found that mention "Jehovah and his Asherah", "Jehovah Shomron and his Asherah, "Jehovah Teman and his Asherah". The authors were familiar with a pair of gods, Jehovah and his consort Asherah, and send blessings in the couple's name." [9]

[edit]Hellenistic

Judaism

Main article: Hellenistic Judaism In 332 BCE the Persians were defeated by Alexander the Great. After his demise, and the division of Alexander's empire among his generals, the Seleucid Kingdom was formed. During this time currents of Judaism were influenced by Hellenistic philosophy developed from the 3rd century BCE, notably the Jewish diaspora in Alexandria, culminating in the compilation of the Septuagint. An important advocate of the symbiosis of Jewish theology and Hellenistic thought is Philo. The Hellenistic culture had a profound impact on the customs and practices of Jews, both in Judea and in the Diaspora. The inroads into Judaism gave rise to Hellenistic Judaism in the Jewish diaspora which sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism. There was a general deterioration in relations between Hellenized Jews and other Jews, leading the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes to ban certain Jewish religious rites and traditions. Consequently, the orthodox Jews revolted against the Greek ruler leading to the formation of an independent Jewish kingdom, known as the Hasmonaean Dynasty, which lasted from 165 BCE to 63 BCE. The Hasmonean Dynasty eventually disintegrated in a civil war. The people, who did not want to continue to be governed by a Hellenized dynasty, appealed to Rome for intervention, leading to a total Roman conquest and annexation of the country, see Iudaea province. Nevertheless, the cultural issues remained unresolved. The main issue separating the Hellenistic and orthodox Jews was the application of biblical laws in a Hellenistic (melting pot) culture.[10] Hellenistic Judaism spread to Ptolemaic Egypt from the 3rd century BCE, and became a notable religio licita throughout the Roman Empire, until its decline in the 3rd century concurrent with the rise ofGnosticism and Early Christianity. The decline of Hellenistic Judaism is obscure. It may be that it was marginalized by, absorbed into or became Early Christianity (see the Gospel according to the Hebrews). The Acts of the Apostles at least report how Paul of Tarsus preferredly evangelized communities of proselytes and Godfearers, or circles sympathetic to Judaism: the Apostolic Decree allowing converts to forgo circumcision made Christianity a more attractive option for interested pagans than Rabbinic Judaism which instituted a more stringent circumcision procedure in response, see Brit milah. See also Circumcision controversy in early

Christianity. The attractiveness of Christianity may, however, have suffered a setback with its being explicitly outlawed in the 80s CE by Domitian as a "Jewish superstition", while Judaism retained its privileges as long as members paid the Fiscus Judaicus. However, from a historical perspective, Persecution of Christians seemed only to increase the number of Christian converts, leading eventually to the adoption of Christianity by the Roman emperor Constantine and the subsequent development of the Byzantine Empire. On the other hand, mainstream Judaism began to reject Hellenistic currents, outlawing use of the Septuagint, see also Council of Jamnia. Remaining currents of Hellenistic Judaism may have merged intoGnostic movements in the early centuries CE.

[edit]Hillel

and Shammai

Main article: Hillel and Shammai In the later part of the Second Temple period (2nd century BC), the Second Commonwealth of Judea (Hasmonean Kingdom) was established and religious matters were determined by a pair (zugot) which led the Sanhedrin. The Hasmonean Kingdom ended in 37 BC but it's believed that the "two-man rule of the Sanhedrin" lasted until the early part of the 1st century AD during the period of the Roman province of Iudaea. The last of the zugot, Hillel and Shammai, were the most well-known of the Sanhedrin leaders. Both were Pharisees, but the Sadducees were actually the dominant party while the Temple stood. Since the Sadducees did not survive the First JewishRoman War, their version of events has perished. In addition, Hillel's views have been seen as superior to Shammai's by Rabbinic Judaism. The development of an oral tradition of teaching called the "tanna" would be the means by which the faith of Judaism would sustain the fall of the Second Temple.

[edit]Jewish

messianism

Main article: Jewish messianism Jewish messianism has its root in the apocalyptic literature of the 2nd to 1st centuries BC, promising a future "anointed" leader or Messiah to resurrect the Israelite "Kingdom of God", in place of the foreign rulers of the time. This corresponded with the Maccabean Revolt directed against the Seleucids. Following the fall of the Hasmonean kingdom, it was directed against the Roman administration of Iudaea Province, which, according to Josephus, began with the formation of the Zealots during the Census of Quirinius of 6 AD, though full scale open revolt did not occur till the First JewishRoman War in 66 AD. Historian H. H. BenSasson has proposed that the "Crisis under Caligula" (3741) was the "first open break" between Rome and the Jews even though tension already existed during the census in 6 and underSejanus (before 31).[11] See also Anti-Judaism in the pre-Christian Roman Empire. Judaism at this time was divided into antagonistic factions. The main camps were the Pharisees, Saducees, and Zealots, but also included other less influential sects. This led to further unrest, and the 1st century BC and 1st century AD saw a number of charismatic religious leaders, contributing to what would become the Mishnah of Rabbinic Judaism, including Yochanan ben

Zakai and Hanina Ben Dosa. Theministry of Jesus, according to the account of the Gospels, falls into this pattern of sectarian preachers or teachers with devoted disciples (derived from the Greek word for students).

[edit]Emergence

of Rabbinic Judaism

At the time of the destruction of the Second Temple, Judaism was divided into antagonistic factions. The main camps were the Pharisees, Saducees, and Zealots, but also included other less influential sects. This led to further unrest, and the 1st century BC and 1st century AD saw a number of charismatic religious leaders, contributing to what would become the Mishnah of Rabbinic Judaism, including Yochanan ben Zakai and Hanina Ben Dosa.

[edit]The

Great Revolt and the destruction of the Temple

By 66 CE Jewish discontent with Rome had escalated. At first, the priests tried to suppress rebellion, even calling upon the Pharisees for help. After the Roman garrison failed to stop Hellenists from desecrating a synagogue in Caesarea, however, the high priest suspended payment of tribute, inaugurating the Great Jewish Revolt. After a Jewish revolt against Roman rule in 66 CE, the Romans all but destroyed Jerusalem. Following a second revolt, Jews were not allowed to enter the city of Jerusalem and most Jewish worship was forbidden by Rome. Following the destruction of Jerusalem and the expulsion of the Jews, Jewish worship stopped being centrally organized around the Temple, prayer took the place of sacrifice, and worship was rebuilt around rabbis who acted as teachers and leaders of individual communities (see Jewish diaspora). In 70 the Temple was destroyed. The destruction of the Second Temple was a profoundly traumatic experience for the Jews, who were now confronted with difficult and far-reaching questions:[12]

How to achieve atonement without the Temple? How to explain the disastrous outcome of the rebellion? How to live in the post-Temple, Romanized world? How to connect present and past traditions?

How people answered these questiones depended largely on their position prior to the revolt. But the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans not only put an end to the revolt, it marked the end of an era. Revolutionaries like the Zealots had been crushed by the Romans, and had little credibility (the last Zealots died at Masada in 73). The Sadducees, whose teachings were so closely connected to the Temple cult, disappeared. The Essenes also vanished, perhaps because their teachings so diverged from the issues of the times that the destruction of the Second Temple was of no consequence to them; precisely for this reason, they were of little consequence to the vast majority of Jews. Two organized groups remained: the Early Christians, and Pharisees. Some scholars, such as Daniel Boyarin and Paula Fredricksen, suggest that it was at this time, when Christians and Pharisees were competing for leadership of the Jewish people, that accounts of debates between Jesus and the apostles,

debates with Pharisees, and anti-Pharisaic passages, were written and incorporated into the New Testament.

