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Jerusalem and Early Christianity Chapter 6: Jerusalem And Early Christianity Outline Judaism and Early Christianity The Hebrew Bible and Its Message The Beginnings of Christianity Christianity Spreads Early Christian Art Frescoes (Wall Paintings Done on Fresh Plaster) Glass and Sculpture Inscriptions Dura-Europos Constantine and Early Christian Architecture Early Christian Music Timeline: Jerusalem And Early Christianity 1800-1600 BC - Age of the Hebrew Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob 1280 BC - Exodus of Israelites from Egypt under leadership of Moses 1000 BC - Formation of the Scriptures in written form 1000-961 BC - Reign of King David 961-922 BC - Reign of Solomon c. 961- c. 922 BC - Building of Temple of Solomon; city of Megiddo rebuilt by Solomon c. 536-515 BC -Second Temple of Solomon constructed 2nd century BC - Cult of Mithra in Rome End of 2nd century BC - Apocryphal Book of Judith c. 6 B.C. - Birth of Jesus 45-59 AD - First missionary journeys of Saint Paul c. 70 AD - "Sermon on the Mount" in Gospel of Saint Matthew, New Testament c. 81 AD - Arch of Titus, Rome, commemorates victory of Roman army in Jerusalem c. 150 AD - Justin Martyr Apology c. 230-240 AD - Synagogue and House Church at Dura Europos Diagram of Solomon's Temple (961-922 BC), Jerusalem “Romans Taking Spoils of Jerusalem,” detail of marble relief from the Arch of Titus,Rome, c. 81 AD Christianity was nourished and evolved within the context of Judaism. Later, it spread through the Roman Empire, eventually displacing the Roman Pantheon of gods and the Mystery Cults Israel/Palestine about the time of Jesus Early Christian Communities by 185 AD This chapter traces a very long history from the beginnings of the biblical tradition to the emergence of Christianity as a state religion in the Roman Empire, a history so complex that one hesitates to generalize about its shape and significance. Nonetheless, certain points deserve to be highlighted both because they are instructive in their own right and because of their continuing impact on the shape of Western culture. Foundation Stone from the Third Wall of Jerusalem, 41-70 AD., carved limestone, 22 x 40 x 20 inches Rome, 3rd - 4th century AD, Burial Plaque, carved and painted marble Kingdoms of David and Solomon, 1000 – 900 B.C The biblical tradition reveals the emergence of monotheism (a belief in one God) as a leading idea in Western culture. Judaism held the ideal of the uniqueness of God against the polytheistic cultures of Babylonia, Assyria, and Egypt. That idea carried over into Christianity and became a point of conflict with Roman culture. The Roman charge that Christians were atheists meant not that they denied the existence of God but that they rejected the Roman gods. The often-unspoken name of the Jewish God, Variously translated as God, Yahweh, Elohim, Jehovah This notion of a single God – set the Jewish people against their Middle-Eastern neighbors and against the entire Roman Empire. The Jewish faith was iconoclastic and resisted figurative descriptions of spiritual truths The entire biblical tradition had a very strong ethical emphasis. The prophets never ceased to argue that the external practice of religion was worthless unless there was a "pure heart." Jesus preached essentially the same thing in his famous criticisms of those who would pray publicly but secretly, in his words, "devour the substance of widows." Virgin and Child, Cemetery of Priscilla, c 250 A.D. The figure to the left has been identified as a prophetic figure, perhaps the prophet Isaiah This ethic was rooted in the biblical notion of Prophetism - the belief that people could be called by God to denounce injustice in the face of hostility either from their own religious establishment or from equally hostile civil governments. Such prophetic protest, inspired by the biblical message, was always a factor in subsequent Judaism and Christianity. This virtue also inspired the martyrs’ fervor of early Christians, who suffered greatly for their beliefs Christ Teaching the Apostles, Catacomb of Domitilla, Rome, c. 300 AD Both Judaism and Christianity insisted on a personal God who was actively involved with the world of humanity to the degree that there was a covenant between God and people and that the world was created and sustained by God as a gift for humans. This was a powerful doctrine that flew in the face of the ancient belief in impersonal fate controlling the destiny of people or a pessimism about the goodness or reliability of the world as we have it and live in it. Good Shepherd, c 300 AD, marble The biblical belief in the providence of God would have an enormous impact on later Western culture in everything from shaping its philosophy of history (that history moves in a linear fashion and has a direction to it) to an optimism about the human capacity to understand the world and make its secrets known for the benefit of people. Western culture never accepted, at least as a majority opinion, that the physical world itself was sacred or an illusion. It was, rather, a gift to be explored and at times exploited. Frescos of events from Hebrew Scriptures, Dura-Europos, Roman outpost at Damascus Syria, c 245 AD. Finally, the Jewish and Christian tradition produced a work of literature: the Bible. The significance of that production can best be understood in the subsequent chapters of this book. It will soon become clear that a good deal of what the humanistic tradition of art, literature, and music produced until well into the modern period is unintelligible if not seen as an ongoing attempt to interpret that text in various artistic media according to the needs of the age. Constantine – the first Christian Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity – 313 AD Moved Capital of Empire to Constantinople – 330 AD Pieces from Colossal Statue of Constantine I (324 – 332 AD), marble, from the Basilica of Constantine in the Forum Romanum. Old Saint Peter’s Basilica – Basilica of Constantine Rome, c. 333 AD Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem, c. 345 AD Early Christian Music •Drew on Jewish sources •Singing (chanting) religious texts •Adapted to local traditions •Often carried on by trained professionals •Christians mistrusted music because of its way of arousing sensuality and emotion •Controlled by response, repetition Blind Harper of Leiden, detail from tomb of Paatenmmheb, Saqqara, c. 1340 – 1330 B.C.