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Chapter 1: Source of the Democratic Tradition 2000 B.C.E. – A.D 1689
Section 4: The Rise of Christianity
Question: Who was Jesus of Nazareth?
I. Jesus of Nazareth
All we know of Jesus of Nazareth comes from the accounts to Mathew, Mark,
Luke, and John, four followers of Jesus
 Gospel comes from the Old English word fro “good news”
 Jesus parents Mary and Joseph from Nazareth travel to Bethlehem which is not
far from Jerusalem where Jesus was born in 4 B.C.E.
II. Early Life
 Jesus was a descendant of King David through his parents and was believed to be
the messiah (a savior sent by God to lead the Jews to freedom)
 Jesus grew up in in the small town of Nazareth and worked as a carpenter like
his father and followed Jewish laws
 Went around preaching the word of God by using short stories with a moral
lesson to communicate his ideas for three years before going to Jerusalem
 Jesus’ preaching upset some Jewish leaders, because he interpreted the laws
He taught the need for justice, morality and service to others (poor)
Jesus arrived in Jerusalem around Passover, a celebration of the exodus of the Jews
from Egypt.
Many Jews welcomed Jews, but the Chief high presets considered Jesus a
troublemaker and his teaching could upset the Roman Prefect or Roman military
official in Jerusalem.
The fear was Jesus teaching could inflame the Jews eager to end Roman rule and
cause a Roman crack down on the Jews and cause thousands of Jews deaths.
The chief Jewish priest decide to have Jesus arrested.
One of Jesus disciples betrayed him and led a group of Roman soldiers to him and
they arrested him.
After he was arrest and brought before the Jews council and questions, he was turn
over to the Roman Prefect with a recommendation of execution. The Roman Prefect
then had him executed by crucifixion
Crucifixion is a method of executing criminals, a person was nailed to or hung on a
cross and left to die.
Question: How does Christianity Spread?
I. Work of Paul
 After Jesus’ death, his disciples spread his teachings throughout the Roman
empire, They started with preaching only among Jews in Judea.
 Jews that who accepted the teachings that Jesus was the messiah became the
first Christians, or followers of Jesus Christ, from the Greek word for ‘the
anointed one”
 The apostle Peter established Christianity in the city of Rome itself
 Paul was originally know as Saul helped to separate Christianity from Judaism
 Paul did this by teaching Gentiles or non –Jews.
II. A New Covenant
 Christianity remain a sec with in Judaism
 Jesus as the messiah and the center of their faith, all Hebrew scriptures an Torah,
later these writings would be called the Old Testament in the Bible.
 Christian writings about Jesus, including the Gospels and Paul's letters become
the New testament.
 The New Testament represents the new covenant with God
III. Persecution
Romans were usually tolerant towards other religions, except Judaism and Christianity, because they
refused to make sacrifices to the emperor
Romans began persecuting them, especially when there was trouble in the empire
Nero used the Christian as scapegoats for social and economic hard times
Both Peter and Paul were killed in Rome during the Reign of Nero
IV. Reason for Christianity Appeal
Religion rooted in Jewish faith, naturally appealed to Jews
Ethics also generated broad interest
Jesus welcomed all people; humble, poor and oppressed
Found comfort in the message of love
Belief in equality and dignity of all and the promise of life beyond the grave
Add ideas of Plato, Stoics and other Greek thinkers and increase the appeal to educated Romans
Missionaries spread Christianity through the Roman Roads and across the Mediterranean sea
Edict of Milan—issued by Constantine, granting freedom of worship
Question: What was the Christian Church?
During the middle ages, the Christian church emerged as the
most powerful force in Europe
I. The Early Communities
 All members were equal and called each other “brother” or
 Women led the way and served as teachers or administrators
 Clergy—performed religious ceremonies
 Had priests were controlled by bishops who were controlled by
the pope (a.k.a. patriarch of Rome)
II. The Medieval Church
 Church splits after fall of Rome—eastern (Orthodox Church 
anti-pope) and western (Roman Catholic Church  pope)
 Roman Catholic Church grew stronger and began to run gov’t
III. Philosophy
Ideas of Aristotle and other Greek thinkers were translated into Latin and spread into
Western Europe and challenged Christian beliefs (faith vs. reason)
Thomas Aquinas—Christian scholar, brought together Christian faith and Greek
philosophy  stated both faith and reason existed in harmony (God ruled over an
orderly universe)IV>
IV. The Judeo-Christian Tradition
Judaism is still a major religion in the world today
Contributed and strongly influence Christianity and Islam, two other monotheistic
faiths that arose in the Middle East
Today Jews, Christians and Muslims all honor Abraham, Moses, and the prophets
Judeo-Christian principles played a central role in the development of the democratic