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Chapter 8
A history of the Jewish people
Sacred practices
Holy days
Contemporary Judaism
Key terms
mitzvah (plural: mitzvot)
Orthodox Judaism
Reform or Liberal Judaism
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You
shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all
your soul and with all your might. Take to heart these
instructions with which I charge you this day. Impress them
upon your children. Recite them when you stay at home and
when you are away, when you lie down and when you get
up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as
a symbol on your forehead; inscribe them on the doorposts
of your house and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9
“What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor:
that is the entire Torah;
the rest is commentary;
go and learn it.
Hillel the Elder
c. 1900-1700 BCE
c. 1300-1200
c. 1010-970
c. 535
168 BCE
70 CE
c. 90
c. 200
c. 500
c. 1720-1780
1948 CE
Abraham, the 1st patriarch
Moses frees Israelites from Egypt
David, king of Judah and Israel
King Solomon builds 1st Temple
Northern kingdom of Israel falls
Southern kingdom of Judah falls
Jews return to Jerusalem
Maccabean Revolt
Romans destroy 2nd Temple
Canon of Tanakh set
Mishnah compiled
Babylonian Talmud completed
Crusaders massacre Jews
Enlightenment in Europe
Holocaust, World War II
State of Israel declared
The world
of the
Judaism, which has no single founder and no central leader or group
making theological decisions, is the diverse tradition associated with
the Jewish people, who may be defined either as a religious group or
as an ethnic group.
A History of the Jewish People
The Jewish sense of history begins with the
stories recounted in the Hebrew Bible or
Jews hold the “five books of Moses” as the
most sacred part of the scriptures
The theme of exile reappears continually in
the Hebrew Bible, and in later Jewish history
the people are rendered homeless again and
Biblical History
Begins with the creation of the world by a
supreme deity, or God
Progresses through:
the patriarchs and matriarchs
Moses who spoke with God and led the people
according to God’s commandments
the prophets who heard God’s warnings to those
who strayed from the commandments
Biblical History
After the Tanakh:
After the holy center of Judaism, the Temple of
Jerusalem, was captured and destroyed by the
Romans in 70 CE, Jewish history is that of a
dispersed people, finding unity in their evolving
teachings and traditional practices, which were
eventually codified in the great compendium of
Jewish law and lore, the Talmud.
Biblical Stories
From creation to the God of Abraham
Hebrew scriptures begin with an account of the
creation of heaven and earth by God in six days
A unique belief introduced into Jewish theology
was the idea of a special covenantal relationship
between the Jewish people and God
Early Monotheism
Scholars disagree on whether pure monotheism
was practiced by the early patriarchs
Biblical Stories
 Israel’s Birth in Struggle
The story in which a human being struggles
and finally is reborn at a higher level of
spirituality has been taken as a metaphor for
the spiritual evolution of the people of Israel
 Egypt: Bondage and Exodus
According to the scriptural Book of Exodus,
Moses was chosen by God to defy the
pharaoh and lead the people out of bondage,
out of Egypt
Biblical Stories
 From the Wilderness to Canaan
Acceptance of the laws given to Moses at
Mount Sinai brought a new dimension to the
covenant between God and Israel
Carrying the ark representing this covenant,
the Israelites had to wander for forty years
through the desert before they could re-enter
the promised land, fertile Canaan, which at
that time belonged to other peoples
Moses parts the Red Sea in
a 10th-century Byzantine
manuscript illumination.
Biblical Stories
 The First Temple of Jerusalem
David, the second king of Israel, is remembered
as Israel’s greatest king
Under the reign of King Solomon (son of David), a
great temple was built in Jerusalem
The temple became the central place for sacrifice
in Judaism
In 586 BCE the great walls of Jerusalem were
battered down and its buildings put to the torch by
the Babylonians
Return to Jerusalem
After fifty years of exile in Babylon, a small group of devoted Jews returned to
their holy city and land, now called Judaea.
King Cyrus authorized the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem, which was
completed in 515 BCE.
The second temple became the central symbol to a scattered Jewish nation.
