Constantine and the rise of christianity
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Constantine and the rise of Christianity. Week Six. p ara = alongside. parallel. paralegal. parenthesis. j ect /jet = throw. projectile. eject. jettison. Constantine and the rise of Christianity. Week Six. I. A bride’s t rousseau.

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Constantine and the rise of Christianity

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Constantine and the rise of Christianity

Week Six

para = alongside




ject/jet = throw




Constantine and the rise of Christianity

Week Six

I. A bride’s trousseau

The trousseau from the marriage of Secundus and Projecta combines pagan and Christian symbolism.

I. A bride’s trousseau

  • Constantine integrated Christianity with a pagan empire

Jerusalem Temple

II. The Jesus Movement

A. Judaism

  • Toleration by Romans: No accommodation toward polytheistic cults, but Romans tried not to antagonize them

  • Pharisees: Stringent Jewish sect that resisted Roman culture, but did not advocate revolt

  • Zealots: Armed rebellion; Rome responds with severe repression


II. The Jesus Movement

B. Jewish Origins of Christianity

1. Jesus of Nazareth

  • Message: a kingdom of peace and love

  • Crucifixion: Jesus, savior of the world, dies a scandalous death

  • New theology

  • New practices: ritual meals, feet-washing, baptism

  • II. The Jesus Movement

2. Spreading the Faith

  • Paul of Tarsus: planted churches in Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy

  • Persecution

  • Attractive Christianity

Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity

  • Question: How did a tiny and obscure messianic movement dislodge classical paganism and become the dominant faith of Western civilization?

  • Thesis: The central doctrines of Christianity prompted and sustained attractive, liberating, and effective social relations and organizations.

Questions for discussion, part I

  • Chapter One

    • Describe the network theory of conversion.

  • Chapters Four and Seven

    • What made Christian faith so attractive? Push and pull.

biblio/libri = book




corp/carn = body




Questions for discussion, part II

  • Chapter Five: Stark argues that Christianity was especially attractive to women. How so?

  • Chapter Eight: Stark argues that martyrs were not clinically crazy or masochistic. Why not?

  • Chapter Ten: In the end, what is the revolutionary message of the early Christians to the Roman world?

III. Constantine—Christianity with an Advantage

A. Empire on the Defensive

  • Over-extension of imperial boundaries

  • Archaic economic system

  • Barbarian menace

The Empire under Diocletian

B. Triumph of Christianity

  • Rise of Constantine

  • Conversion of Constantine

  • Official religion of Rome

  • Suppression of pagan cults

  • Growth of Christianity

Constantine I

Constantine II

IV. Imperialism—Christianity of Violence

A. Theological debates

1. Nature of Christ

  • Monarchians

  • Gnostics

  • Arians

  • Origen and the Council of Nicea

    2. Nature of Salvation

  • Donatists

  • Pelagians

  • Augustine of Hippo

IV. Imperialism—Christianity of Violence

B. Coercion

  • Emperor Theodosius

  • Case of Gaza

  • The Big Question

The Spread of Christianity

Critiques of the Constantinian Shift

  • Tertullian: “It is no part of religion to compel religion”

  • Lactantius: “There is no occasion for violence and injury, for religion cannot be compelled by force . . . We teach, we prove, we show.”

  • Augustine: “Christ-followers” had turned into “depraved persons who in mobs fill the churches in a bodily sense only.”

  • Jesus: In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lauds those who are gentle, poor in spirit, peacemakers, and persecuted.

Epilogue #1

  • Stanley Hauerwas, Shane Claiborne, Greg Boyd, and American civil religion

Boyd on Constantine

Epilogue #2

  • The Trousseau

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