[edit]The

Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism

Of all the major Second Temple sects, only the Pharisees remained (but see Karaite Judaism). Their vision of Jewish law as a means by which ordinary people could engage with the sacred in their daily lives, provided them with a position from which to respond to all four challenges, in a way meaningful to the vast majority of Jews. Following the destruction of the Temple, Rome governed Judea through a Procurator at Caesarea and a Jewish Patriarch. A former leading Pharisee, Yohanan ben Zakkai, was appointed the first Patriarch (the Hebrew word, Nasi, also means prince, or president), and he reestablished the Sanhedrin at Javneh under Pharisee control. Instead of giving tithes to the priests and sacrificing offerings at the Temple, the rabbis instructed Jews to give money to charities and study in local Synagogues, as well as to pay the Fiscus Iudaicus. In 132, the Emperor Hadrian threatened to rebuild Jerusalem as a pagan city dedicated to Jupiter, called Aelia Capitolina. Some of the leading sages of the Sanhedrin supported a rebellion (and, for a short time, an independent state) led by Simon bar Kozeba (also called Bar Kochba, or "son of a star"); some, such as Rabbi Akiba, believed Bar Kochbah to be messiah, or king. Up until this time, a number of Christians were still part of the Jewish community. However, they did not support or take part in the revolt. Whether because they had no wish to fight, or because they could not support a second messiah in addition to Jesus, or because of their harsh treatment by Bar Kochba during his brief reign, these Christians also left the Jewish community around this time. This revolt ended in 135 when Bar Kochba and his army were defeated. According to a midrash, in addition to Bar Kochba the Romans tortured and executed ten leading members of the Sanhedrin. This account also claims this was belated repayment for the guilt of the ten brothers who kidnapped Joseph. It is possible that this account represents a Pharisaic response to the Christian account of Jesus'crucifixion; in both accounts the Romans brutally punish rebels, who accept their torture as atonement for the crimes of others.[original research?] After the suppression of the revolt the vast majority of Jews were sent into exile; shortly thereafter (around 200), Judah haNasi edited together judgments and traditions into an authoritative code, the Mishnah. This marks the transformation of Pharisaic Judaism into Rabbinic Judaism. Although the Rabbis traced their origins to the Pharisees, Rabbinic Judaism nevertheless involved a radical repudiation of certain elements of Pharisaismelements that were basic to Second Temple Judaism. The Pharisees had been partisan. Members of different sects argued with one another over the correctness of their respective interpretations, see also Hillel and Shammai. After the destruction of the Second Temple, these sectarian divisions ended. The term "Pharisee" was no longer used, perhaps because it was a term more often used by non-Pharisees, but also because the term was explicitly sectarian. The Rabbis claimed

leadership over all Jews, and added to the Amidah the birkat haMinim (see Council of Jamnia), a prayer which in part exclaims, "Praised are You O Lord, who breaks enemies and defeats the arrogant," and which is understood as a rejection of sectarians and sectarianism. This shift by no means resolved conflicts over the interpretation of the Torah; rather, it relocated debates between sects to debates within Rabbinic Judaism.

[edit]The

Yeshiva at Yavne

The survival of Pharisaic or Rabbinic Judaism is attributed to Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai, the founder of the Yeshiva (religious school) in Yavne, see also Council of Jamnia. Yavneh replaced Jerusalem as the new seat of a reconstituted Sanhedrin, which reestablished its authority and became a means of reuniting Jewry.

[edit]Development

of Rabbinic Judaism

The destruction of the Second Temple brought about a dramatic change in Judaism. Rabbinic Judaism built upon Jewish tradition while adjusting to new realities. Temple ritual was replaced with prayer service in synagogues which built upon practices of Jews in the Diaspora dating back to the Babylonian exile. As the Rabbis were required to face two shattering new realitiesJudaism without a Temple (to serve as the center of teaching and study) and Judea without autonomythere was a flurry of legal discourse and the old system of oral scholarship could not be maintained. It is during this period that Rabbinic discourse began to be recorded in writing.[13] The theory that the destruction of the Temple and subsequent upheaval led to the committing of Oral Law into writing was first explained in the Epistle of Sherira Gaon and often repeated.[14] The oral law was subsequently codified in the Mishnah and Gemarah, and is interpreted in Rabbinic literature detailing subsequent rabbinic decisions and writings. Rabbinic Jewish literature is predicated on the belief that the Written Law cannot be properly understood without recourse to the Oral Law (the Mishnah). Much Rabbinic Jewish literature concerns specifying what behavior is sanctioned by the law; this body of interpretations is called halakha (the way).

[edit]Talmud

The first page of the Vilna Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berachot, folio 2a.

Main article: Talmud Originally, Jewish scholarship was oral. Rabbis expounded and debated the law (the written law expressed in the Hebrew Bible) and discussed the Tanakh without the benefit of written works (other than the Biblical books themselves), though some may have made private notes (megillot setarim), for example of court decisions. This situation changed drastically, however, mainly as the result of the destruction of the Jewish commonwealth in the year 70 CE and the consequent upheaval of Jewish social and legal norms. As the Rabbis were required to face a new realitymainly Judaism without a Temple (to serve as the center of teaching and study) and Judea without autonomythere was a flurry of legal discourse and the old system of oral scholarship could not be maintained. It is during this period that Rabbinic discourse began to be recorded in writing.[13][15] The earliest recorded oral law may have been of the midrashic form, in which halakhic discussion is structured as exegetical commentary on the Pentateuch. But an alternative form, organized by subject matter instead of by biblical verse, became dominant about the year 200 CE, when Rabbi Judah haNasi redacted the Mishnah(). The Oral Law was far from monolithic; rather, it varied among various schools. The most famous two were the School of Shammai and the School of Hillel. In general, all valid opinions, even the non-normative ones, were recorded in the Talmud. The Talmud has two components: the Mishnah (c. 200 CE), the first written compendium of Judaism's Oral Law; and the Gemara (c. 500 CE), a discussion of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Tanakh.

The rabbis of the Mishnah are known as Tannaim (sing. Tanna derrefer era arameG eht fo sibbar ehT .( to as Amoraim (sing. Amora .(

[edit]Mishnah
Main article: Mishnah The Mishnah does not claim to be the development of new laws, but merely the collection of existing oral laws, traditions and traditional wisdom. The rabbis who contributed to the Mishnah are known as the Tannaim, of whom approximately 120 are known. The period during which the Mishnah was assembled spanned about 130 years, and five generations. Most of the Mishnah is related without attribution (stam). This usually indicates that many sages taught so, or that Judah haNasi (often called "Rebbi") who redacted the Mishnah together with his academy/court ruled so. The halakhic ruling usually follows that view. Sometimes, however, it appears to be the opinion of a single sage, and the view of the sages collectively (Hebrew: , hachamim) is given separately. The Talmud records a tradition that unattributed statements of the law represent the views of Rabbi Meir (Sanhedrin 86a), which supports the theory (recorded by Rav Sherira Gaon in his famous Iggeret) that he was the author of an earlier collection. For this reason, the few passages that actually say "this is the view of Rabbi Meir" represent cases where the author intended to present Rabbi Meir's view as a "minority opinion" not representing the accepted law. Rebbi is credited with publishing the Mishnah, though there have been a few edits since his time (for example, those passages that cite him or his grandson, Rabbi Yehuda Nesi'ah; in addition, the Mishnah at the end of Tractate Sotah refers to the period after Rebbi's death, which could not have been written by Rebbi himself). According to the Epistle of Sherira Gaon, after the tremendous upheaval caused by the destruction of the Temple and the Bar Kochba revolt, the Oral Torah was in danger of being forgotten. It was for this reason that Rebbi chose to redact the Mishnah. One must also note that in addition to redacting the Mishnah, Rebbi and his court also ruled on which opinions should be followed, though the rulings do not always appear in the text. As he went through the tractates, the Mishnah was set forth, but throughout his life some parts were updated as new information came to light. Because of the proliferation of earlier versions, it was deemed too hard to retract anything already released, and therefore a second version of certain laws were released. The Talmud refers to these differing versions as Mishnah Rishonah ("First Mishnah") and Mishnah Acharonah ("Last Mishnah"). David Zvi Hoffman suggests that Mishnah Rishonah actually refers to texts from earlier Sages upon which Rebbi based his Mishnah. One theory is that the present Mishnah was based on an earlier collection by Rabbi Meir. There are also references to the "Mishnah of Rabbi Akiva", though this may simply mean his teachings in general. [16]It is possible that Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Meir established the divisions and order of subjects in the Mishnah, but this would make them the authors of a school curriculum rather than of a book.

