The Jewish, Greek, and Roman cultures of the formative first two centuries of the Common Era had a deep and lasting influence on the new faith of Christianity.
a model of Jerusalem (c. first century CE), with the temple in the foreground Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/secagle/4075315762/Christianity originated in Jewish Palestine, a province of the Roman Empire. The first Christians were Jews who attended temple, read the Jewish scriptures, kept the Sabbath, and adhered to Jewish dietary and religious practices. In the decades following the death of Jesus, Jewish Christians quickly spread to other Mediterranean provinces of Rome and began converting Gentiles.
Two or three centuries passed before a religion completely separate from Judaism took shape, a religion that we now recognize as Christianity. The Jewish, Greek, and Roman cultures of the first two centuries of the Common Era had deep and lasting influence on the new faith during this formative time.
Jesus, his disciples, and the first Christians were all Jews who kept Jewish laws and customs and studied the Jewish scriptures. Christianity preserves the Jewish scriptures in the Old Testament, incorporating the essential Jewish view of God as the God of history.
Jesus’ return “in the day of the Lord” Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/36829113@N05/3392966849/Like Judaism, Christianity teaches that creation is the act of a single God, and throughout history this God has intervened, showing divine power through mighty deeds. God's role in history will culminate in the future in "the day of the Lord," when evil will be conquered and a new world will arise. In that new world, God will reign as a king of peace and righteousness (Isaiah 2:12; Joel 1:15; Zephaniah 1:7; Malachi 3:17). The first Christians believed that Jesus was the Messiah (in Greek, Christos, or Christ) whose death and resurrection was a sign that God's promised "day of the Lord" was coming soon.
Roman empire at its greatest extent, 117 CEEarly Christian missionaries carried this belief into the major population centers around the Mediterranean. The message found a receptive audience in the non-Jewish communities of the Roman Empire, including Greek-speaking Gentiles who were trained in classical philosophy. This brought Greek intellectual culture into the heart of Christianity.
Christian leaders explored the core beliefs of Christianity in accordance with their intellectual training, launching theological controversies over the use of philosophical terms such as person and substance to define and understand the nature of God. The Christological controversies over the nature of the incarnation of God in Jesus and the Trinitarian controversy over the relationship of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were particularly sharp and of continuing significance. Both the conclusions formulated and some of the controversies associated with them persist to the present day.
sculpture of an early Christian martyr, San Sebastiano Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/raenef/3922327359/The politics of the Roman Empire had two significant and lasting effects on Christianity. In the first case, the fledgling Christian communities suffered official persecution by the Romans for almost three centuries, leaving a lasting legacy of martyrdom. In the second case, early Christian communities responded to questions of communal organization by adopting the hierarchical model of Roman political organization. This is most apparent in the roles and relationships of clergy, where bishops have authority over priests, and archbishops or popes have authority over everyone.
things/ topics to consider: Gospel illusion and the use of magic in christianity to influence the religion and evangelize.
Your source is mostly correct. Mostly.
I disagree with one point, however. If you read and take in the Bible in its entire context, you see a theme building and building throughout the Old Testament: God gave Man rules on how to be Good, and Man was incapable of keeping these rules...By the end of the Old Testament, we see a paradox...God seemingly was in a "jam": How could He be reconciled with His children once and forever? How could their sins be forgiven permanently and how could the Children of God be received into Heaven despite the fact that they sinned, and disobeyed God?
Christ (which means "Messiah), who was prophesied all throughout the Old Testament, was born...part man, part of God Himself come to Earth. God decided to sacrifice this precious part of Himself to reconcile man with God..."For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." [John 3: 16-17, NIV Bible]
This is the Heart of Christianity. Some Jews clung to their belief that it was only through obeying "rules" that a Man could enter Heaven...Look at the Pharisees that Jesus so condemned...They actually wore gold coins for every prayer that they said, just to show off their "worthiness". Jesus saw through this hypocrisy, and condemned it for what it was. This did NOT sit well with mainstream Jews at all. They clung to rules about what food to eat, obeying the Sabbath to ridiculous measures, etc. Thus, people outside the Jewish faith began to listen to this new Messiah, and embraced His teachings, despite not being Jewish. This further enraged the Orthodox Jews. It also upset them, and sent ripples of dissension throughout Judea. The Roman Empire took notice, and preferred the status quo; upset Jews threatened the stability of the captured and dominated province of the Roman Empire. This is how Jesus was proclaimed the "King of the Jews" one week, and then was condemned by them not a week later...Pontius Pilate saw that killing Jesus was extreme; thus, his famous act of washing his hands of the guilt of condemning Jesus...He threw the responsibility for the Crucifixion of Jesus squarely back onto the Orthodox Jewish people, who were afraid of this "Man" who condemned their hypocrisy and said radical new things (which were all just common sense, actually...and remember, "common sense " is an oxymoron...).
