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Timeline

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  1. Timeline • ~ CE 29 Crucifixion of Jesus • 34-64 Missionary activity of Paul • 250-260 Brutal persecution by Romans • 313 Constantine tolerates Christianity • 325 Council of Nicaea • 391-2 Christianity becomes state religion • 479 End of Western Roman Empire • 529 Benedict founds monastery

  2. EARLY CHRISTIANITY Mosaic of the Good Shepherd - Ravenna

  3. Outline I. Cultural context II. Influence of Judaism III. Early Christianity IV. Christianity evolves: The 4th Century V. Legalized Christianity

  4. I. Cultural Context • Mystical Religion • First through Third century is time of mystical religions • holy groves, shrines, oracles, power of dreams • high initiation fees • belief in afterlife only for believers • usually have parades/ events in cities • power of astrology

  5. Find your horoscope:

  6. How accurate was your horoscope?

  7. I. Cultural Context • Gnosticism • A powerful and prevalent belief system • easily adapted to other religions • belief that “Wisdom” (or “light”) came to earth and returned to heaven • Those who are enlightened or “chosen” will listen • Seen as a conflict between “light” and “dark” • merging Greek philosophy toward religious ends

  8. II. Influence of Judaism • Roman world • skeptical, tolerant and mystical • especially cosmopolitan • 1st Century widespread Jewish beliefs • unscriptural belief in afterlife • awaiting a Messiah

  9. II. Influence of Judaism • The career of Jesus • Born in Judea • Preaching, healing, and teaching • Arrival in Jerusalem during Passover (30 C.E.) • Seen as foretold Messiah • Arrest • Pontius Pilate • Crucifixion

  10. II. Influence of Judaism • 1st Century: Judeo-Christians • follow Jewish practices and add two others • love feast (agapecutpe) • Eucharist (re-enactment of Jesus’ last meal with his disciples).

  11. II. Influence of Judaism • St. Paul (c. 10–c. 67) • Converted to Christianity • Rejected Jewish law as irrelevant to salvation • Making converts among Greek-speaking Jewish communities • conversions lead to divergence from Judaism

  12. Paul’s journeys

  13. III. Early Christianity • The appeal of Christianity • Communal aspect • Early organizational structure • Special position of women • Growth of Christianity

  14. Christianity Expands

  15. III. Early Christianity • Threat to the state • why was Christianity viewed as a threat? • Failure to accept state gods • aversion to all political/social activity • focus on otherworldly pursuits • challenging social practices • cannibalism

  16. III. Early Christianity • Roman Reactions • persecutions • blamed as scapegoats • Nero (64 CE) incites local persecutions • Decius, Gallus and Valerian (250-260) • Diocletian (303)

  17. III. Early Christianity • Christian defense mechanisms • secret symbols • meeting places • Homes – special role and power of women • Catacombs

  18. Catacombs - burial societies burial of dead decoration. III. Early Christianity

  19. Art work religious themes, concepts. III. Early Christianity

  20. IV. Christianity evolves: 4th Century • Persecutions were intermittent and short-lived • By 300, 1–5 percent of total Roman population were perhaps Christians

  21. IV. Christianity evolves: 4th Century • Constantine and his “conversion” to Christianity • Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 • Christianity tolerated in 313 CE (Edict of Milan) • determined to gain control of Christianity as a tool to unite the Empire • new relationship with a Christian ruler • individualism in Christianity.

  22. Council of Nicaea 325 Purpose: to end religious dispute over Arianism to define nature of relationship between imperial power and the church church recognized Constantine’s power. IV. Christianity evolves: 4th Century

  23. IV. Christianity evolves: 4th Century • 392 Theodosius I makes Christianity the official religion of Rome • persecutions continue • tolerant Roman religious view of world changes • impact on Christianity • positive • negative

  24. V. Legalized Christianity • Legalization and state support changes Christianity • Disillusionment • Asceticism as a substitute for martyrdom • Response to increasing worldliness • common people flee society to dedicate their lives to spiritual pursuits • emergence of hermits 3rd century • communal living 4th century

  25. Monasteries in the west - c. 550

  26. V. Legalized Christianity • St. Benedict of Nursia (c. 480–c. 547) • The Latin or Benedictine Rule • Poverty, chastity, obedience, labor and prayer • Absolute authority of the abbot • Missionary work • Dignity of human labor

  27. St. Benedict’s Monastery

  28. V. Legalized Christianity The growth of ecclesiastical organization • Hierarchical organization • Distinctions of rank • The pope as bishop of Rome • Creation of a male dominated church

  29. Roman World ca. 450 CE