Authorities are divided on whether Rebbi recorded the Mishnah in writing or established it as an oral text for memorisation. The most important early account of its composition, the Epistle of Sherira Gaon, is ambiguous on the point, though the "Spanish" recension leans to the theory that the Mishnah was written.

[edit]Gemara
Main article: Gemara The Gemara is the part of the Talmud that contains rabbinical commentaries and analysis of the Mishnah. In the three centuries following the redaction of the Mishnah by Rabbi Judah the Prince (c. 200 CE), rabbis throughout Palestine and Babylonia analyzed, debated and discussed that work. These discussions form the Gemara (). Gemara means "completion" (from the Hebrew gamar : "to complete") or "learning" ( from the Aramaic: "to study"). The Gemara mainly focuses on elucidating and elaborating the opinions of the Tannaim. The rabbis of the Gemara are known as Amoraim (sing. Amora .( Much of the Gemara consists of legal analysis. The starting point for the analysis is usually a legal statement found in a Mishnah. The statement is then analyzed and compared with other statements used in different approaches to Biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism (orsimplerinterpretation of text in Torah study) exchanges between two (frequently anonymous and sometimes metaphorical) disputants, termed the makshan (questioner) and tartzan (answerer). Another important function of Gemara is to identify the correct Biblical basis for a given law presented in the Mishnah and the logical process connecting one with the other: this activity was known as talmud long before the existence of the "Talmud" as a text.[17]

[edit]Cross-fertilization

with Christianity

Further information: Origins of Christianity Alan Segal has written that "one speak of a "twin birth" of two new Judaisms, both markedly different from the religious systems that preceded them. Not only were rabbinic Judaism and Christianity religious twins, but, like Jacob and Esau, the twin sons of Isaac and Rebecca, they fought in the womb, setting the stage for life after the womb."[18] For Martin Buber, Judaism and Christianity were variations on the same theme of messianism. Buber made this theme the basis of a famous definition of the tension between Judaism and Christianity: Pre-messianically, our destinies are divided. Now to the Christian, the Jew is the incomprehensibly obdurate man who declines to see what has happened; and to the Jew, the Christian is the incomprehensibly daring man who affirms in an unredeemed world that its redemption has been accomplished. This is a gulf which no human power can bridge.[19] Daniel Boyarin describes the interchange innovative ideas between the two religions as traveling "like a wave ... almost in a fashion of a stone thrown into a pond".

[edit]Split

of Christianity from Judaism

Main article: Split of early Christianity and Judaism

Jesus vertreibt die Hndler aus dem Tempel , a depiction of Jesus' Cleansing of the Jewish Temple, by Giovanni Paolo Pannini

The split between Pharisaic/Rabbinic Judaism (the period of the Tannaim) and Early Christianity is commonly attributed to: the rejection of Jesus in his hometown c.30; the Council of Jerusalem c. 50; the destruction of the Second Temple in 70; the postulated Council of Jamnia c.90; and/or the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132135. However, rather than a sudden split, there was a slowly growing chasm between Christians and Jews in the 1st centuries. Even though it is commonly thought that Paul established a Gentile church, it took centuries for a complete break to manifest. However, certain events are perceived as pivotal in the growing rift between Christianity and Judaism. Robert Goldenberg asserts that it is increasingly accepted among scholars that "at the end of the 1st century CE there were not yet two separate religions called "Judaism" and "Christianity".[20] According to historians of Hellenistic Judaism, Jesus' failure to establish the Kingdom of God, and his death at the hands of the Romans, invalidated any messianic claims (see for comparison: prophet and false prophet).[21] According to many historians, most of Jesus' teachings were intelligible and acceptable in terms of Second Temple Judaism; what set Christians apart from Jews was their faith in Christ as the resurrected messiah.[22] The belief in a resurrected Messiah is unacceptable to Jews today and to Rabbinic Judaism, and Jewish authorities have long used this fact to explain the break between Judaism and Christianity. Recent work by historians paints a more complex portrait of late 2nd Temple Judaism and early Christianity. Some historians have suggested that, before his death, Jesus forged among his believers such certainty that the Kingdom of God and the resurrection of the dead was at hand, that with few exceptions (John 20: 2429) when they saw him shortly after his execution, they had no doubt that he had been resurrected, and that the restoration of the Kingdom and resurrection of the dead was at hand. These specific beliefs were compatible with Second Temple Judaism.[23] In the following years the restoration of the Kingdom as Jews expected it failed to occur. Some Christians believed instead that Christ, rather than being the Jewish messiah, was God made flesh, who died for the sins of humanity, and that faith in Jesus Christ offered everlasting life (see Christology).[24]

The foundation for this new interpretation of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection are found in the epistles of Paul and in the book of Acts. Most Jews[citation needed] view Paul as the founder of Christianity, who is responsible for the break with Judaism.

[edit]Bar

Kokhba revolt

Main article: Bar Kokhba revolt The Bar Kokhba revolt was the third major rebellion by the Jews of Iudaea Province against the Roman Empire and the last of the Jewish-Roman Wars. Simon bar Kokhba, the commander of the revolt, was acclaimed as a Messiah, a heroic figure who could restore Israel. The revolt established an independent state of Israel over parts of Judea for over two years, but a Roman army of 12 legions with auxiliaries finally crushed it. The Romans then barred Jews from Jerusalem, except to attend Tisha B'Av. Jewish Christians hailed Jesus as the Messiah and did not support Bar Kokhba. The war and its aftermath helped differentiate Christianity as a religion distinct from Judaism, see also List of events in early Christianity.

[edit]Messianic

Judaism

Main article: Messianic Judaism Adherents to Messianic Judaism are described as Messianic Jews, Messianic Believers, or Messianics for short.[25] Although terms used to identify adherents of Messianic Judaism are frequently disputed, the terms used generally describe someone who holds to the belief that Jesus is the Messiah and who embraces "the covenantal responsibility of Jewish life and identity rooted in Torah, expressed in tradition, and renewed and applied in the context of the New Covenant".[26] "Messianic Judaism" is a relatively new term, coined as recently as 1895 to help separate the practices of its followers from those of commonChristianity as a whole, and in order to more closely align its faith with that of biblical and historical Judaism that was historical 1st century Christianity.[27] See also: Rabbinic Judaism

Early centers of Christianity


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spread of Christianity to AD 325 Spread of Christianity to AD 600 *The map does not accurately reflect the conversion of the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia to Christianity in 301 AD or Christianity in Roman Britain c. 300.

Main article: Early Christianity See also: Early history of Christianity Early Christianity is generally considered to span from its start until 325. It spread from Roman Judaea in Western Asia throughout the Roman Empire and beyond (i.e. East Africa and South Asia), reaching as far as India. Originally, this progression was closely connected to already established centers of Hebrew faith, in the Holy Land and the Jewish diaspora. The first followers of Christianity were Jews or biblical proselytes, commonly referred to as Jewish Christians and Godfearers. The Apostolic Sees claim to have been founded by one or more of the Apostles of Jesus, who are said to have dispersed from Jerusalem sometime after the Crucifixion of Jesus, c. 2636, perhaps following the Great Commission. Early Christians gathered in small private homes,[1] known as house churches, but a city's whole Christian community would also be called a church the Greek noun (or Ecclesia) literally means assembly, gathering, or congregation[2] but is translated as church in most English translations of the New Testament. Many of these Early Christians were merchants and others who had practical reasons for traveling to northern Africa, Asia Minor, Arabia, Greece, and other places.[3][4][5] Over 40 such communities were established by the year 100,[4][5] many in Anatolia, also known as Asia Minor, such as the Seven churches of Asia. By the end of the first century, Christianity had already spread to Rome,India, and major cities in Armenia, Greece and Syria, serving as foundations for the expansive spread of Christianity, eventually throughout the world.

