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Christianity. Christianity. Christianity is the largest religion in the world, with approximately 2.2 billion Christians worldwide Christians are subdivided into three major groupings: Catholicism Orthodox Christianity Protestant Christianity. Christianity around the World.

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Christianity


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    1. Christianity

    2. Christianity • Christianity is the largest religion in the world, with approximately 2.2 billion Christians worldwide • Christians are subdivided into three major groupings: • Catholicism • Orthodox Christianity • Protestant Christianity

    3. Christianity around the World

    4. Christianity Timeline c. 4 BCE-33 CE: Life of Jesus c. 50-60 CE: Ministry of Paul of Tarsus c. 70-95: Canonical gospels written c. 150: Last New Testament material written 379-395: Christianity becomes official religion of Roman Empire 354-430: Life of Augustine of Hippo 1054: Schism between Eastern and Western Christianity 1225-1274: Life of Thomas Aquinas 1492: Christopher Columbus arrives in the Americas 1509-1564: Life of John Calvin 1517: Martin Luther posts 95 theses, beginning Protestant Reformation 1534: Church of England splits from Catholicism c. 1720-1780: European Enlightenment 1962-1965: Second Vatican Council 1988: Communist persecution in Russia ends

    5. Christian Scripture • The central text of Christianity is the two-part Christian Bible • The first part of the Christian Bible, called the Old Testament, is more or less identical to the Hebrew Bible • The order of the books is different from the Hebrew Bible • A number of books are called “apocryphal” or “deuterocanonical;” these are accepted as part of the Old Testament by some, but not all, Christian churches • The second part of the bible is the New Testament, which consists of four parts, all originally written in Greek between 70 and 150 CE: • Gospels (“good news”): accounts of the life of Jesus • The Acts of the Apostles: a history of the early Christian community • Epistles: Letters written by Paul of Tarsus and other early church figures • Revelation: a Christian apocalyptic work • Christians generally consider the bible to be “divinely inspired,” or written by humans under God’s intervention

    6. Jesus • Lived c. 4 BCE – c. 30 CE in Judea, which was under Roman rule at the time • Known primarily through “Gospels” (accounts of the words and/or deeds of Jesus), early life virtually unknown • Lived itinerant lifestyle, performed numerous healings, preached coming of “Kingdom of God” • Executed by Roman authorities. Followers claim that he was resurrected (returned from the dead) by God • Understood as Incarnation of God by Christians

    7. Was Jesus Real? • The main evidence for the life of Jesus are the gospels, or accounts of his life, which were written decades after his death • Four separate gospels exist in the Christian Bible: the gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John • A number of non-canonical gospels also exist, including the Gospel of Thomas and the Gnostic Gospels • Christians accept based on faith and the bible that Jesus actually existed • A majority of scholars, Christian and non-Christian, agree that the Jewish reformer Yeshua bar Yosef was a historical figure, although a debate exists as to how much of the gospels can be taken as historically accurate

    8. The Gospels • The Gospel of Mark is the shortest, and probably oldest, of the gospels • It says nothing of Jesus’ birth, and the oldest forms of it say little about Jesus’ resurrection • Jesus is secretive and mysterious in this gospel, speaking mostly in cryptic parables and instructing his followers to keep his deeds a secret • The Gospel of Matthew contains large sections taken directly from Mark, with added emphasis on Jesus as fulfillment of scripture • It was likely written for and by a Jewish Christian audience • The Gospel of Luke also includes sections identical to Matthew and Mark • Mark, Matthew, and Luke are collectively called the Synoptic Gospels, due to their similarities • Luke presents Jesus as egalitarian and open to non-Jewish followers, and was likely written for a Greek Christian audience • The Gospel of John is markedly different from the Synoptic Gospels, and presents a more mystical portrait of Jesus • Rather than speaking in parables, Jesus engages in lengthy explanations of his divine nature