Three Sects
Under the Hasmonean kings, three sects of Jews formed in Judaea:
 Sadducees: priests and wealthy businesspeople,
conservatives intent on preserving the letter of the
 Pharisees: more liberal citizens from all classes who
sought to study the applications of the Torah to
everyday life
 A third general movement was uncompromising in its
piety and its disgust with what it considered a
corrupted priesthood
 Spurred by anti-Roman militias called Zealots, some
Jews rose up in armed rebellion against Rome in 66
 The rebellion was suppressed, and the Jewish defenders
were slaughtered in the holy walled city of Jerusalem In 70
 A second ultimately disastrous revolt followed in 132
 Judaea was renamed Palestine after the ancient
Philistines. Judaism no longer had a physical heart or
a geographic center
Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbis and the messianic movement survived the
destruction of Judaea
 Rabbis:
 inheritors of the Pharisee tradition
 founders of rabbinic Judaism, which has defined the major
forms of Jewish practice over the last 2,000 years
 teachers, religious decision-makers, and creators of liturgical
 The messianic movement :
 formed around Jesus of Nazareth, later known as
Rabbis’ Work
The rabbis:
• thoroughly interpret Hebrew scriptures
• apply the biblical teachings to their contemporary
lives, in very different cultural circumstances from
those of the ancients
• interpret scripture in ways acceptable to
contemporary values
Judaism in the Middle Ages
 In the early centuries of the Common Era, the Jewish population
of the land of Israel declined
 Life under Islamic rule was intellectually exciting for the Jewish
 From time to time Jews were threatened by intolerant Muslim
rulers and were forced to flee to other territories
 Jews who lived in Christian countries became expendable, and
throughout the later Middle Ages there was a steady pattern of
expulsions of Jews from countries in which they had long lived
 Beginning in 1095, Jews became victims of mobs of Christian
 There was deterioration of Jewish life in western Europe in the
twelfth through seventeenth centuries
Mystical Yearning
 Kabbalah
 Hasidism
Judaism and Modernity
“Enlightenment Jews”
Orthodox Judaism
Reform Judaism
Today, the United States, with approximately six
million Jews, has the largest Jewish population in the
After World War I
 In the aftermath of Germany’s defeat in World War I and the
desperate economic conditions that followed, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi
Party bolstered its popular support by blaming the Jews for all of
Germany’s problems
 With Hitler’s rise to power, acts of violence against Jews in
Germany were instigated
 Laws were passed that separated Jews from the rest of the
population and deprived them of their legal and economic rights
 By 1942, large-scale death camps had been set up by the Nazis
to facilitate the “final solution”
The Holocaust
For many Jews the defining event of the
twentieth century was the Holocaust, the
murder of almost six million European Jews
by the Nazi leadership of Germany during
World War II
These Jews constituted over a third of the
Jewish people in the world and half of all
Jews in Europe.
Holocaust monument, Miami, Florida
Zionism and Contemporary Israel
 Zionism is the Jewish movement dedicated to the establishment
of a politically viable, internationally recognized Jewish state in
the biblical land of Israel
 In 1947 the United Nations decided to partition Palestine into
two areas, one to be governed by Jews and the other by Arabs
with Jerusalem an international zone
 The Arabs did not accept the partition
 In 1948 Israel was declared an independent Jewish state with
full rights for minorities
 As soon as British troops moved out, Israel was attacked by its
Arab neighbors—Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt
 From time to time, a negotiated peace has seemed almost
possible, but it has not yet happened
Jewish teachings are known as the Torah
The one God
Love for God
The sacredness of human life
Suffering and Faith
Sacred Practices
 scriptural study
 remembering God in all aspects of life
 ritual circumcision
 what one eats is of cosmic significance
 giving thanks continually
 the Sabbath
 Bar Mitzvah
California family prays over challah before the Sabbath meal.
Holy Days
Judaism follows an ancient lunar calendar of annual
holidays and memorials linked to special events in
 Rosh Hashanah
 Yom Kippur
 Sukkot
 Hanukkah
 Purim
 Passover
 Holocaust Remembrance Day
 Shavuot
Worshippers blow shofaroth on Rosh Hashanah in Jerusalem.
Contemporary Judaism
 Historic ethnic lines:
 Ashkenazim
 Sephardim
 Distinctions among Jews who are religiously observant:
 Orthodox
 Reform
 Conservative
Jewish Feminism
 Some feminists are coming back to religious observance
 Since the mid-twentieth century, women have taken an active role in
claiming their rights to full religious participation
 They are redefining Judaism from a feminist perspective
Jewish Renewal
Both men and women from varied backgrounds are being attracted to
newly revitalized expressions of Jewish spirituality, and conversions to
Judaism seem to be increasing.
Ancient Israel
 2000 BCE – Abraham is called from Ur in Mesopotamia to
Canaan by Yahweh
 1600 BCE – Hebrews leave Canaan for Egypt
 1250 BCE – Moses and Hebrews leave Egypt (Exodus) and
return to Canaan
 1000 stBCE – Israelites establish a monarchy under Saul –
the 1 Hebrew King
 1000 – 961 BCE – David is King
 961 – 922 BCE – Solomon is King
 922 BCE – Kingdom splits into 2 – Israel and Judah
 722 BCE – Israel falls to the Assyrians
 600 -550 BCE – Hebrew Torah and other Holy writings are
compiled into their final form
 587 BCE – Judah falls to Chaldaeans under Nebuchadnezzar
II and the Hebrews are enslaved and taken to Babylon
(Babylonian Captivity)
 539 BCE – Persians conquer Chaldaeans and return
Hebrews to homeland
 500 BCE – Hebrews rebuild Temple to Yahweh (2nd
temple period)
 70-72 CE – 1st Jewish Rebellion against Roman rule –
Romans take Jerusalem and destroy the 2nd Temple
under Titus
 115-117 CE – 2nd Jewish rebellion against Rome –
Romans destroy Jerusalem, ban Jews from entering the
city, and then remove them from Judah and place them
all over the Roman Empire (Diaspora).
 117 CE – Jerusalem is renamed Aelius Capitolinus and a
new Temple of Venus is built where the Temple was
 Judaism is the religious culture of the Jewish People and
is one of the world's oldest religions.
 Judaism makes up the cultural system of Jewish law,
custom, and practice of the whole individual and
 It is a system in which everyone is under God's rule.
 Judaism originated in the Middle East and has spread
throughout all parts of the world because of both
voluntary migrations and forced exile or expulsions.
 The total world Jewish population is about 15 million,
most of whom live in the United States, Israel, and the
former Union of Soviet Socialist Republic.
 With the many historical forms of Judaism, they all share
similar characteristics.
 The most essential characteristic is the belief in one God
who created the universe and continues to rule it.