Contents
[hide]

1 Eastern Roman Empire

o o o o o o o o o

1.1 Jerusalem 1.2 Antioch 1.3 Alexandria 1.4 Anatolia 1.5 Caesarea 1.6 Damascus 1.7 Cyprus 1.8 Greece 1.9 Cyrene

2 Western Roman Empire

o o

2.1 Rome 2.2 Other early centers in Italy

o o o o o o

2.2.1 Syracuse and Calabria 2.2.2 Aquileia 2.2.3 Milan

2.3 Carthage 2.4 Malta 2.5 Salona 2.6 Seville 2.7 Southern Gaul 2.8 Roman Britain

3 Outside the Roman Empire

o o o o o o o o

3.1 Armenia 3.2 Georgia 3.3 Mesopotamia and the Parthian Empire 3.4 Persia and Central Asia 3.5 Arabian Peninsula 3.6 Ethiopia 3.7 Nubia 3.8 India

4 See also 5 References

6 Bibliography 7 External links

[edit]Eastern

Roman Empire

See also: Eastern Christianity

[edit]Jerusalem
See also: Jerusalem in Christianity, Apostolic Age, and Bishop of Jerusalem

The Cenacle on Mount Zion, claimed to be the location of the Last Supper andPentecost. Bargil Pixner[6] claims the originalChurch of the Apostles is located under the current structure.

A diagram of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre based on a German documentary. The church is claimed to be at the site of Calvary and the Tomb of Jesus.

Jesus and his apostles, disciples, and early followers, being Jewish or Jewish proselytes, traveled from Galilee to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, c. 33, at which time the city was under Roman occupation as part of Iudaea province. After an incident in the Temple, he

was crucified in Jerusalem at a site called Golgotha and buried nearby. According to Christian belief, on the third day he was resurrected, and after appearing to his disciples and others ascended to heaven. Jerusalem was the first center of the church, according to the Book of Acts, and according to the Catholic Encyclopedia: the location of "the first Christian church".[7]The apostles lived and taught there for some time after Pentecost.[8] Jesus' brother James was a leader in the church, and his other kinsman likely held leadership positions in the surrounding area after the destruction of the city until its rebuilding as Aelia Capitolina, c. 130, when all Jews were banished from the city.[8] In about 50, Barnabas and Paul went to Jerusalem to meet with the "pillars of the church":[9] James, Peter, and John. Later called the Council of Jerusalem, this meeting, among other things, confirmed the legitimacy of the mission of Barnabas and Paul to the gentiles, and the gentile converts' freedom from most Mosaic law, especially circumcision, which was repulsive to the Hellenic mind.[10] Thus, the Apostolic Decree (Acts 15:1921) may be a major act of differentiation of the Church from its Jewish roots[11] (the first major act being the Rejection of Jesus as Messiah[12]), though the decree may simply parallel Jewish Noahide Law and thus be a commonality rather than a differential. In roughly the same time period Rabbinic Judaism made their circumcision requirement of Jewish boys even stricter.[13] When Peter left Jerusalem after Herod Agrippa I tried to kill him, James appears as the principal authority.[14] Clement of Alexandria (c. 150215) called him Bishop of Jerusalem.[14] A secondcentury church historian, Hegesippus, wrote that the Sanhedrin martyred him in 62.[14] In 66, the Jews revolted against Rome.[8] Rome besieged Jerusalem for four years, and the city fell in 70.[8] The city was destroyed, including the Temple, and the population was mostly killed or removed.[8] Though, according to Epiphanius of Salamis,[15] the Cenacle survived at least to Hadrian's visit in 130. A scattered population survived.[8] Traditionally it is believed the Jerusalem Christians waited out the JewishRoman wars in Pella in the Decapolis. The Sanhedrin relocated to Jamnia.[16] Prophecies of the Second Temple's destruction are found in the synoptics.[17] In the 2nd century, Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as a pagan city called Aelia Capitolina,[18] erecting statues of Jupiter and himself on the site of the former Jewish Temple, the Temple Mount. Bar Cochba led an unsuccessful revolt as a Messiah, but Christians refused to acknowledge him as such. When Bar Cochba was defeated, Hadrian barred Jews from the city, except for the day of Tisha B'Av, thus the subsequent Jerusalem bishops were gentiles ("uncircumcised") for the first time.[19] The general significance of Jerusalem to Christians entered a period of decline during the Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire, but resumed again with thepilgrimage of Helena (the mother of Constantine the Great) to the Holy Land c. 32628. According to the church historian Socrates of Constantinople,[20] Helena (with the assistance of Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem) claimed to have found the cross of Christ, after removing a Temple to Venus (attributed to Hadrian) that had been built over the site. (For that reason she is seen as the Patron Saint of Archaeologists.) Jerusalem had received special recognition in Canon VII of Nicaea in 325.[21] The traditional founding date for the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre (which guards the Christian Holy places in the Holy Land) is 313 which corresponds with the

date of the Edict of Milan which legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire. Jerusalem was later named as one of the Pentarchy, but this was never accepted by the church of Rome.[22][23] See also EastWest Schism#Prospects for reconciliation.

[edit]Antioch

The Church of St Peter near Antakya, Turkey, said to be the spot where Saint Peter first preached the Gospel inRoman Antioch.

See also: School of Antioch, Bishop of Antioch, and Antiochene Rite Antioch, a major center of Hellenistic Greece, and the third-most important city of the Roman Empire,[24] then part of Syria province, today a ruin near Antakya, Turkey, was where Christians were first so-called[25] and also the location of the Incident at Antioch. It was the site of an early church, traditionally said to be founded by Peter who is considered the first bishop. The Gospel of Matthew and the Apostolic Constitutions may have been written there. The church father Ignatius of Antioch was its third bishop. The School of Antioch, founded in 270, was one of two major centers of early church learning. The Curetonian Gospels and the Syriac Sinaiticus are two early (pre-Peshitta) New Testament text types associated with Syriac Christianity. It was one of the three whose bishops were recognized at the First Council of Nicaea(325) as exercising jurisdiction over the adjoining territories.[26]

[edit]Alexandria
See also: Alexandrian school, Catechetical School of Alexandria, Bishop of Alexandria, Egypt (Roman province)#Christian Egypt, and Alexandrian Rite Alexandria, in the Nile delta, was established by Alexander the Great. Its famous libraries were a center of Hellenistic learning. The Septuagint translation of the Old Testament began there and the Alexandrian text-type is recognized by scholars as one of the earliest New Testament types. It had a significant Jewish population, of which Philo of Alexandria is probably its most known author.[27] It produced superior scripture and notable church fathers, such as Clement, Origen, and Athanasius,[28]also noteworthy were the nearby Desert Fathers. By the end of the era, Alexandria, Rome, and Antioch were accorded authority over nearby metropolitans. The Council of Nicaea in canon VI affirmed Alexandria's traditional authority over Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis (North Africa) (the Diocese of Egypt) and probably granted Alexandria the right to declare a universal date for the observance of Easter,[29] see also Easter controversy. Some

postulate, however, that Alexandria was not a center of Christianity, but of Christian-based Gnostic sects. see also Gnosticism.

[edit]Anatolia

Map of Western Anatolia showing the "Seven Churches of Asia" and the Greek island of Patmos.

The tomb of John the Apostle atEphesus.