    9. Other Gospels • Numerous other gospels exist outside the canon of the bible • The Gospel of Thomas, probably produced by Syrian Christians in the mid-2nd century, contains 114 sayings of Jesus, and no narrative at all • Some of these sayings correspond to material from the Synoptic Gospels, perhaps in an older form, while others have no parallel and represent an unusual theological viewpoint • Several “infancy gospels” exist which describe in more detail Jesus’ early life • These documents probably date from the 2nd century CE • A number of gospels, including the Gospels of Philip, Mary, and Judas, were produced by the Gnostic Christian community, a mystical sect from the 2nd and 3rd centuries • In these gospels, Jesus is presented as a celestial being who imparts cosmological wisdom to his followers

    10. Jesus saw infants being suckled. He said to His disciples, "These infants being suckled are like those who enter the Kingdom." They said to Him, "Shall we then, as children, enter the Kingdom?" Jesus said to them, "When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter [the Kingdom]." (Gospel of Thomas 22)

    11. Early Life of Jesus • Aside from the nativity sequences in Matthew and Luke, nothing is known about the life of Jesus prior to his ministry • According to the gospels, Jesus’ family lived in Nazareth, a small village in northern Judea • The nativity sequences (accounts of Jesus’ birth) take care to place Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, which, according to Jewish tradition, would be the birthplace of the Messiah • The nativities also include genealogies tracing Jesus’ lineage to David (another prerequisite of Messiah-hood)

    12. Ministry of Jesus • Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist, a prophet-like figure who was later executed by the puppet monarchy of Judea • Jesus gathered a group of followers and travelled throughout Judea and Galilee, teaching an unorthodox version of Judaism and healing the sick • Jesus referred to God as Abba, or “daddy,” and generated tension with religious authorities for his non-traditional interpretation of Judaism and his association with social outcasts • His followers included twelve “apostles” (“ones who are sent”) and a number of female followers, most notably Mary of Magdala

    13. “You have learned how it was said: Eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away. “You have learned how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they want? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5.38-48)

    14. Death of Jesus • Tension between Jesus and local authorities came to a head during his visit to Jerusalem • The Roman occupation of Judea was marked by unrest and frequent rebellions, and Romans did not hesitate to execute Jews who could gather large mobs • Jesus was executed as “King of the Jews” by the governor Pontius Pilate by crucifixion, a gruesome death reserved for political rebels

    15. Resurrection of Jesus • According to the gospels, Jesus was resurrected from the dead by God • All of the gospels describe Mary of Magdala and others discovering the tomb of Jesus being empty • Afterwards, the gospels describe various encounters of the risen Jesus with his followers • The disciples are instructed to spread the message of Jesus to the world

    16. Then he told them, “This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, has to be fulfilled.” He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.” (Luke 24.44-48)

    17. Other Important Early Christians • Simon Peter • Originally a fisherman, one of Jesus’ first followers and apostles • Given name “Kefa” (rock) by Jesus • According to tradition, first Bishop of Rome • Two letters are attributed to him • James the Just • “Brother” of Jesus • Leader of Jerusalem Jewish Christian community

    18. Paul of Tarsus • Paul of Tarsus (c. 5-67 CE), born Saul, is one of the most important figures in Christianity • The letters attributed to Paul comprise almost half of the books of the New Testament • Contemporary scholars believe that several of the Pauline Epistles were composed by other writers in Paul’s name; nevertheless, seven of the letters (Romans, Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Philemon, and 1 Thessalonians) are considered authentic • Saul was a Roman citizen and a Pharisee, born in Tarsus (modern Turkey), raised in Jerusalem, studied under the Rabbi Gamaliel, and tentmaker by trade • According to Paul’s own account, he persecuted the first Christians early in his life, taking part in stonings of Christians • Although Paul calls himself an apostle, he was not one of the twelve named in the gospels, nor did he ever meet Jesus during his lifetime