It took centuries for the Christian faith to evolve and spread, as this article explains...And a lot of questions remain about the exact way that Christ became more than a Man...Some people just cannot believe in the idea that God came to Earth in the form of Jesus to reconcile Man...But it makes a wonderful sort of sense if you take the Bible and the History of Judaism as a whole. By the time of Constantine, Christianity was the dominant Faith of most of the Roman Empire, and it was threatening to topple the Empire...The Council of Nicaea was convened to decide crucial issues about Christianity, and who Jesus actually was as a person. This Council set up the first stable framework for Christianity, for better or for worse. The Catholic Church was thus formally born, and Christianity was made the religion of the Empire when Constantine converted to Christianity.
A lot of questions remain, and a lot of controversy, too. It remains to this day. We can thank Martin Luther for seeing through the dominance of the Catholic religion (which was very corrupt and manipulative at that time...some people still think so). Luther founded Protestantism, and set the final stone in place for the Christian Faith, at least to many Christians today outside of the Catholic Church: that Man can find God directly, and needs no priest or overseer to experience the wonder of God directly.
Note: All this info I have posted I have learned in College. You may not know this, but I am a Christian Studies Major, a Senior in College, and a ordained Minister...I am finally getting my "piece of paper" so I can "officially" be a Pastor in the State of Pennsylvania or wherever God may send me.
I hope I got it all right! LOL!
answered 16 Feb '12, 08:14
several groups of mystical beliefs,
church fathers and seers
answered 16 Feb '12, 20:49
Many years before Jesus would come to save this world -- God made the decision to put Jesus' divine brother, Lucifer, in charge of the program that would establish the foundations for human society -- a society based on the personal disciplines of order, loyalty and truth.
In fact, it was in that early development role, that Lucifer eventually fell in love with himself. Men were ignorant and malleable in those days, therefore it was easy for him to discredit his Father's more rigorous plan, and convince most of mankind to pay exclusive and devoted homage to him:
"Flatter me" Lucifer said; "tell me how intelligent and beautiful I am... Then will I surely give you all the liberty that you need, to express the passions and possess the material things that you most desire as men!"
And so it has been, for about 200,000 years. From primitive man, right up until the time of Melchizedek and Abraham -- Lucifer's doctrines of false and self-centered liberty have been so powerfully inculcated into the hearts of men that religion -- true religion -- has been all but completely forgotten!
That's why Melchizedek and Abraham -- followed by Moses and a long procession of Jewish Prophets and Kings, made it their business to promote religion... For almost 2000 years, they worked to pave the way for Jesus to reveal God to men and put an end to Lucifer's "spirit of the adversary." ￼￼￼￼
Jesus thus ended Lucifer's reign -- but not man's addiction to Lucifer's program of false and self-centered liberty! That's why the great and ennobling truths of Melchizedek, Jesus and Mohammed -- the robust, inspiring and world-wise progenitors of religion's latter-day Prophets and Kings, have been so slow to bear their spiritual fruits in the modern world.
That's why so many modern men continue to habitually over-indulge their baser and self-centered human natures. That's why so many people: limited to the lifeless logic of recorded history and hopelessly confused by modern secular values, find themselves powerless to foster the robust, righteous and disciplined confidence that will enable them to find happiness in life.
Ever since Pentecost, the risen Jesus has given his true children the gift of discernment -- the Spirit of Truth. Now, the time has come for the world's spiritual harvest to begin. Good trees that have grown good fruit will be saved, while those that have not will be cut down and cast into the fire.
This world is just beginning, to follow The Light of Truth...
True Religion is not the pious and pretentious recitation of memorized knowledge... True religion is the living revelation of God, through men who can discern and experience the greater good in doing His will.
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