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Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity. CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht. The Roman Empire Largest extension, around 116 CE. Rome. Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity. CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht. The Roman Empire

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slide1

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

The Roman Empire

Largest extension, around 116 CE

Rome

slide2

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

The Roman Empire

Largest extension, around 116 CE

Rome

slide3

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

Spread of Christianity, 1st and 2nd centuries

1st century

2nd century

Boundary of Roman Empire 1st & 2nd CE.

slide4

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

Spread of Christianity, until 600 CE

slide5

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

Important Roman emperors

Hadrian

117—138

Constantine

306—337

Vespasian

69—79

Titus

79—81

Nero

54—68

slide6

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

Arch of Constantine

Arch of Titus

slide7

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

Edict of

Milan, 313

Fall of West Rome, 476

East – West

Schism, 1054

Fall of EastRome, 1453

2000

0

500

1000

1500

100

NT period

Reformation

Apostolic Period & Sub-apostolic Period

The Apostolic Period, some major dates

slide8

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

From Apostolic to Sub-Apostolic Period, the 60s

Paul

Peter

James

slide9

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

Rome on Fire, 64 CE

Artistic reconstruction

slide10

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

Nero’s tourches

HenrykSiemiradzki (1843-1902)

slide11

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

To the Colloseum

HenrykSiemiradzki (1843-1902)

slide12

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht
slide13

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

Edict of

Milan, 313

Fall of West Rome, 476

East – West

Schism, 1054

Fall of EastRome, 1453

2000

0

500

1000

1500

100

NT period

Reformation

The Sub-Apostolic Period , some major dates

Apostolic Period & Sub-apostolic Period

slide14

Early Christianity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

Edict of

Milan, 313

Fall of West Rome, 476

East – West

Schism, 1054

Fall of EastRome, 1453

2000

0

500

1000

1500

100

Early

Christianity

NT period

Reformation

Post-Apostolic period

slide15

Early Christianity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

Edict of

Milan, 313

Fall of West Rome, 476

East – West

Schism, 1054

Fall of EastRome, 1453

2000

0

500

1000

1500

100

Early

Christianity

Reformation

Post-Apostolic period

slide16

Early Christianity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

Edict of

Milan, 313

Fall of West Rome, 476

East – West

Schism, 1054

Fall of EastRome, 1453

2000

0

500

1000

1500

100

Early

Christianity

Reformation

Post-Apostolic period

slide17

Early Christianity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

Eusebius gives an account of Constantine’s vision that he had heard from the emperor himself: Constantine with his army was marching, when he looked up to the sun and saw a cross of light above it, and with it the Greek words "ΕνΤούτῳΝίκα“ (Latin "in hoc signovinces," "In this sign,[you shall] conquer”). In the following night he had a dream in which Christ told him that he should use the sign against his enemies. Constantine then put the Chi-Rho sign on his standard.

slide18

Early Christianity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht
slide19

Early Christianity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

Spread of Christianity, 300 to 800 CE

The Agreement at Chalcedon (451) on the Rule of the Church

Rome

New Rome(Constantinople)

Alexandria

Antioch

RomeandConstantinople governed east and west.

Rome was granted priority, but regarded in the East as the first among equals.

Following those two in prestige and influence were Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem.

Jerusalem

330 CE

Constantinople

Rome

Rome

Thessalonica

Ephesus

Ephesus

Antioch

Corinth

Antioch

Carthage

Cyprus

Damascus

Jerusalem

Alexandria

Jerusalem

Alexandria

Centers founded by Paul

slide20

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht
  • I. Diverse Beginnings
  • A variety of texts and contexts
    • not a book but a collection of writings
    • more than 10 different authors from different places and with a wide range of situational objectives
    • a common experience with different interpretations in different contexts
    • new expressions in new ethnic, ideological and political conditions
    • different types of literature
    • A variety of groupings and factions
    • “Jewish” Jesus-followers
    • Pauline Christians
    • Johannine Christians
    • Gnosticizing types of Christianity
    • a host of other groups that we know too little about to label them
slide21

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht
  • I. Diverse Beginnings
    • A variety of traditions and ideas

Imaginary meeting in Jerusalem in the year 100

      • a Jewish teacher from Alexandria, a freed slave from Rome, a philosopher from Athens, a craftsman from Ephesus, a farmer from Edessa, a merchant from Cyprus and a scribe from Nazareth
    • source texts
    • religious heritage
    • views of Jesus
    • ethical obligation
    • Comparison with the beginnings of Islam
      • Organization – Mohammed YES Jesus NO
      • Writings by the founder – Mohammed YES Jesus NO
      • Affirmation of religious heritage – Mohammed NO Jesus YES
      • Access to a finalized body of writings – Muslims YES Christians NO
    • Consequence:
      • Diverse expression among Christian groups
      • Interaction with different religious and cultural traditions
    • Result:
      • potential for conflict and disagreement
      • potential for openness and adaptability
slide22

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht
  • II. Imperial recognition and demand of a unified organization
    • 1. Emergence of a majority movement
  • Within a short period of time, an interconnected movement with
    • a widely accepted “Christian” tradition
    • a common body of scripture
    • a similar liturgy and community life
    • a fairly unified interpretation of Christian faith
    • a cohesive organizational structure
    • 2. An anachronistic misconception
    • 3. Ecclesial power structures are secondary

The office of the pope of Rome: result not precondition of unity

    • before Constantine – no centralized ecclesiastical power structure
    • “after” Constantine – demands for unity from political and imperial quarters
    • the Caesars summoned the Councils, not the bishops

4. Church leaders and bishops support diversity

The agenda of church leaders and bishops was quite contrary to that. They wanted

    • to defend their own particular and local distinctiveness
    • to preserve their different theological tradition
    • to guard their independence
slide23

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht
  • II. Imperial recognition and demand of a unified organization
    • Emergence of a majority movement
    • 2. An anachronistic misconception
    • Ecclesial power structures are secondary
    • Church leaders and bishops support diversity
    • 5. The Emperor recognizes the potential of an Empire religion

6. Conclusion:

The emerging organized and hierarchical uniformity of Christianity

    • was not due to some intrigues in the dark corridors of the Roman Church
    • was due to the political (imperial) demand for unity, and the legal ratification of the office of bishop

It was the emperor of the Roman Empire who initiated and enforced an increasingly unified organization and regulation of church hierarchy.

slide24

Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

  • CH 1000 – History of Christianity
  • Dieter Mitternacht

III. Ecclesial networking and commonality

The bishops that came to Nicaea

  • read same texts, tell same stories
    • demand confession in a triune God from those who were to be baptized
    • similar views on church leadership, similar barriers towards Gentiles
    • similar rules for live, similar sanctions against those who brake the rules
    • Traveling ministries and letter writing

Paul, Irenaeus, Origen, Clement of A., Cyprianus, Ignatius, Didache

2. Mutual consultation

3. Conflict management

4. Universal recognition

5. Small numbers, but…

    • Roman Empire = 40 to 60 milion people around the year 300 CE
    • Christians = 8 to10% of the population, i.e. approx. 4 to 5 million
    • dispersed over the whole Empire, in independent local communities
  • Conclusion

Political power was negligible, yet the Christians attracted the emperor’s attention through their ability be united in diversity