    19. Paul • The central event in Paul’s life occurred on a trip to Damascus in search of Christians to persecute • The Acts of the Apostles describes Paul’s conversion: • Suddenly, while he was traveling to Damascus and just before he reached the city, there came a light from heaven all around him. He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, Lord?” he asked, and the voice answered, “I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. Get up now and go to the city, and you will be told what you have to do.” (Acts 9.3-7) • Paul is blinded by the experience, and is brought to the Christian Ananias, who restores Paul’s sight after Jesus visits him in a vision, claiming a divine role for Paul: • “this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before pagans and pagan kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he himself must suffer for my name.” (Acts 9.15-17) • After this incident, Paul was baptised a Christian

    20. Paul’s Journeys • Paul then became a very energetic missionary, travelling around the ancient world, founding churches and preaching • Paul espoused a unique theology that viewed Jesus as the cosmic Christ, fulfilling the Mosaic Covenant through his sacrifice and ushering in a new chapter in the relationship between God and humanity • Humans achieved salvation through faith in Christ, rather than through observance of the Law • As such, Paul argued that Gentile (non-Jewish) converts to Christianity did not need to observe such Jewish customs as circumcision and dietary restrictions

    21. The Mediterranean World

    22. Paul’s rejection of the requirement of circumcision caused friction with the established church leadership in Jerusalem, as Paul recounts: “I was so determined to safeguard for you the true meaning of the Good News, that I refused even out of deference to yield to such people for one moment. As a result, these people, who are acknowledged leaders – not that their importance matters to me, since God has no favorites – these leaders, as I say, had nothing to add to the Good News as I preach it. On the contrary, they recognized that I had been commissioned to preach the Good news to the uncircumcised just as Peter had been commissioned to preach it to the circumcised. The same person whose action had made Peter the apostle of the circumcised had given me a similar mission to the pagans. So, James, Cephas and John, these leaders, these pillars, shook hands with Barnabas and me as a sign of partnership… When Cephas came to Antioch, however, I opposed him to his face, since he was manifestly in the wrong. His custom had been to eat with the pagans, but after certain friends of James arrived he stopped doing this and kept away from them altogether for fear of the group that insisted on circumcision. The other Jews joined him in this pretense, and even Barnabas felt himself obliged to copy their behavior. When I saw they were not respecting the true meaning of the Good News, I said to Cephas in front of everyone, “In spite of being a Jew, you live like the pagans and not like the Jews, so you have no right to make the pagans copy Jewish ways.” (Galatians 2.5-14)

    23. Eschatology • The earliest forms of Christianity appear to have believed that the end of the world was imminent • The book of Revelation, written during a period of Roman persecution of Christians, presents a vision of the End Times in which Jesus returns as a cosmic warrior to battle the “antichrist” and bring about a new era of heaven on earth • Various numerological codes exist in Revelation, which have provided Christians the opportunity for much speculation over the centuries • Many early Christians, including Paul, believed that the End Times would come during their lifetime

    24. Paul on the End Times: • We can tell you this from the Lord’s own teaching, that any of us who are left alive until the Lord’s coming will not have any advantage over those who have died. At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise, and then those of us who are still alive will be taken up in the clouds, together with them, to meet the Lord in the air. (1 Thessalonians 4.16-17) • Jesus on the End Times: • “But in those days, after that time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will come falling from heaven and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory; then he too will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven… I tell you solemnly, before this generation has passed away all these things will have taken place.” (Mark 13.24-30)

    25. From Revelation: Then I saw a beast emerge from the sea: it had seven heads and ten horns, and its heads were marked with blasphemous titles. I saw that the beast was like a leopard, with paws like a bear and a mouth like a lion… Then I saw a second beast; it emerged from the ground; it had two horns like a lamb, but made a noise like a dragon. The second beast was servant to the first beast, and extended its authority everywhere, making the world and all its people worship the first beast… He compelled everyone – small and great, rich and poor, slave and citizen – to be branded on the right hand or on the forehead, and made it illegal for anyone to buy or sell anything unless he had been branded with the name of the beast or with the number of the name. There is need for shrewdness here: if anyone is clever enough he may interpret the number of the beast: it is the number of a man, the number 666. (Revelation 13.1-18)