 The God who created the world revealed himself to the
Israelites at Mount Sinai.
 The content of that revelation makes up the Torah, God's
will for humankind stated in his commandments.
 A second major concept in Judaism is that of the covenant,
or agreement, between God and the Jewish people. The
Jews would acknowledge God, agreeing to obey his laws.
God, in turn, would acknowledge Israel as his chosen
 The Bible is the word of God
 Jewish People believe that goodness and obedience will
be rewarded and sin punished by God’s judgment after
death. Then at the end of times, God will send his
Messiah to redeem the Jews and deliver them to their
Promised Land.
 Although all forms of Judaism come from the Hebrew
bible, Judaism is mainly derived from the rabbinic
movement during the first centuries of the Christian era.
At the turn of the 3rd century, the rabbis, or Jewish
sages, produced the Mishnah, the earliest document of
rabbinic literature.
 In North America today, the four main branches of
Judaism are Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and
Reconstructionist. Within these denominations
themselves, however, there is a great degree of variation
in practice and observance.
 Orthodox - is the modern classification for the traditional
section of Jewry that upholds the halakhic way of life as
illustrated in a divinely ordained Torah. Halakha refers to
the legal aspect of Judaism, and is also used to indicate
a definitive ruling in any particular area of Jewish law.
 It includes extreme orthodoxy which is called
Torah is literal word of God.
 Reform Judaism (also known as Liberal or Progressive
Judaism) - subjects religious law and customs to human
judgment, attempting to differentiate between the facets
of the Torah that are divine mandate and those that are
specific to the time in which they were written.
 Conservative Judaism - developed mainly in the
twentieth century as a reaction to Reform Judaism's
liberalism. It sought to conserve tradition by applying
new, historical methods of study within the boundaries
of Jewish law to the mainstream of American society. It
is the largest denomination of the four.
 Reconstructionism - is the most recent denomination
within Judaism, and, rejecting the assertion that the
Torah was given to Moses at Mount Sinai, views Judaism
as a continual process of evolution, incorporating the
inherited Jewish beliefs and traditions with the needs of
the modern world.
 In addition to the four main branches, there are several
other noteworthy Jewish movements. Jewish Renewal is
a transdenominational movement grounded in Judaism's
prophetic and mystical traditions. It seeks to restore the
spiritual vitality of the 19th century Hasidic movement,
yet like the Reconstructionist movement, believes that
Judaism is an evolving religious civilization. Therefore,
Jewish Renewal regards men and women as fully equal
and welcomes homosexuals and converts.
 Secular Humanistic Judaism is a movement begun in the
1960s which embraces "a human-centered philosophy
that combines rational thinking with a celebration of
Jewish culture and identity." In the Humanistic Jewish
view, the focus is not on a relationship with God or
religious ritual but in a belief that the "secular roots of
Jewish life are as important as the religious ones." The
emphasis is therefore placed on celebrating the Jewish
human experience, and Jewish tradition, culture, ethics,
values, and relationships.
 In Judaism, the Messiah or the Anointed One is the
Hebrew name for the promised deliverer of humanity.
 A human ruler that will free Israel and bring redemption.
 Christians accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
 However, the Jewish religion contends that the Messiah
is yet to come and Jesus Christ was a false prophet, a
Worship and Practices
 From tradition, Jewish people pray in a congregation
three times a day. The study of Torah, the revealed will
of God, also is considered an act of worship.
 The Torah is read religiously each Sabbath. The Sabbath
is spent in prayer, study, rest, and family feasting.
 Over the course of a year, the entire Torah will be read
on Sabbath and festival days.
 The Jewish year includes five major festivals— Passover,
Shabuoth, Sukkot, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur—
and two minor ones— Hanukkah and Purim.
 Yom Kippur is a holiday that falls on the tenth day of the
month of Tishri in the Jewish calendar. (September or
October on the American calendar.)
 It is the most important day of the Ten Penitential Days,
which begins the New Year. Yom Kippur is the most
sacred of all Jewish holidays.
 Yom Kippur is a day for confession, repentance, and
prayers for forgiveness of wrongdoings committed
during the year against God and His covenant.
 It is also the day in which a Jewish person’s fate is set
for the upcoming year. Jewish people spend the day
fasting and almost never ending prayer.
 Chanukkah is an annual Jewish festival celebrated throughout
eight consecutive days. It is celebrated on the 25th day in the
Jewish month of Kislev, which usually falls in December. It
includes minor gift giving, playing traditional games and prayer.
 Hanukkah honors the rededication of the Jewish faith to God after
years of being oppressed by the Greek king of Syria and Palestine.
 The Festival of Sukkot begins on Tishri 15, the fifth day after Yom
Kippur. It is quite a drastic transition, from one of the most solemn
holidays in our year to one of the most joyous.
 This festival is sometimes referred to as Zeman Simkhateinu, the
Season of our Rejoicing. Sukkot lasts for seven days. The two days
following the festival are separate holidays, but are commonly
thought of as part of Sukkot.
 The word "Sukkot" means "booths," and refers to the temporary
dwellings that we are commanded to live in during this holiday. It
refers to the 40 years of wandering in the desert living in temporary
shelters. These are made in the home now where all meals are
taking during the festival.
 The name of the holiday is frequently translated "The Feast of
Tabernacles," which, like many translations of technical Jewish
terms, isn't terribly useful unless you already know what the term is
referring to.
