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Chapter 7 Section 4
Timeline Group Activity
In your groups you will do the following:
 In a envelop you will find 13 major
events about the development, growth
and spread of Christianity.
 As a group try to place the 13 events in
the correct order.
 When you are finished let me know so I
can check your order.
This is not a religion class
 Our study of any religion in this class is
based on historical evidence and putting
ideas of those religions into the historical
 Please be respectful and keep your
personal beliefs and opinions to
Why Study Christianity?
Christianity is
important to this
class because all
the people we study
from here on will
have type of
interaction with
Christian people and
the Christian
Ohio Academic Content Standard
History: The civilizations that developed
in Greece and Rome had an enduring
impact on later civilizations. This legacy
includes governance and law,
engineering and technology, art and
architecture, as well as literature and
history. The Roman Empire also played
an instrumental role in the spread of
The Beginnings of Christianity
Grows from a group of people called the
Israelites (Hebrews)
 The Israelites practiced monotheism and
established a capital in the city of
 The religion practiced by the Israelites
was very different from other religions
practiced in the ancient world.
The Ten
Commandments are
the core beliefs of
 Judaism has a major
influence on both
Christianity and Islam
Judaism and Christianity
 Similarities
 Monotheism – Belief in one God
 God is all good, all powerful and all
 God is the creator of nature, not a part of
○ Different from Greek/Roman beliefs
 Belief in a Messiah (savior)
Christianity and the Romans
Christianity was one of many religions in
the Roman Empire
 Romans conquered many lands with
different languages, customs, and religions
Romans were tolerant toward the people
in these lands
 But the conquered people also had to
show loyalty to Roman Gods and the
Unrest in Judaea
The Romans conquered the Jewish
homeland of Judaea in 63 BC
 At first the Romans respected the
Jewish rights to worship their God but
many Jews resented foreign rule.
 As opposition to Roman rule grew, the
Romans stuck back with harsh
Unrest in Judaea
In 37 B.C., the Roman Senate appointed
a new ruler of Judaea named Herod.
 According to the Bible, It was during
Herod’s reign that Jesus was born in the
Judaean town of Bethlehem.
 Herod also rules during the reign of
 Augustus Became the first Roman Emperor
in 27 B.C.
The Birth of Jesus
Jesus as a historical figure
 There was historical figure named
Between the years of 1 A.D.
and 7 A.D. Jesus is Born
We have a date range
because according to
Christianity, Jesus was born
during the time of Herod
 Herod died in 4 A.D.
The Life of Jesus
According to the New Testament, Jesus
grew up in Nazareth and learned to be a
 He began teaching when he was about
30 years old, during the rule of Tiberius.
 Tiberius became Emperor in 14 A.D.
Christianity says that for three years,
Jesus traveled from place to place
preaching to Jews who lived in the
The Life of Jesus
Jesus was a Jew
 Much of what he taught was part of the
Jewish tradition he learned as he was
growing up.
 Like all Jewish teachers, Jesus
preached that there was only one true
 Remember this goes against Roman Gods
and the Roman Emperor
Followers of Christianity
In the beginning, the
followers of
Christianity were
often poor and
His followers
believed that Jesus
was their “messiah”
Followers of Jesus
were called
The Sermon on the Mount
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is
in the kingdom of heaven….
Blessed are the lowly, for they shall inherit
the Earth….
Blessed are those who are persecuted in
the cause of right, for theirs is in the
kingdom of heaven.”
The 12 Disciples
Twelve of Jesus‘
closest followers
were know as the
12 Disciples
Peter, Andrew,
James, John,
Thomas, Matthew,
James, Thaddaeus,
Simon and Judas
Fear of Christianity
Jesus’ teachings alarmed many people
 Some complained to the Romans that
Jesus was teaching that God was
greater than the Emperor
 Fearing that Jesus may lead an armed
revolt against the government, the
Roman governor condemned Jesus to
The Death of Jesus
Jesus was to be
crucified, or put to
death by being nailed
to a large wooden
Between the years of
30 A.D. to 37 A.D.,
Jesus is Crucified and
According to
Christianity, Jesus
rose from the dead
and spoke to his
disciples, telling them
to spread his teaching
Christianity Spreads
The Greek equivalent of the word
Messiah was Christos.