    26. The Last Judgment (1467-1471) by Hans Memling

    27. The Afterlife • Following the Last Judgment, Christians believe that the righteous will enter heaven, and the unrighteous will be condemned to hell • Different Christians understand the afterlife and the final judgment in varying ways • Some Christians view heaven and hell as literal places where the dead go following either death or the Day of Judgment • Some Christians believe that the dead exist in an intermediate state until the Day of Judgment, and believe in a heavenly state on Earth (following Revelation) • Some Christians view heaven and hell as more metaphorical, related to a person’s connection to God • Paul on the Afterlife: • Someone may ask, “How are dead people raised, and what sort of body do they have when they come back?” They are stupid questions. Whatever you sow in the ground has to die before it is given new life and the thing that you sow is not what is going to come; you sow a bare grain, say of wheat or something like that, and then God gives it the sort of body that he has chosen: each sort of seed gets its own sort of body. (1 Corinthians 15.35-38)

    28. Gentile Christians • Christianity spread rapidly through the Greco-Roman world, quickly becoming predominantly non-Jewish • With the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, the Jewish Christian sect declined in importance • Christians were viewed with suspicion in ancient Rome, and were subjected to periodic bouts of persecution, beginning under Nero • In 312, the emperor Constantine experienced a vision of God and a cross before a major victory • He instituted tolerance of Christianity and was baptized on his deathbed • The emperor Theodosius (ruled 379-395) made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire, outlawing all other religions • Upon Theodosius’ death, the Roman Empire split between the Latin West, with its capital at Rome, and the Greek-speaking East, with its capital at Constantinople (present-day Istanbul)

    29. Early Christianity • A great deal of diversity existed within early Christianity • Diversity of opinion existed concerning the nature of Jesus, the requirements for salvation, and creeds (statements of belief) • Gnostic Christianity, an esoteric sect based on hidden, liberating knowledge of the cosmos, flourished at this time • Early Christians came to believe in the Holy Trinity: the idea that the singular divine being exists as three equal “persons” • Christians claim to be monotheistic despite this doctrine, while other monotheists question whether belief in the Trinity is true monotheism • In 325 CE, Emperor Constantine convened a conference of Christian bishops in Nicaea (near modern-day Istanbul) to settle many unresolved theological questions

    30. The Nicene Creed • We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. • We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. • We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. • We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen

    31. Monastic Life • Some early Christians felt that the best way to practice Christianity was to leave society and live an ascetic life of poverty and solitude • The first Christian monastics (men and women) lived alone in caves in the Egyptian desert • Eventually, monastic orders developed, which continue to the present day • Christian monks live lives defined by poverty, obedience, chastity, and commitment to the economic self-sufficiency of the monastery • In Medieval Europe, monasteries functioned as bastions of learning amid a largely illiterate culture, and monks were responsible for the copying and reproduction of texts

    32. Christian Philosophy • The early centuries of Christianity saw the development of Christian philosophy, which often adapted classical Greek philosophy to a Christian context • These philosophers, whose thought was influential in the development of Christianity, were called “Church Fathers” • The most influential of these was Augustine of Hippo • Augustine interpreted Creation and the End Times allegorically, rather than literally • Augustine also developed the doctrine of “original sin,” meaning that following Adam and Eve’s betrayal of God, humans are forever morally defective, and require the free and unwarranted gift of God’s grace for salvation

    33. Schism • Following the council of Nicaea, the five centres of early Christianity were Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria (Egypt), Antioch (modern-day Turkey), and Jerusalem • Each of these cities had its own “Patriarch” (principal bishop), with the Bishop of Rome being considered “first among equals” • Each centre of Christianity developed its own theological traditions • Theological and political differences between the various churches eventually led to “schisms,” or splits, within Christianity • In 451, the Council of Chalcedon declared that Jesus Christ has “two natures,” one fully human and one fully divine, united in a single person • Some Christian Churches, notably the Alexandrian church, rejected this definition of the nature of Christ, arguing that Christ was instead a fully unified divine being, and thus fell out of communion with the other bishops • These churches are now called the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the largest of which is the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