 It is an originally agricultural festival, celebrating the harvest.
 Shabuoth (Shavuot), the Festival of Weeks, is the
second of the three major festivals with both historical
and agricultural significance (the other two are Passover
and Sukkot). Agriculturally, it commemorates the time
when the first fruits were harvested and brought to the
Temple, and is known as Hag ha-Bikkurim (the Festival
of the First Fruits). It is also called Pentecost (as it is 50
days after Passover)
 Historically, it celebrates the giving of the Torajh at
Mount Sinai, and is also known as Hag Matan Torateinu
(the Festival of the Giving of Our Torah).
 Passover begins on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan. It
is the first of the three major festivals with both historical and
agricultural significance .
 Agriculturally, it represents the beginning of the harvest season in
Israel, but little attention is paid to this aspect of the holiday.
 The primary observances of Passover are related to the Exodus
from Egypt after 400 years of slavery. This story is told in Exodus,
Ch. 1-15. Many of the Passover observances are instituted in Chs.
 It is the most well known as well, since it is supposedly at
Passover that Jesus had the Last Supper meal (seder).
 Rosh Hoshana is Jewish New Year, the first two days of
the month of Tishrei (usually September).
 It is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve
 Begins with the sounding of the shofar (ram’s horn)
 Some Jews believe God decides each who will live , who
will die and even the continued existence of the universe
is decided on these days
 Purim is the Jewish festival commemorating the
deliverance of Jews in Persia by Esther from Haman’s
plot to destroy them as described in the biblical book of
Esther. Held in late winter (between Hanukkah and
Passover), on the 14th of Adar (usually March).
 The day before one is supposed to fast as Esther did
before she met with the Persian king (her husband) to
stop Haman’s massacre
 On the 14th one is to drink and be merry, to dress up in
costumes, to hold beauty contests, etc. all to blot out
the memory of Haman – sort of a Jewish Mardi
 Mitzvots – are the commandments in the Bible
 There are not 10 – there are 613
 Most are found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy but some
are in Exodus and a few in Genesis
 To see them all:
Some for fun
 Not to indulge in familiarities with relatives, such as
kissing, embracing, winking, skipping, which may lead to
incest (Lev. 18:6)
 Not to commit sodomy with one's father (Lev. 18:7)
 Not to have intercourse with a woman, in her menstrual
period (Lev. 18:19)
 Not to castrate the male of any species; neither a man,
nor a domestic or wild beast, nor a fowl (Lev. 22:24)
Some more for fun
 Not to eat flesh with milk (Ex. 34:26)
 Not to eat the flesh of an ox that was condemned to be
stoned (Ex. 21:28)
 Not to compel the Hebrew servant to do the work of a slave
(Lev. 25:39)
 To keep the Canaanite slave forever (Lev. 25:46)
 That the violator (of an unbetrothed virgin) shall marry her
(Deut. 22:28-29)
 Not to wear garments made of wool and linen mixed
together (Deut. 22:11)
 That a man, having a running issue, defiles (Lev. 15:1-15)
 To exterminate the seven Canaanite nations from the land
of Israel (Deut. 20:17)
Chapter 9
Historical evidence
Sacred practices
Evidence of the Bible
Contemporary trends
The life and teachings of Jesus
The early Church
Church administration
Intellectual revival and monasticism
Medieval mysticism
The Protestant Reformation
The Roman Catholic Reformation
Liberal trends
The Second Vatican Council
The Orthodox world today
Central beliefs in contemporary Christianity
Key terms
Common Era
Holy Trinity
original sin
“Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor
gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by
being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?”
Matthew 6:25-27
“There is but one person in the poor--Jesus. To be able to
love him with undivided love we take a vow of poverty which
frees us from all material possessions. We bind ourselves to
be one of [the poor], to depend solely on divine providence, to
have nothing, yet possess all things in possessing Christ.”
Mother Teresa
c. 4 BCE-33 CE
c. 50-60 CE
c. 150
c. 1720-1780
Life of Jesus
St. Paul organizes early Christians
Last New Testament writings
Constantine sponsors Christianity
Council of Nicaea affirms Jesus’ divinity
St. Augustine formulates Western doctrine
St. Benedict defines Western monasticism
Orthodox and Catholics split
The Crusades
The Inquisitions begin
Gutenberg prints the Bible
Martin Luther publishes 95 Theses
Council of Trent
The Enlightenment in Europe
The 2nd Vatican Council
Approximate distribution of Christians in the world today
Christianity is a faith based on the life, teachings, death, and
resurrection of Jesus.
