Lecture 16: Later Rome & the Rise of Christianity

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(Duiker 142-146; Brians optional: 122, required: 107-121)

Library assignment due today. Questions about Duiker: What was the general Roman attitude toward other religions? What qualities led many people to the mystery religions of the Hellenistic east? Who were the Zealots? What were the some of the teachings of Jesus, as discussed in Duiker? *Why is Paul important? Why did the Romans view the Christians as harmful? *What qualities made it attractive? Why is the Emperor Constantine important in the history of Christianity?

Questions about "Selections from the Christian Scriptures:" What is different about the passage from Isaiah and the passage as Matthew quotes it? What is the significance of this difference? In the story of the Baptism of Jesus, what is the meaning of the imagery of the grain and the chaff? What image is used to depict the Holy Spirit? In "A miracle based on faith" what is it that Jesus says has caused the woman to be healed? How does Matthew 5: 38-48 say Christians should treat their enemies? *What kinds of people do the Beatitudes say are blessed? According to Matthew 7:13-23, which is easier, salvation or damnation? *What is the attitude toward planning for the future expressed in the passage entitled "The ascetic ideal?" Compare the attitudes expressed in this passage to those expressed in Marcus Aurelius' Meditations. What do they have in common? What differs? What aspects of the account of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus seem to lessen the responsibility of the Romans for Jesus' death? Why would the story of the Last Supper have been more acceptable to non-Jews than to Jews? According to Romans 3:21-28, what makes all Christians equal? What arguments does Paul use against marriage? What does he say are reasons one should get married? In what way has the Catholic Church embraced the concept of celibacy? According to the last selection from Revelation, what will be different about the world after God comes to live with his peoples?

Question about Tacitus: What were the main accusations brought against the Christians?

Question about "The Apostles' Creed:" To what belief does the phrase "he descended into hell" refer? *What is the future role of Jesus said to be?

Question about "The Nicene Creed": What aspects of Jesus' career are most emphasized in this creed? In what ways does it differ from the Apostle's Creed?

Question about St. Augustine: "The Nature of Good and Evil;" Can you find any flaws in his argument that there is no contradiction between a perfectly good God and a universe containing evil? (If you are interested in this question, you might like to explore my analysis of it at http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/hum_303/evil.html).

Lecture Topics:
Jewish background of Christianity
Jesus
Paul
Jewish reaction to Christianity
Romans and Christians
Early church architecture
Dominance of Christianity
Early Christian imagery

Table used in today's lecture:

Jewish Messiah Christian Messiah
Fully human, chosen by God Divine offspring or God himself
Military leader and ruler Peaceful prophetic preacher and miracle-worker
Upholds traditional law Expands and revises traditional law
Rules the entire world from Jerusalem Establishes Heavenly kingdom ("My kingdom is not of this world.")
Lives forever, bringing with him an era of immortality and justice for the faithful, destruction (or--later--damnation) the wicked. Dies, but is resurrected to give his followers eternal rewards, for those who reject him, eternal damnation after death.
The world is transformed both physically and spiritually upon the arrival of the Messiah. The transformation of the world is postponed until the second coming of the Messiah.
The Messiah has not yet come Jesus was the Messiah



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