    34. Great Schism of 1054 • The Great Schism of 1054 split Christianity between the western Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church • Various factors led to this split: • Differences in interpretations of the Trinity (articulated in the Nicene Creed) • Celibacy of priests • Linguistic differences • Use of leavened vs. unleavened bread in the Eucharist • Authority of the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) • The Great Schism led to the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople each excommunicating the other and his followers • This excommunication was rescinded in 1965, over nine centuries later, when Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople; nevertheless, the two churches remain distinct and independent

    35. Eastern Orthodox Christianity • Today, there are approximately 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide • The Eastern Orthodoxy is divided into fifteen self-governing Orthodox Churches, such as the Orthodox Churches of Russia, Greece, Serbia, Romania, and the Orthodox Church in America (includes Canada) • Each is led by a patriarch, archbishop, or metropolitan • The spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodoxy is the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, currently Bartholomew I • The Patriarch of Constantinople does not have a comparable status to the Roman Pope; he has no authority over the independent Orthodox Churches

    36. The Hagia Sophia, formerly the main cathedral in Constantinople A Greek Orthodox Mass Mount Athos Monastery, Greece

    37. Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow Inside the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

    38. History of Eastern Orthodoxy • A major factor in Eastern Orthodox history is the rise of Islam • Beginning in the 7th century CE, the Holy Land and many of the traditionally Christian areas of the Middle East and northern Africa came under Muslim rule • In 1453, the Muslim Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople, making it the capital of their empire • As a result, much of Orthodox Christianity existed for the next four centuries as a minority within a primarily Muslim empire

    39. Russia and Eastern Orthodoxy • The only Orthodox Churches outside of Islamic rule were the Russian Orthodox Church and a few smaller Orthodox Churches in Eastern Europe • The Russian Orthodox Church came to view Moscow as the “Third Rome,” after Rome and Constantinople – the new spiritual centre of Christianity • The Tsars, or emperors of Russia, played a large role in the inner workings of the Russian Orthodox Church • In 1917, the Tsars were overthrown by communist Bolsheviks, leading to the formation of the Soviet Union • The Soviet Union was hostile to the Russian Orthodox Church and to religion in general, and tried to replace religion with communist atheism in Russian society • Most Russian Orthodox churches were closed, and tens of thousands of priests were imprisoned or killed • In 1988, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev changed government policy on religion, ending persecution and allowing churches to reopen • The Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, and the Russian Orthodox Church now plays a significant role in Russian society

    40. Orthodox Christian Practices • Like the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Christian Church observes a number of Sacraments (called “Holy Mysteries”) • These include: • Baptism • Chrismation (Confirmation) • Marriage • Confession • Almsgiving is important in Orthodox Christianity • Orthodox Christians celebrate weekly Mass, the centre of which is the Eucharist, the ritual re-enactment of Jesus’ last supper

    41. Mysticism in Orthodoxy • Generally, mysticism and asceticism play a more central role in Orthodox Christianity than in Western Christianity • The goal of Orthodox Christian religious life is theosis, or mystical union with God • One means of achieving this state is through ascetic, meditative prayer, which is called hesychasm • There is an enduring tradition of monasticism in Orthodoxy for men and women • Lay Orthodox Christians practice asceticism through other means • Orthodox Christians practice fasting at different times of the year, to different degrees • Icons are often used in Orthodox Christian religious life