Andrei Rublev’s
The Holy Trinity is the most
developed form of the
Russian genre of God’s
appearance to Abraham at
Historical Evidence
 There is very little historical proof of the life of Jesus, but extensive
scholarly research has turned up some shreds of evidence
 While historical evidence of the life of Jesus is very skimpy, more is
known about the milieu into which he was born
Evidence of the Bible
 Many Christians feel that the true story of Jesus can be found in the
 Given the textual complexity of the Bible, some Christians have
attempted to clarify what Jesus taught and how he lived, so that people
might truly follow him
Biblical Texts
Christian beliefs about the life and teachings
of Jesus are especially founded on biblical
first four books of the New Testament:
Matthew John, Mark and Luke
written about forty to sixty years after Jesus’ death
based on the oral transmission of the stories and
discourses, which may have been influenced by
the growing split between Christians and Jews
The Life and Teaching of
The stories of the New Testament are important to Christians as the
foundation of their faith
The Life and Teaching of
 Birth
Jesus is the divine Son of God who “became
flesh” by being conceived and born as a human
 Preparation
According to all four gospels, at the age of about
thirty Jesus appeared before John to be baptized
After being baptized, Jesus reportedly undertook a
forty-day retreat in the desert wilderness, fasting
The Life and Teaching of Jesus
 Ministry
 Jesus warned his disciples that they would have to
leave all their possessions and human attachments to
 Jesus is said to have performed many miracles
 It was his mission to gather everyone together who
could be saved
 Jesus:
preached and lived by radical ethics
extended the application of Jewish laws
taught love
preached that God is forgiving to those who repent
The Life and Teaching of Jesus
Challenges to the Authorities
Herod Antipas may have been concerned
that Jesus might be a troublemaker
According to the gospels, Jesus was also
regarded with suspicion by prominent Jewish
Jesus seems not to have challenged Mosaic law
but, rather, its interpretations in the evolving
rabbinic traditions and the hypocrisy of some of
those who claimed to be living by the law
Jesus is said to have also confronted the
commercial interests in the Temple of Jerusalem
The Life and Teaching of Jesus
 The anti-institutional tenor of Jesus’ teachings did not endear
him to those in power
 At the Last Supper, he is said to have given instructions for a
ceremony with bread and wine to be performed thenceforth
to maintain an ongoing communion with him
 Jesus was accused of having attributed divinity to himself
and thus showing a lack of reverence for God, a crime
punishable by death according to Jewish law
 Pilate turns him over to his military guard for execution by
crucifixion, a form of death by torture widely used within the
Roman Empire
The Three
The Life and Teaching of
 Resurrection and Ascension
 It was the Resurrection that turned defeat into victory for
Jesus, and discouragement into hope for his followers
 The Resurrection became the basis for the Christian hope of
salvation through belief in Jesus
 Some Christians believe that Jesus miraculously ascended
bodily into the highest heaven, an invisible realm in the sky
where God is sitting with Jesus beside him, as an advocate
for his faithful followers
 Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension give rise to the Christian
belief in life after death for those who believe in God
The Early Church
Testing their faith, persecution became the lot
of Jesus’ followers
By 380 CE, despite strong opposition,
Christianity became the official religion of the
vast Roman Empire
The earliest years of what became the
mainstream of Christianity are described in
the New Testament books that follow the
gospel accounts of the life of Jesus
Evolving Organization
and Theology
By the end of the first century CE, Christianity had a bureaucracy that
carried on the rites of the Church and attempted to define mainstream
Christianity, denigrating trends that it judged heretical
Early Monasticism
 Alongside the development of doctrine and the consolidation of Church
structure, another trend was developing
 Some Christians were turning away from the world to live in solitary
communion with God, as ascetics
Church Administration
 Late first and early second centuries CE
 Some men and women had followed a charismatic
Christian life, leaving home to preach, baptize,
prophesy, and perhaps die as martyrs; others had
moved toward an institutionalized patriarchal Church
 Beginning of the second century CE
 A consolidation of spiritual power had begun with the
designation of specific people to serve as clergy and
bishops (superintendents) to administer the Church
affairs of each city or region
East-West Division
 The eastern part of Christendom did not accept the
absolute claims of the papacy
 By the early Middle Ages, there were also doctrinal
Social Chaos and the Papacy
In the Western Church, centralization of
power under the pope became a major
unifying element in the Europe of the Middle
Intellectual Revival
and Monasticism
Twelfth and thirteenth centuries:
Great universities developed in Europe, often from
cathedral schools.
Theology was considered the greatest of the
Soaring Gothic cathedrals were built to uplift the
soul to heavenly heights.
The yearning for spiritual purity was particularly
pronounced in monasticism.
It was largely through monks and nuns that
Christian spirituality survived and spread.
Priests chant in the 12th-century St. George Church in Ethiopia.
Medieval Mysticism
Mysticism also flowered during the Middle Ages, renewing the spiritual
heart of the Church
The Protestant Reformation
Despite the genuine piety of individuals within
the Catholic Church, some who clashed with
its authority claimed that those in power
seemed often to have lost touch with their
own spiritual tradition
 Martin Luther
 Ulrich Zwingli
 John Calvin
Differences Between Protestants
and Roman Catholics
Despite the great diversity among Protestant denominations, most
share several characteristics that distinguish them somewhat from
Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism
The Roman Catholic
The Protestant phenomena provoked the
Roman Catholic Church to clarify its own
position through councils of bishops
It attempted to:
 legislate moral reform among the clergy
 tighten the Church administration
 recognize officially the absolute authority of the
pope as the earthly vicar of God and Jesus Christ
Liberal Trends
 Major potential threats to Christianity arose during the eighteenthcentury Enlightenment in Europe
 Intellectual circles exalted human reason and on this basis rejected
faith in biblical miracles and revelations
The Second Vatican Council
 Convened by Pope John XXIII in 1962
 Purposes:
 updating and energizing the Church
 making the Church serve the people better as a living force in the
modern world rather than being an old, embattled citadel
The Orthodox World Today
 Fifteen self-governing Orthodox Churches worldwide,
each having its own leader, known as patriarch,
metropolitan, or archbishop
 The majority of Orthodox Christians now live in
Russia, the Balkan states, and eastern Europe
 Largest of the Eastern Orthodox Churches is the
Russian Orthodox Church
 There is a strong conservative tradition, attempting to
preserve the pattern of early Christianity
Central Beliefs in Contemporary
 Jesus was the only incarnation of God
 Jesus is the Savior of the world, the one whom God
sent to redeem people from their sins and reconcile
them with God
 Jesus is seen as a human being showing fellow
human beings the way to God
 God became human in order to lead people back to
 The human virtue most often associated with Jesus is
 Jesus provides a model of sinlessness
The Virgin of Guadalupe,
who reportedly appeared
soon after the Spanish
conquest speaking the
Aztec language to an
indigenous convert, has
been embraced as the
patron saint of the
Americas. The banner says
“Queen of Mexico.”
