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Chapter 7 Section 5
Rise of Christianity
Beginning of Christianity
Allowed conquered people’s to practice own religion-as long as they honored
Roman gods and the emperor
Most were polytheistic- so not a problem
Jews and Roman Empire
Most lived in Judea-Province in AD 6
Not required to honor Roman Gods – would violate belief in one god.
Zealots believed Judaism would be weakened by outside influences- supported
Some believed a Messiah would be sent by God to lead the Jews to freedom
AD 66 thru 70 – Jews revolt against Rome
o Romans sack Jerusalem destroy all but western wall of the Solomon’s
Second Temple now known as “Wailing Wall”
o Rabbi’s – Jewish scholars and learned in Jewish law- became leaders of
135 AD Roman Army under Hadrian brutally put down last Jewish revolt
o Banned all Jews from Jerusalem
o Jews built outside of city carried on culture and religion
 In this setting Christianity arose –teaching of Jesus of Nazareth
Teachings of Jesus
Began teaching in 27 AD
o Wandered countryside w/ disciples
 Performed miracles of healing and defended poor
o Teaching become greatest influence on Western World
Recorded in 4 Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John- New Testament
Grounded in Jewish traditions
o Only one True God
o Cares for people more than laws and rituals
o Promised forgiveness and eternal life
Death of Jesus
Fear of Jesus leading an uprising
o Tried by Pontius Pilate- Roman Governor
o Crucified
o Arose from dead after crucifixion
o Remained on earth for 40 days – ascended to heaven
o Ascension proved he was Messiah
Came to be called Jesus Christ
o Christ is Greek for Messiah
 Christ died for sins of human beings
 W/death all people could be redeemed from God’s final judgment
 Resurrection becomes focal point of Christianity
Spread of Christianity
At first spread slowly
o Increased as life in empire becomes more difficult
 Accepted everyone, rich and poor
 Promised hope and freedom from penalties of sin and death
Roman Government viewed Christianity as a Jewish sect- did not have to worship
o By 100 AD recognized difference
 Christians spoke out against polytheism
 Convert others to point of view
o Romans viewed this as attack on religion and law – outlawed Christianity
 Seized property and executed Christians
 Many became martyrs- put to death for beliefs
o Failed to stop spread of Christianity
In 200’s AD violence and unrest shook empire
o Many turned to Christianity for hope
o By 300 AD Christian Church so large that government could not punish
o Roman law accepted Christianity as religion
Romans Adopt Christianity
Situation improved greatly in 312 AD
Constantine declares support for Christianity
o Baptized on his death bed in 337
In 391 Theodosius makes Christianity official religion of Rome
Within 400 years Christianity spreads throughout Rome
Church become organized
o Priests conduct local services and ceremonies
o Bishops head church in each city
o Patriarchs—next level—lead church in major cities such as Rome
Constantinople, Alexandria, and Jerusalem
o Patriarch of Rome took title of Pope or “father”
 Pope claims authority over all others traces authority to Jesus’
disciples—mainly Peter—first Pope
 Decisions made were equivalent to disciples who got authority
from Jesus
325 AD council of Nicaea
o Wrote down main beliefs of church
 Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Ghost
 Central beliefs of Christianity