    42. Roman Catholicism • The Western Roman Empire was overrun by Germanic tribes, with the last Roman Emperor being deposed in 476 • Europe came to be divided between smaller kingdoms, with invasions by peoples such as Vikings and Magyars being a constant threat • The Roman Church survived the collapse of the Roman Empire, and attempted to bring Christianity to the various tribes of Europe • At this time, most Europeans followed “pagan” religions, such as the Celtic Druids and the polytheistic religion of the Germanic and Scandinavian peoples • Beginning with the conversion of the Franks, the Roman Catholic Church gained allies among the kings of Europe

    43. Crusades • From approximately 1095 to 1290, European Christians embarked on a series of crusades (holy wars) to recapture the Holy Land from Muslims • Many atrocities were perpetrated during this bloody time; Western Crusaders even attacked and looted the city of Constantinople in 1204 • The Crusades were ultimately unsuccessful, failing to permanently place the Holy Land under Latin control, and even hastened the demise of the Byzantine Empire, while creating a lasting climate of mistrust between Catholic Christians, Orthodox Christians, and Muslims

    44. Late Middle Ages • The Inquisition was a church court which sought to investigate and root out heresy • The Inquisition was notorious for the use of torture and execution in suppression of heresy • Groups such as the Cathari (a Christian mystical sect) and individuals such as Joan of Arc were targets of the Inquisition • The Spanish Inquisition, which began in 1478, operated under the Spanish monarchy instead of the pope, and primarily targeted Jewish and Muslim Christian converts • The 14th century saw turmoil and intrigue within the papacy • The papacy was moved temporarily to Avignon, France, in the 14th century • Eventually, there came to be several rival lines of “anti-popes,” rivals for the papal throne; this matter was settled in the 15th century

    45. Catholic Monasticism • Monastic life flourished in medieval Christianity • St. Benedict developed a code by which Christian monks and nuns could practice their spiritual life through manual labour • Monasteries also became centres of learning and social organization during the Middle Ages • Western universities base some of their organization on monasteries • Some monasteries were also breweries! • Some monks, called friars, lived ascetic lives amid society in order to teach the faith • One well-known friar was Thomas Aquinas, whose work, Summa Theologiae, combined Christian theology with the work of Aristotle and became a central text in Christian theology for centuries • The Middle Ages also saw a flowering of Catholic mysticism, whose most famous practitioners included Hildegard of Bingen and St. Francis of Assisi

    46. Renaissance • The Renaissance was a period of rediscovery of Classical thought in Europe • It brought about a renewal in Catholic art, architecture, and thought • In the late 15th and early 16th centuries, European explorers began to visit and colonize far-flung lands, including the Americas • Catholic missionaries spread Christianity among indigenous peoples, and sometimes criticized atrocities perpetrated by colonizers • The Spanish missionary Francis Xavier spread Christianity in India, Indonesia, and Japan

    47. The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci, 1498: an example of Renaissance Christian art

    48. Protestant Reformation • The Renaissance led to increased literacy among Europeans, coinciding with the invention of the printing press • Many Christians compared the contemporary Catholic Church to the early Christian church and found it lacking • Among the more controversial practices of the Catholic Church was the sale of “indulgences,” which was forgiveness of sins by clergy in exchange for money or services • In the 16th century, dissatisfied individuals and churches began to break away from the authority of the pope, forming independent, or “Protestant,” churches • This period of time is called the Protestant Reformation • The Protestant Reformation was followed by a series of religious wars in Europe which culminated in the extremely bloody Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), which was fought primarily in what is now Germany but involved many of the powers of Europe

    49. Martin Luther • Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a German priest, monk, and biblical scholar • Based on his study of the bible, Luther concluded that the Catholic Church was in error on many issues • He published his ideas as ninety-five theses (statements) and nailed them to the door of the Wittenburg church in 1517 • He was excommunicated by the Catholic Church • Luther’s theology is based on the belief that people can be saved through faith alone, not through intervention by any people or institutions • He argued that the bible alone (sola scriptura) was sufficient to understand Christianity • Luther then sought allies among the German princes, and eventually established an independent Christian church • The Lutheran church is predominant in Germany, Scandinavia, and New England