Sacred Practices
 worship services and sacraments
 the liturgical
 contemplative prayer
 devotion to Mary
 veneration of saints and angels
Contemporary Trends
 Evangelicalism
 Spirit-oriented movements
 The Great Reversal
 Liberation theology
 Feminist theology
 Creation-centered Christianity
 Ecumenical movement
 42 – Mark goes to Egypt
 44 – James, the brother of Jesus, is stoned to death by the Jews for
 49 - Jerusalem Council held on admitting Gentiles into the Church
 51-52 – First written accounts of Christianity – Paul’s letters to the
 52 - Apostle Thomas arrives in India and founds church that
subsequently becomes Indian Orthodox Church (and its various
 59-62 - Paul journeys to Rome and is imprisoned
 60 – Andrew martyred in Greece by crucifixion under Romans for
sedition; possible date for Gospels of Mark, Luke and Matthew
 64 – Nero begins persecution of Christians for fire in Rome
 68 – Paul and Peter are killed under Nero
 70 – Jerusalem and Judea invaded and destroyed by the Romans
under Titus
 72 - Traditional date of the Apostle Thomas' martyrdom in India
 90-95 – John exiled to the island of Patmos (Gospel of John is
 95 – The Book of Revelations is written
 95-120 – All other new testament books and gospels are written
 202 – Christians persecuted under Septimus Severus
 211 – Christians tolerated under Caracalla
 222 – Christians favored under Alevander Severus
 230 – Origen defends Christianity with his books
 235 – Christians persecuted again under Maximum the Thracian
 238 – Christians tolerated under Gordian III
 244 – Christians favored under Philip the Arab
 251 – Cyprian writes On the Unity of the Catholic Church
 303 - Diocletian begins the Great Persecution – kills Christians,
priests, bishops, popes and even churches and structures are
 312 – Constantine defeats Maxentius and becomes sole Roman
 313 – Constantine issues the Edict of Milan – ordering the toleration
of all religions (including Christianity)
 325 – Council of Nicea is called and the dogma of the Christian faith
is voted on by various bishops. Constantine is in charge of the
proceedings. Christ’s divinity is voted on, as well as which books to
call Gospels, etc.
 336 – Constantine converts to Christianity, then dies becoming first
Christian emperor.
 381 – First Council of Constantinople – called by Emperor Theodosius
– it included a restatement of the Nicene Creed and fully established
the concept of the Trinity as one. It outlawed Arianism (Jesus did not
exist until his birth) as heresy.
 395 – Edict of Theodosius – outlaws all religions except Christianity
in the entire Roman Empire
 400 – The Bible is translated into Latin from Greek by St. Jerome
 418 – Council of Africa – led by Augustine- condemned Donatists
(who claimed people who converted under persecution could not be
priests) and the Pelagians (who claimed that sin could beavoided and
we men were not born with original sin). Original sin becomes an
official dogma as does repentance and forgiveness.
 451 – Council of Chalcedon – called by Emperor Anatolius - called to
condemn Nestorianism (claimed Christ was part human and part divine),
Leads to doctrine that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man at the same
 1054 – Great Schism between Eastern and Western Christianity (Catholic
is only kind at this time). First break up of Catholic Church. Over a
phrase in the Nicene creed and in clergy marriage.
 1122 – Concordat of Worms – separates the Church from local
 1123 – First Lateran Council - banned clerical marriage
 1139 – Second Lateran Council – banned nuns and monks from singing
together in church
 1160-1180 – Purgatory becomes part of the Christian doctrine (a place
between heaven and hell where one waits to be judged)
 1179 – Third Lateran Council – banned the Waldensian and Cathar heresy
(earthly things are evil including the body). Only cardinals can now elect
the Pope.
 1215 – Fourth Lateran Council – created dogma of Tran-substantion
(the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ)
 1517 – Martin Luther nails his 99 Theses to the Church in
Wittenburg, Germany – officially begin the Protestant Movement of
Christianity. The Catholic Church would no longer be the only kind of
 1534 – Henry VIII creates the Anglican Church (to get divorced)
 1536 – John Calvin starts new Christian Church in Switzerland
 1517-1600 – Protestant Reformation
 1563-1648 – Catholic Counter-Reformation – reaction against
Protestantism to return the Catholic Church to prestige; boom in
church building and patronage of the arts; Jesuits are created to
convert people back
 1609 – The Baptist faith begins under John Smyth
 1611 – King James version of the Bible is printed in English
 1729 – The Methodist faith begins under John Wesley
 1730-1755 – First Great Awakening – Christ’s return is awaited, repent.
Mainly occurs in British colonies. Focus on guilt for sin, repentance.
