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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.

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timeline
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
early christianity
EARLY CHRISTIANITY

Mosaic of the Good Shepherd - Ravenna

outline
Outline

I. Cultural context

II. Influence of Judaism

III. Early Christianity

IV. Christianity evolves: The 4th Century

V. Legalized Christianity

i cultural context
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
i cultural context7
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
ii influence of judaism
II. Influence of Judaism
  • Roman world
    • skeptical, tolerant and mystical
    • especially cosmopolitan
  • 1st Century widespread Jewish beliefs
    • unscriptural belief in afterlife
    • awaiting a Messiah
ii influence of judaism9
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
ii influence of judaism10
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).
ii influence of judaism11
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
iii early christianity
III. Early Christianity
  • The appeal of Christianity
    • Communal aspect
    • Early organizational structure
      • Special position of women
  • Growth of Christianity
iii early christianity15
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
iii early christianity16
III. Early Christianity
  • Roman Reactions
    • persecutions
      • blamed as scapegoats
      • Nero (64 CE) incites local persecutions
      • Decius, Gallus and Valerian (250-260)
      • Diocletian (303)
iii early christianity17
III. Early Christianity
  • Christian defense mechanisms
    • secret symbols
    • meeting places
      • Homes – special role and power of women
      • Catacombs
iii early christianity19
Art work

religious themes, concepts.

III. Early Christianity
iv christianity evolves 4 th century
IV. Christianity evolves: 4th Century
  • Persecutions were intermittent and short-lived
  • By 300, 1–5 percent of total Roman population were perhaps Christians
iv christianity evolves 4 th century21
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.
iv christianity evolves 4 th century22
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
iv christianity evolves 4 th century23
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
v legalized christianity
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
v legalized christianity26
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
v legalized christianity28
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