See also: History of Anatolia and Christianity in Turkey The tradition of John the Apostle was strong in Anatolia (the near-east, part of modern Turkey, the western part was called the Roman province of Asia). The gospel of John was likely written in Ephesus.[citation
needed]

According to the New Testament, the Apostle Paul was from Tarsus (in south-central Anatolia)

and his missionary journeys were primarily in Anatolia. The Book of Revelation, believed to be authored by John of Patmos (a Greek island about 30 miles off the Anatolian coast), mentionsSeven churches of Asia. The First Epistle of Peter (1:12) is addressed to Anatolian regions. On the southeast shore of the Black Sea, Pontus was a Greek colonymentioned three times in the New Testament, inhabitants of Pontus were some of the very first converts to Christianity. Pliny, governor in 110, in his letters, addressed Christians in Pontus. Of the extant letters of Ignatius of Antioch considered authentic, five of seven are to

Anatolian cities, the sixth is to Polycarp. Smyrna was home to Polycarp, the bishop who reportedly knew the Apostle John personally, and probably also to his student Irenaeus. Papias of Hierapolis is also believed to have been a student of John the Apostle. In the 2nd century, Anatolia was home to Quartodecimanism, Montanism, Marcion of Sinope, and Melito of Sardis who recorded an earlyChristian Biblical canon. After the Crisis of the Third Century, Nicomedia became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in 286. The Synod of Ancyra was held in 314. In 325 the emperor Constantine convoked the first Christian ecumenical council in Nicaea and in 330 moved the capital of the reunified empire to Byzantium (also an early Christian center and just across the Bosporus from Anatolia, later called Constantinople), referred to as the Byzantine Empire, which lasted till 1453.[30] The First seven Ecumenical Councils were held either in Western Anatolia or Constantinople.

[edit]Caesarea

Remains of the ancient Roman aqueduct in Caesarea Maritima.

See also: Caesarea Maritima#Christian hub and Bishop of Caesarea Caesarea, on the seacoast just northwest of Jerusalem, at first Caesarea Maritima, then after 133 Caesarea Palaestina, was built by Herod the Great, c. 2513 BC, and was the capital of Iudaea province (6132) and later Palaestina Prima. It was there that Peter baptized the centurion Cornelius, considered the first gentile convert. Paul sought refuge there, once staying at the house of Philip the Evangelist, and later being imprisoned there for two years (estimated to be 5759). The Apostolic Constitutions (7.46) state that the first Bishop of Caesarea was Zacchaeus the Publican but the Catholic Encyclopedia claims that: "...there is no record of any bishops of Caesarea until the second century. At the end of this century a council was held there to regulate the celebration of Easter."[31] According to another Catholic Encyclopedia article,[32] after Hadrian's siege of Jerusalem (c.133), Caesarea became the metropolitan see with the bishop of Jerusalem as one of its "suffragans"(subordinates). Origen (d.254) compiled his Hexapla there and it held a famous library and theological school, St. Pamphilus (d.309) was a noted scholar-priest. St. Gregory the Wonder-Worker (d.270), St. Basil the Great (d.379), and St. Jerome (d.420) visited and studied at the library which was later destroyed, probably by thePersians in 614 or the Saracens around 637.[33] The first major church historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, was a bishop, c. 314339. F. J. A. Hort and Adolf von Harnackhave argued that the Nicene Creed originated in Caesarea. The Caesarean text-type is recognized by many textual scholars as one of the earliest New Testament types.

[edit]Damascus

The Chapel of Saint Paul, said to beBab Kisan where St. Paul escaped fromOld Damascus

See also: Syriac Orthodox Church and Christianity in Syria Damascus is the capital of Syria and claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. According to the New Testament, the Apostle Paul was converted on the Road to Damascus. In the three accounts (Acts 9:120, 22:122, 26:124), he is described as being led by those he was traveling with, blinded by the light, to Damascus where his sight was restored by a disciple called Ananias (who, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, is thought to have been the first Bishop of Damascus) then he was baptized.

[edit]Cyprus
See also: Church of Cyprus

St Paul's Pillar in Paphos

Paphos was the capital of the island of Cyprus during the Roman years and seat of a Roman commander. In 45 AD, the apostles Paul and Barnabas (according to the Catholic Encyclopedia "a native of the island") came to Cyprus and reached Paphos preaching the Word of Christ, see also Acts 13:413. The apostles were persecuted by the Romans but eventually succeeded to convince the Roman commander Sergius Paulus into renouncing his old religion in favour of Christianity. 5 years later, Barnabas returned to the Cypriot town of Salamis, where he became bishop and oversaw the spread of Christianity to the island.

[edit]Greece
See also: Church of Greece

Thessaloniki, the major northern Greek city where it is believed Christianity was founded by Paul, thus an Apostolic See, and the surrounding regions of Macedonia,Western and Eastern Thrace, and Epirus, which also extend into the neighboring Balkan states of Albania and Bulgaria, were early centers of Christianity. Of note arePaul's Epistles to the Thessalonians and to Philippi, which is often considered the first contact of Christianity with Europe.[34] The Apostolic Father Polycarp wrote a letter to the Philippians, c.125. Nicopolis was a city in the Roman province of Epirus Vetus, today a ruin on the northern part of the western Greek coast. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: "St. Paul intended going there (Titus 3:12) and it is possible that even then it numbered some Christians among its population; Origen (c.185254) sojourned there for a while (Eusebius, Church History VI.16)." Ancient Corinth, today a ruin near modern Corinth in southern Greece, was an early center of Christianity. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: "St. Paul preached successfully at Corinth, where he lived in the house of Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:1), where Silas and Timothy soon joined him. After his departure he was replaced by Apollo, who had been sent from Ephesus by Priscilla. The Apostle visited Corinth at least once more. He wrote to the Corinthians in 57 from Ephesus, and then from Macedonia in the same year, or in 58. The famous letter of St. Clement of Rome to the Corinthian church (about 96) exhibits the earliest evidence concerning the ecclesiastical primacy of the Roman Church. Besides St. Apollo, Lequien (II, 155) mentions forty-three bishops: among them, St. Sosthenes (?), the disciple of St. Paul, St. Dionysius; Paul, brother of St. Peter ..." Athens, the capital and largest city in Greece, was visited by Paul. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: Paul "came to Athens from Bera of Macedonia, coming probably by water and landing in the Peirevs, the harbour of Athens. This was about the year 53. Having arrived at Athens, he at once sent for Silas and Timotheos who had remained behind in Bera. While awaiting the coming of these he tarried in Athens, viewing the idolatrous city, and frequenting the synagogue; for there were already Jews in Athens. ... It seems that a Christian community was rapidly formed, although for a considerable time it did not possess a numerous membership. The commoner tradition names the Areopagite as the first head and bishop of the Christian Athenians. Another tradition, however, gives this honour to Hierotheos the Thesmothete. The successors of the first bishop were not all Athenians by lineage. They are catalogued as Narkissos, Publius, and Quadratus. Narkissos is stated to have come from Palestine, and Publius from Malta. In some lists Narkissos is omitted. Quadratus is revered for having contributed to early Christian literature by writing an apology, which he addressed to the Emperor Hadrian. This was on the occasion of Hadrian's visit to Athens. Another Athenian who defended Christianity in writing at a somewhat later time was Aristeides. His apology was directed to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Athenagoras also wrote an apology. In the second century there must have been a considerable community of Christians in Athens, for Hygeinos, Bishop of Rome, is said to have written a letter to the community in the year 139." Gortyn on Crete, was allied with Rome and was thus made capital of Roman Creta et Cyrenaica. St. Titus is believed to have been the first bishop. The city was sacked by the pirate Abu Hafs in 828.

[edit]Cyrene
See also: Christianity in Libya Cyrene and the surrounding region of Cyrenaica or the North African "Pentapolis", south of the Mediterranean from Greece, the northeastern part of modern Libya, was a Greek colony in North Africa later converted to a Roman colony. In addition to Greeks and Romans, there was also a significant Jewish population, at least up to the Kitos War (115117). According to Mark 15:21, Simon of Cyrene carried Jesus' cross. Cyrenians are also mentioned in Acts 2:10, 6:9, 11:20, 13:1. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: "Lequien mentions six bishops of Cyrene, and according to Byzantine legend the first was St. Lucius (Acts 13:1); St. Theodorus suffered martyrdom under Diocletian;" (284305).