Congregationalist and Presbyterian Churches develop alongside Dutch
Reformed (Amish).
 1790-1840 – Second Great Awakening – Christ’s return is imminent,
repent. People can be saved through religious revivals only, not through
good works. Beginnings of evangelical Christianity. Mormon religion
established by Joseph Smith. Only in the U.S.
 1850-1900 – Third Great Awakening – After cleaning up the world, then
Christ will come. American Protestant Christians start social programs to
reform the US, then the world. Proselytizing and evangelizing the US and
the world will bring about Christ’s return. Church of Christ Scientists,
Salvation Army, Pentecostals and the Jehovah’s Witnesses begin.
 1854 – The dogma of the Immaculate Conception (Mary was born
without original sin, hence so was Jesus) is declared by Pope Pius
 1868 – Vatican Council – declaration of Papal Infallibility (Pope is
direct link to God and cannot be wring if issuing a Papal Bull)
 1960-1980 – Fourth Great Awakening – Jesus is coming and boy is
he pissed. Only took place in the U.S. Evangelical and fundamentalist
movements push aside the more traditional churches and beliefs to
enforce religion on society to bring back an angry Christ to seek
vengeance on those who did not adhere to their faith
 1962- 1965 – Second Vatican Council – declaration that Jews are not
accursed people or to be blamed for Christ’s death; claims the
Catholic Church is the true church, but there are other Truths to be
found outside of it; permission granted to say mass in languages of
the country rather than only Latin
Major Types of Christianity
 Roman Catholic
Eastern Catholic
 Byzantine Catholic
Greek Orthodox
 Russian Orthodox
 Catharism
 Lutheran
 Calvinism
 Dutch Reform
 Baptist
 Unitarian
 Jehovah’s Witnesses
 Pentecostal
Seventh Day Adventists
 Presbyterian
 Southern Baptists
Jesus Movement
 In the US alone, there are over 33,000 different denominations
Basic Tenets of Christianity
 1) Belief in one God
 2) Belief in the trinitarian nature of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)
 3) The Bible (Old and New Testaments) is the final revelation of God
(except the Mormons who also have the Book of Mormon)
 4) The death and resurrection of Jesus are real events
 5) The Second Coming (Parousia) of Christ to judge
 6) Life after death in either salvation or punishment (heaven or hell)
 7) Everyone is born into sin because of Eve and Adam’s Fall
 8) Baptism to enter the faith and cleanse of sin
 Branches of Christianity have 1000s of other tenets but these are the
8 they all share in common
Basic Tenets of Catholic
 Immaculate Conception – both Mary and Jesus were born without
original sin
 Prayer to and adoration of Saints for intercession in heaven
 The host and wine transubstantiate into the literal body and blood of
 Baptism at birth to cleanse original sin, re-baptism at age of reason
(13-15) to accept the Catholic faith
 Papal infallibility – if the Pope speaks on matters of the faith, he is
never wrong
 Women cannot become priests
 Clergy cannot marry
 Science is good (now) – Evolution is not a conflict with God’s
creation, dinosaurs are real, the earth is 6 billion years old, etc.
Tenets of Evangelical Christianity
 Humans are naturally unable to make any effort towards salvation.
 Humans possess free will to accept or reject salvation.
 Salvation is possible only by God's grace, which cannot be merited (you
can’t earn it).
 No works of human effort can cause or contribute to salvation - known as
predestination (God already picked who he would save).
 God's election is conditional on faith in the sacrifice and Lordship of Jesus
Christ (but you have to believe).
 Christ's atonement was made on behalf of all people (even those who
don’t believe).
 God allows his grace to be resisted by those who freely reject Christ.
 Believers are able to resist sin but are not beyond the possibility of falling
from grace through persistent, unrepentant sin (that way preachers can
sin again and again as long as they are eventually sorry).
 Science is part of the false teachings of Satan (sorry evolution, round
earth, speed of light, etc)
Christianity vs Science
 Christianity taught/teaches the earth was flat
 Christianity taught/teaches the earth is less than 6000 years old
 Christianity taught/teaches the stars are very close to us/ or the
speed of light is false
 Christianity taught/teaches the sun goes around the earth
 Christianity taught/teaches that evolution doesn’t happen
 Christianity taught/teaches that only the earth supports life
 Christianity banned Aristotle, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler to name a
 Christianity banned/bans human dissection
 Christianity bans stem cell research
Some fun
Similarities with old faiths
 Osiris (Egypt)– died and resurrected, born December 25
 Adonis (Phoenician/Greek) – born in Bethlehem, died and resurrected,
forgave sins
 Tammuz (Sumerian) – died, spent 3 days in hell, and resurrected.
Inanna (Ishtar), his wife, went to his tomb to discover it empty, virgin
 Hercules (Greek/Roman) – born of Zeus and human virgin, called
“Prince of Peace”
 Mithras (Persian) – born December 25, virgin birth and Sun god was
his father, died and rose 3 days later, crucified on a tree, birth
witnessed by shepherds and Magi who brought him gifts, performed
many miracles (gave sight, made walk, etc), had a last supper with 12
disciples with bread and wine, sins forgiven
 Baal (Canaan) – storm god who dies and resurrects with help from his
 Marduk (Assyrian); Attis (Persian); Dionysius (Greek); Melquart
(Babylonian); and Eshmun (Philistine) – all were gods who died and
resurrected 3 days later
Things to consider - slavery
 However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the
foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of
such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your
land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your
children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this,
but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this
way. (Leviticus 25:44-46)
 If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free
in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he
was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only
he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he
became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave
him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then
the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still
belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my
master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.' If he
does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master
must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After
that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6)
Things to consider - slavery
When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that
the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the
slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave
is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21)
 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve
them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5)
 Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that
the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a
Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all
the harder because you are helping another believer by your
efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey
them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2)
 The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he
refused to do it. "But people who are not aware that they are doing
wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to
whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom
much more is given." (Luke 12:47-48)
Things to consider – compassion
 If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and
has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of
the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not
cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he
violated his neighbors wife (Deut 22: 23-24).
 Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the
priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to
death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12)
 You should not let a sorceress live. (Exodus 22:17)
 "If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be
put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their
lives." (Leviticus 20:13)
 A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be
put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame
for their death. (Leviticus 20:27)
Things to consider - compassion
 Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus
 All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are
guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9)
 If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man
and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10)
 A priest's daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication
and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to
death. (Leviticus 21:9)
 Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be
doomed. (Exodus 22:19)
Things to consider - compassion
 But if this charge is true (that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night),
and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to
the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone
her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her
unchasteness in her father's house. Thus shall you purge the evil from
your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21)
 Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you
that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens
astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you
must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that
such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that
town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the
livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street
and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the
LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be
rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for
destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be
merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great
nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your
God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I
am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him." (Deuteronomy
Things to consider - compassion
 The LORD then gave these further instructions to Moses: 'Tell the
people of Israel to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of
the covenant between me and you forever. It helps you to
remember that I am the LORD, who makes you holy. Yes, keep the
Sabbath day, for it is holy. Anyone who desecrates it must die;
anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the
community. Work six days only, but the seventh day must be a day
of total rest. I repeat: Because the LORD considers it a holy day,
anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death.' (Exodus
 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. While he was on his way, some
small boys came out of the city and jeered at him. "Go up
baldhead," they shouted, "go up baldhead!" The prophet turned and
saw them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two
shebears came out of the woods and tore forty two of the children to
pieces. (2 Kings 2:23-24)
Things to consider - compassion
 Meanwhile, the LORD instructed one of the group of prophets to say
to another man, "Strike me!" But the man refused to strike the
prophet. Then the prophet told him, "Because you have not obeyed
the voice of the LORD, a lion will kill you as soon as you leave
me." And sure enough, when he had gone, a lion attacked and killed
him. (1 Kings 20:35-36)
 "Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, "Follow him through
the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no
mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women
and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin
your task right here at the Temple." So they began by killing the
seventy leaders. "Defile the Temple!" the LORD commanded. "Fill
its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!" So they went
throughout the city and did as they were told." (Ezekiel 9:5-7)
Things to consider – role of
 1 Tim. 2:9-14 - In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in
modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided
hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women
professing godliness) with good works. Let the woman learn in
silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to
usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was
first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman
being deceived was in the transgression.
 1 Cor. 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is
not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be
under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any
thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for
women to speak in the church.
Some contradictions
 God dwells in chosen temples (2 Chron 7:12,16)
God dwells not in temples (Acts 7:48)
 God is seen and heard (Ex 33:23/ Ex 33:11/ Gen 3:9,10/ Gen 32:30/
Is 6:1/Ex 24:9-11)
God is invisible and cannot be heard (John 1:18/ John 5:37/ Ex
33:20/ 1 Tim 6:16)
 Public prayer sanctioned (1 Kings 8:22,54, 9:3 )
Public prayer disapproved (Matt 6:5,6)
 Man was created after the other animals (Gen 1:25,26,27)
Man was created before the other animals (Gen 2:18,19)
 The father of Joseph, Mary's husband was Jacob (Matt 1:16)
The father of Mary's husband was Heli (Luke 3:23)
 Christ was crucified at the third hour (Mark 15:25)
Christ was not crucified until the sixth hour (John 19:14,15)
Some contradictions
 There was but one woman who came to the sepulchre (John 20:1)
There were two women who came to the sepulchre (Matt 28:1)
There were three women who came to the sepulchre (Mark 16:1)
There were more than three women who came to the sepulchre
(Luke 24:10)
 Christ is equal with God
John 10:30/ Phil 2:5
Christ is not equal with God
John 14:28/ Matt 24:36
 The law was superseded by the Christian dispensation
Luke 16:16/ Eph 2:15/ Rom 7:6
The law was not superseded by the Christian dispensation
Matt 5:17-19
Jesus’ last words
 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Matthew 27:46
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli,
Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou
forsaken me?
 Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. Luke 23:46
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy
hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the
 It is finished. John 19:30
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is
finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
Some thoughts
 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have
faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig
tree, but even if you say to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into
the sea,' it will happen. "And all things you ask in prayer, believing,
you will receive." (Matthew 21:21-22)
 Think not that I come to send peace on earth: I came not to send
peace, but a sword.
- Matthew 10:34
... all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
- Matthew 26:52
 For contradictions in the crucifixion tale see:
Top 10 Fundamentalist
10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when
someone denies the existence of yours.
9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you
have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when
hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of
entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you
have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got
killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few
billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their
tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your
religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some
idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be
evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church
history - but still call yourself a Christian.
Last thought
 “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”
 -Epicurus, Greek philosopher