[edit]Western

Roman Empire

See also: Western Christianity

[edit]Rome

St. Peter's Basilica, believed to be theburial site of St. Peter, seen from theRiver Tiber.

See also: Bishop of Rome Exactly when Christians first appeared in Rome is difficult to determine, see Godfearers and Proselytes for the historical background. The Acts of the Apostles claims that the Jewish Christian couple Priscilla and Aquila had recently come from Rome to Corinth when, in about the year 50, Paul reached the latter city,[35] indicating that belief in Jesus in Rome had preceded Paul. Irenaeus of Lyons believed in the second century that Peter and Paul had been the founders of the Church in Rome and had appointed Linus as succeeding bishop.[36] While the church in Rome was already flourishing when Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans to them from Corinth, about 57,[37] he greets some fifty people in Rome by name,[38] but not Peter whom he knew. There is also no mention of Peter in Rome later during Paul's two year stay there in Acts 28, about 6062. Church historians consistently consider Peter and Paul to have been martyred under the reign of Nero,[39][40][41] in 64 such as after the Great Fire of Rome which, according to Tacitus, Nero blamed on the Christians.[42][43] Paul's Epistle to the Romans 16 (c 58) attests to a large Christian community already there[43] but does not mention Peter. The tradition that the See of Rome was founded as an organized Christian community by Peter and Paul and that its episcopate owes to them its origin can be traced as far back as second-

centuryIrenaeus.[44] Irenaeus does not say that either Peter or Paul was "bishop" of the Church in Rome, and some historians have questioned whether Peter spent much time in Rome before his martyrdom. [45] Oscar Cullmann sharply rejected the claim that Peter began the papal succession,[46] and concludes that while Peter was the original head of the apostles, Peter was not the founder of any visible church succession.[46][47] The original seat of Roman imperial power soon became a center of church authority, grew in power decade by decade, and was recognized during the period of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, when the seat of government had been transferred to Constantinople, as the "head" of the church.[48] Rome and Alexandria, which by tradition held authority over sees outside their own province,[49] were not yet referred to as patriarchates.[50] The earliest Bishops of Rome were all Greek-speaking, the most notable of them being: Pope Clement I (c. 8897), author of an Epistle to the Church in Corinth; Pope Telesphorus (c. 126136), probably the only martyr among them; Pope Pius I (c. 141154), said by the Muratorian fragment to have been the brother of the author of the Shepherd of Hermas; and Pope Anicetus (c. 155160), who received SaintPolycarp and discussed with him the dating of Easter.[43] Pope Victor I (189198) was the first ecclesiastical writer known to have written in Latin; however, his only extant works are his encyclicals, which would naturally have been issued in both Latin and Greek. [51] Greek New Testament texts were translated into Latin early on, well before Jerome, and are classified as the Vetus Latina and Western text-type. During the 2nd century, Christians and semi-Christians of diverse views congregated in Rome, notably Marcion and Valentinius, and in the following century there were schisms connected with Hippolytus of Rome and Novatian.[43] The Roman church survived various persecutions, and many clergy were martyred. In the "Massacre of 258", under Valerian, the emperor killed a great many Christian clergy, including Pope Sixtus II andCyprian of Carthage and perhaps also Antipope Novatian.[52] Mass persecutions, of which that which broke out under Diocletian in 303 was particularly severe, finally ended in Rome, and the West in general, with the accession of Maxentius in 306.

[edit]Other

early centers in Italy

[edit]Syracuse and Calabria


See also: Bishop of Syracuse and Bishop of Reggio Calabria Syracuse was founded by Greek colonists in 734 or 733 BC, part of Magna Graecia. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: "Syracuse claims to be the second Church founded by St. Peter, after that ofAntioch. It also claims that St. Paul preached there. ... In the times of St. Cyprian (the middle of the third century), Christianity certainly flourished at Syracuse, and the catacombs clearly show that this was the

case in the second century." Across the Strait of Messina, Calabria on the mainland was also an early center of Christianity.

[edit]Aquileia
See also: Bishop of Aquileia The ancient Roman city of Aquileia at the head of the Adriatic Sea, today one of the main archaeological sites of Northern Italy, was an early center of Christianity said to be founded by Mark before his mission to Alexandria. Hermagoras of Aquileia is believed to be its first bishop. The Aquileian Rite is associated with Aquileia.

[edit]Milan
See also: Bishop of Milan It is believed that the Church of Milan in northwest Italy was founded by the apostle Barnabas in the 1st century. Gervasius and Protasius and others were martyred there. It has long maintained its own rite known as the Ambrosian Rite attributed to Ambrose (born c. 330) who was bishop in 374397 and one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. Duchesne argues that the Gallican Rite originated in Milan.

[edit]Carthage
See also: Bishop of Carthage Carthage, in the Roman province of Africa, south of the Mediterranean from Rome, gave the early church the Latin fathers Tertullian[53] (c. 120c. 220) and Cyprian[54] (d. 258). Carthage fell to Islam in 698.

[edit]Malta
See also: Christianity in Malta According to Acts, Paul was shipwrecked and ministered on an island which some scholars have identified as Malta (an island just south of Sicily) for three months during which time he is said to have been bitten by a poisonous viper and survived (Acts 27:3942; Acts 28:111), an event usually dated c. AD 60. Paul had been allowed passage from Caesarea Maritima to Rome by Porcius Festus, procuratorof Iudaea province, to stand trial before the Emperor. Many traditions are associated with this episode, and catacombs in Rabat testify to an Early Christian community on the islands. According to tradition,Publius, the Roman Governor of Malta at the time of Saint Paul's shipwreck, became the first Bishop of Malta following his conversion to Christianity. After ruling the Maltese Church for thirty-one years, Publius was transferred to the See of Athens in 90 AD, where he was martyred in 125 AD. There is scant information about the continuity of Christianity in Malta in subsequent years, although tradition has it that there was a continuous line of bishops from the days of St. Paul to the time of Emperor Constantine.

[edit]Salona
See also: Religion in Croatia

Salona, the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, was an early center of Christianity and today is a ruin in modern Croatia. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia it was where: "...Titus the pupil of St. Paul preached, where the followers of Jesus Christ first shed their blood as martyrs, and where beautiful examples of basilicas and other early Christian sculpture have been discovered." According to the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Dalmatia: "Salona became the centre from which Christianity spread. In Pannonia St. Andronicus founded the See ofSyrmium (Mitrovica) and later those of Siscia and Mursia. The cruel persecution under Diocletian, who was a Dalmatian by birth, left numerous traces in Old Dalmatia and Pannonia. St. Quirinus, Bishop of Siscia, died a martyr A.D. 303. St. Jerome was born in Strido, a city on the border of Pannonia and Dalmatia."

[edit]Seville
See also: Bishop of Seville Seville was the capital of Hispania Baetica or the Roman province of southern Spain. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: "...the origin of the diocese goes back to Apostolic times, or at least to the first century of our era. St. Gerontius, Bishop of Italica (about four miles from Hispalis or Seville), preached in Baetica in Apostolic times, and without doubt must have left a pastor of its own to Seville. It is certain that in 303, when Sts. Justa and Rufina, the potters, suffered martyrdom for refusing to adore the idol Salambo, there was a Bishop of Seville, Sabinus, who assisted at the Council of Illiberis (287). Before that time Marcellus had been bishop, as appears from a catalogue of the ancient prelates of Seville preserved in the "Codex Emilianensis", a manuscript of the year 1000, now in the Escorial. When Constantine brought peace to the Church [313] Evodius was Bishop of Seville; he set himself to rebuild the ruined churches, among them he appears to have built the church of San Vicente, perhaps the first cathedral of Seville." Early Christianity also spread from the Iberian peninsula south across the Strait of Gibraltar into Roman Mauretania Tingitana, of note is Marcellus of Tangier who was martyred in 298.

[edit]Southern

Gaul

Amphithtre des Trois-Gaules, in Lyon. The pole in the arena is a memorial to the people killed during thepersecution.

See also: Christianity in Gaul The Mediterranean coast of France and the Rhone valley, then part of Roman Gallia Narbonensis, were early centers of Christianity. Major cities are Arles, Avignon,Vienne, Lyon, and Marseille (the oldest city in France). The Persecution in Lyon occurred in 177. The Apostolic

Father Irenaeus from Smyrna of Anatolia was Bishop of Lyon near the end of the 2nd century and he claimed Saint Pothinus was his predecessor. The Council of Arles in 314 is considered a forerunner of the Ecumenical councils. The Ephesine theory attributes the Gallican Rite to Lyon.

[edit]Roman

Britain

See also: History of the Church of England#Roman and Sub-Roman Christianity in the British Isles Christianity reached Roman Britain by the third century of the Christian era, the first recorded martyrs in Britain being St. Alban of Verulamium and Julius and Aaron ofCaerleon, during the reign of Diocletian (284305). Gildas dated the faith's arrival to the latter part of the reign of Tiberius (14 37). Restitutus, Bishop of London, is recorded as attending the 314 Council of Arles, along with the Bishop of Lincoln and Bishop of York. Christianisation intensified and evolved into Celtic Christianity after the Romans left Britain c. 410.

[edit]Outside

the Roman Empire

See also: History of Eastern Christianity in Asia and Church of the East Christianity was by no means confined to the Roman Empire during the early Christian period.

[edit]Armenia
Armenia became the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion. Christianity became the official religion of Armenia in 301,[55] when it was still illegal in the Roman Empire. Some[who?] claim theArmenian Apostolic Church was founded by Gregory the Illuminator of the late third early fourth centuries while they trace their origins to the missions of Bartholomew the Apostle and Thaddeus (Jude the Apostle) in the 1st century.

[edit]Georgia
Christianity in Georgia (ancient Iberia) extends back to the 4th century, if not earlier.[56] The Iberian king, Mirian III, converted to Christianity, probably in 326.[56]

[edit]Mesopotamia

and the Parthian Empire

Edessa, which was held by Rome from 116 to 118 and 212 to 214, but was mostly a client kingdom associated either with Rome or Persia, was an important Christian city. Shortly after 201 or even earlier, its royal house became Christian[57] Edessa (now anlurfa) in northwestern Mesopotamia was from apostolic times the principal center of Syriac-speaking Christianity. it was the capital of an independent kingdom from 132 BC to AD 216, when it became tributary to Rome. Celebrated as an important centre of Greco-Syrian culture, Edessa was also noted for its Jewish community., with proselytes in the royal family. Strategically located on the main trade routes of the Fertile Crescent, it was easily accessible from Antioch, where the mission to the Gentiles was inaugurated. When early Christians were scattered abroad because of persecution, some found refuge at

Edessa. Thus the Edessan church traced its origin to the apostolic age (which may account for its rapid growth), and Christianity even became the state religion for a time. The Church of the East had its inception at a very early date in the buffer zone between the Parthian and Roman Empires in Upper Mesopotamia, known as the Assyrian Church of the East. The vicissitudes of its later growth were rooted in its minority status in a situation of international tension. The rulers of the Parthian Empire (250 BC AD 226) were on the whole tolerant in spirit, and with the older faiths of Babylonia and Assyria in a state of decay, the time was ripe for a new and vital faith. The rulers of the Second Persian empire (226640) also followed a policy of religious toleration to begin with, though later they gave Christians the same status as a subject race. However, these rulers also encouraged the revival of the ancient Persian dualistic faith of Zoroastrianism and established it as the state religion, with the result that the Christians were increasingly subjected to repressive measures. Nevertheless, it was not until Christianity became the state religion in the West (380) that enmity toward Rome was focused on the Eastern Christians. After the Muslim conquest in the 7th century, the caliphate tolerated other faiths but forbade proselytism and subjected Christians to heavy taxation. The missionary Addai evangelized Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) about the middle of the 2nd century. An ancient legend recorded by Eusebius (AD 260340) and also found in the Doctrine of Addai (c. AD 400) (from information in the royal archives of Edessa) describes how King Abgar V of Edessa communicated to Jesus, requesting he come and heal him, to which appeal he received a reply. It is said that after the resurrection, the Thomas sent Addai (or Thaddaeus), to the king, with the result that the city was won to the Christian faith. In this mission he was accompanied by a disciple, Mari, and the two are regarded as cofounders of the church, according to the Liturgy of Addai and Mari (c. AD 200), which is still the normal liturgy of the Assyrian church. The Doctrine of Addai further states that Thomas was regarded as an apostle of the church, which long treasured a letter written by him from India.[2][3] Addai, who became the first bishop of Edessa, was succeeded by Aggai, then by Palut, who was ordained about 200 by Serapion of Antioch. Thence came to us in the 2nd century the famous Peshitta, or Syriac translation of the Old Testament; also Tatian's Diatessaron, which was compiled about 172 and in common use until St. Rabbula, Bishop of Edessa (412435), forbade its use. This arrangement of the four Canonical gospels as a continuous narrative, whose original language may have been Syriac, Greek, or even Latin, circulated widely in Syriac-speaking Churches.[58] A Christian council was held at Edessa as early as 197.[59] In 201 the city was devastated by a great flood, and the Christian church was destroyed.[60] In 232 the relics of the Apostle Thomas were brought from India, on which occasion his Syriac Acts were written. Under Roman domination many martyrs suffered at Edessa: Sts. Scharbl and Barsamya, under Decius; Sts. Grja, Schmna, Habib, and others under Diocletian. In the meanwhile Christian priests from Edessa had evangelized Eastern Mesopotamia and Persia, and established the first Churches in the kingdom of the Sassanids.[61] Atillti, Bishop of Edessa, assisted at the First Council of Nicaea (325).

[edit]Persia

and Central Asia

By the latter half of the 2nd century, Christianity had spread east throughout Media, Persia, Parthia, and Bactria. The twenty bishops and many presbyters were more of the order of itinerant missionaries, passing from place to place as Paul did and supplying their needs with such occupations as merchant or craftsman. By AD 280 the metropolis of Seleucia assumed the title of "Catholicos" and in A.D. 424 a council of the church at Seleucia elected the first patriarch to have jurisdiction over the whole church of the East, including India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The seat of the Patriarchate was fixed at Seleucia-Ctesiphon, since this was an important point on the East-West trade routes which extended both to India and China, Java and Japan. Thus the shift of ecclesiastical authority was away from Edessa, which in A.D. 216 had become tributary to Rome. the establishment of an independent patriarchate with nine subordinate metropoli contributed to a more favourable attitude by the Persian government, which no longer had to fear an ecclesiastical alliance with the common enemy, Rome. By the time that Edessa was incorporated into the Persian Empire in 258, the city of Arbela, situated on the Tigris in what is now Iraq, had taken on more and more the role that Edessa had played in the early years, as a centre from which Christianity spread to the rest of the Persian Empire.[62] Bardaisan, writing about 196, speaks of Christians throughout Media, Parthia and Bactria (modernday Afghanistan)[63] and, according to Tertullian (c. 160230), there were already a number of bishoprics within the Persian Empire by 220.[62] By 315, the bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon had assumed the title "Catholicos".[62] By this time, neither Edessa nor Arbela was the centre of the Church of the East anymore; ecclesiastical authority had moved east to the heart of the Persian Empire. [62] The twin cities of SeleuciaCtesiphon, well-situated on the main trade routes between East and West, became, in the words of John Stewart, "a magnificent centre for the missionary church that was entering on its great task of carrying the gospel to the far east."[64] When Constantine converted to Christianity, and the Roman Empire which was previously violently antiChristian became pro-Christian, the Persian Empire, suspecting a new "enemy within," became violently anti-Christian. Within a few years, Shapur II (309379) inaugurated a twenty-year long persecution of the church with the murder of Mar Shimun, the Catholicos of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, five bishops and 100 priests on Good Friday, 344, after the Patriarch refused to collect a double tax from the Christians to help the Persian war effort against Rome.[62] See also Christianity in Iran.

[edit]Arabian

Peninsula

To understand the penetration of the Arabian peninsula by the Christian gospel, it is helpful to distinguish between the marauding Bedouin nomads of the interior, who were chiefly herdsmen and unreceptive to foreign influence, and the inhabitants of the settled communities of the coastal areas and oases, who were either middlemen traders or farmers and were receptive to influences from abroad. Christianity apparently gained its strongest foothold in the ancient center of Semitic civilisation in South-west Arabia or Yemen, (sometimes known as Seba or Sheba), whose queen visited Solomon. Because of geographic proximity, acculturation with Ethiopia was always strong, and the royal family traces its ancestry to this queen.

The presence of Arabians at Pentecost and Paul's three-year sojourn in Arabia suggest a very early gospel witness. A 4th-century church history, states that the apostle Bartholomew preached in Arabia and that Himyarites were among his converts. The Al-Jubail Church in what is now Saudi Arabia was built in the 4th century. Arabia's close relations with Ethiopia give significance to the conversion of the treasurer to the queen of Ethiopia, not to mention the tradition that the Apostle Matthew was assigned to this land.[4] Eusebius says that "one Pantaneous (c. A.D. 190) was sent from Alexandria as a missionary to the nations of the East," including southwest Arabia, on his way to India.[5]

[edit]Ethiopia
According to records written in the Ge'ez language, see also Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the region today known as Ethiopia converted to Judaism during the time of the biblical Queen of Sheba andSolomon. According to the fourth century western historian Rufinius, it was Frumentius who brought Christianity to Ethiopia (the city of Axum) and served as its first bishop, probably shortly after 325.[65]

[edit]Nubia
Christianity came early in Nubia. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, a treasury official of "Candace, queen of the Ethiopians" returning from a trip to Jerusalem was baptised by Philip the Evangelist: Then the Angel of the Lord said to Philip, Start out and go south to the road that leads down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: And behold, a man of Ethiopia, an Eunuch of great authority under Candace, Queen of E-thi-o'pi-ans, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem to worship.[66] Ethiopia at that time meant any any upper Nile region. Candace was the name and perhaps, title for the Mero or Kushite queens. In the fourth century bishop Athanasius of Alexandria consecrated Marcus as bishop of Philae before his death in 373, showing that Christianity had permanently penetrated the region. John of Ephesusrecords that a Monophysite priest named Julian converted the king and his nobles of Nobatia around 545 and another kingdom of Alodia converted around 569. By the 7th century Makuria expanded becoming the dominant power in the region so strong enough to halt the southern expansion of Islam after the Arabs had taken Egypt. After several failed invasions the new rulers agreed to a treaty with Dongola allowing for peaceful coexistence and trade. This treaty held for six hundred years allowing Arab traders introducing Islam to Nubia and it gradually supplanted Christianity. The last record of a bishop is at Qasr Ibrim in 1372.

[edit]India
Main article: Saint Thomas Christians

According to Eusebius' record, Thomas and Bartholomew were assigned to Parthia (modern Iran) and India. The Didache (dating from the end of the first century) states, "India and all countries condering it, even to the farthest seas...received the apostolic ordinances from Judas Thomas (same as the Apostle Thomas), who was a guide and ruler in the church which he built." Moreover, there is a wealth of confirmatory information in the Syriac writings, liturgical books, and calendars of the Church of the East, not to mention the writings of the Fathers, the calendars, the sacramentaries, and the martyrologies of the Roman, Greek and Ethiopian churches.[67] Since trade routes from the East were wide open at the time and were used by early missionaries, historian Vincent A. Smith says, "It must be admitted that a personal visit of the Apostle Thomas to South India was easily feasible in the traditional belief that he came by way of Socotra, where an ancient Christian settlement undoubtedly existed. I am now satisfied that the Christian church of South India is extremely ancient...''[67] Although there was a lively trade between the Near East and India via Mesopotamia and the Persian Gulf, the most direct route to India in the 1st century was via Alexandria and theRed Sea, taking advantage of the Monsoon winds, which could carry ships directly to and from the Malabar coast. The discovery of large hoards of Roman coins of 1st-century Caesars and the remains of Roman trading posts testify to the frequency of that trade. in addition, thriving Jewish colonies were to be found at the various trading centers, thereby furnishing obvious bases for the apostolic witness. Piecing together the various traditions, one may conclude that Thomas left northwest India when invasion threatened and traveled by vessel to the Malabar coast, possibly visiting southeast Arabia and Socotra en route and landing at the former flourishing port of Muziris on an island near Cochin (c. 5152). From there he is said to have preached the gospel throughout the Malabar coast, though the various churches he founded were located mainly on the Periyar River and its tributaries and along the coast, where there were Jewish colonies. he reputedly preached to all classes of people and had about seventeen thousand converts, including members of the four principal castes. Later, stone crosses were erected at the places where churches were founded, and they became pilgrimage centres. In accordance with apostolic custom Thomas ordained teachers and leaders or elders, who were reported to be the earliest ministry of the Malabar church. Thomas next proceeded overland to the Coromandel coast and ministered in what is now the Madras area, where a local king and many people were converted. One tradition related that he went from there toChina via Malacca and, after spending some time there, returned to the Madras area (Breviary of the Mar Thoma Church in Malabar). According to the Syriac version of the Acts of Thomas, Masdai, the local king at Mylapore, after questioning the apostle condemned him to death about the year 72. Anxious to avoid popular excitement, "for many had believed in our Lord, including some of the nobles,"the king ordered Thomas conducted to a nearby mountain, where, after being allowed to pray, he was then stoned and stabbed to death with a lance wielded by a hunter. A number of Christians fled to Malabar and joined that Christian community.[67]

An early 3rd-century Syriac work known as the Acts of Thomas[67] connects the apostle's Indian ministry with two kings, one in the north and the other in the south. According to one of the legends in theActs, Thomas was at first reluctant to accept this mission, but the Lord appeared to him in a night vision and said, "Fear not, Thomas. Go away to India and proclaim the Word, for my grace shall be with you."But the Apostle still demurred, so the Lord overruled the stubborn disciple by ordering circumstances so compelling that he was forced to accompany an Indian merchant, Abbanes, to his native place in northwest India, where he found himself in the service of the Indo-Parthian king, Gondophares. The apostle's ministry resulted in many conversions throughout the kingdom, including the king and his brother.[67] Although little is known of the immediate growth of the church, Bar-Daisan (154223) reports that in his time there were Christian tribes in North India which claimed to have been converted by Thomas and to have books and relics to prove it.[67] But at least by the time of the establishment of the Second Persian Empire ( 226), there were bishops of the Church of the East in northwest India, Afghanistan andBaluchistan, with laymen and clergy alike engaging in missionary activity.[67] The apocryphal Acts of Thomas (3rd century) identifies his second mission in India with a kingdom ruled by King Mahadwa, one of the rulers of a 1st-century dynasty in southern India. It is most significant that, aside from a small remnant of the Church of the East in Kurdistan, the only other church to maintain a distinctive identity is the Mar Thoma or "Church of Thomas" congregations along the Malabar Coastof Kerala State in southwest India. According to the most ancient tradition of this church, Thomas evangelized this area and then crossed to the Coromandel Coast of southeast India, where, after carrying out a second mission, he suffered martyrdom near Madras. Throughout the period under review, the church in India was under the jurisdiction of Edessa, which was then under the Mesopotamian patriarchate atSeleucia-Ctesiphon and later at Baghdad and Mosul.