 Many educated people in the Roman
Empire spoke Greek (especially in the
Eastern part of the Empire)
 As these people accepted Jesus’
teachings, they began calling him Christ
 After his death, his followers, called
Christians, spread the new religion.
Saul of Tarsus
One of the most devoted
followers of Jesus’ teachings
was a Jew whose original
name was Saul.
Saul was well educated and
spoke Greek
According to the New
Testament, Saul at first
rejected the Christian
Saul believed he had a vision in which
Jesus spoke to him
 Around 35 A.D., Saul changed his name
to Paul and converted to Christianity
 Paul was one of first Christian leaders to
spread message to non-Jews.
Paul’s writings helped turn the Christian
faith into a organized religion.
 Some of Paul’s Letters became parts of the
Emperor Nero and Christians
In 54 A.D., Nero becomes Emperor of
 Since Christians refused to worship
Roman Gods or the Emperor, many
Roman officials began to view them as
enemies of the Empire.
 Under the Emperor Nero, the first official
campaign against Christians began.
Rome Burns
In 64 A.D., the Great
Fire in Rome burns
for nine days,
leaving much of the
city in ruins.
According to some
accounts, Nero
blamed the
He ordered the
arrest of Christians.
Who were sent to
their deaths.
Paul Martyred
According to
tradition, it was
during this time that
Paul was imprisoned
Around 67 A.D.,
Paul is Martyred in
 A martyr is someone
who dies for a
particular cause
The Four Gospels
Much of what we know
about the life and work of
Jesus comes from the
Four Gospels
The four Gospels were
written sometime between
40 and 70 years after the
death of Jesus
They are believed to be
written by four Disciples
 Matthew, Mark, Luke, and
Christianity Grows
In 98 A.D., Trajan becomes Emperor of
 Under Trajan we see one of the first
Roman Emperors to address Christianity
as a major religious force.
 This can be seen in an exchange in
letters between Emperor Trajan and
Pliny the Younger
Letter from Pliny the Younger
It is my practice, my lord, to refer to you all matters concerning which I am in doubt. For who can better give guidance to my
hesitation or inform my ignorance? I have never participated in trials of Christians. I therefore do not know what offenses it is the
practice to punish or investigate, and to what extent. And I have been not a little hesitant as to whether there should be any
distinction on account of age or no difference between the very young and the more mature; whether pardon is to be granted for
repentance, or, if a man has once been a Christian, it does him no good to have ceased to be one; whether the name itself,
even without offenses, or only the offenses associated with the name are to be punished.
Meanwhile, in the case of those who were denounced to me as Christians, I have observed the following procedure: I
interrogated these as to whether they were Christians; those who confessed I interrogated a second and a third time,
threatening them with punishment; those who persisted I ordered executed. For I had no doubt that, whatever the nature of their
creed, stubbornness and inflexible obstinacy surely deserve to be punished. There were others possessed of the same folly; but
because they were Roman citizens, I signed an order for them to be transferred to Rome.
Soon accusations spread, as usually happens, because of the proceedings going on, and several incidents occurred. An
anonymous document was published containing the names of many persons. Those who denied that they were or had been
Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I
had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ--none of which those
who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do--these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer
declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years
before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshipped your image and the statues of the gods,
and cursed Christ.
They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a
fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime,
but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. When
this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food--but ordinary and innocent food. Even this,
they affirmed, they had ceased to do after my edict by which, in accordance with your instructions, I had forbidden political
associations. Accordingly, I judged it all the more necessary to find out what the truth was by torturing two female slaves who
were called deaconesses. But I discovered nothing else but depraved, excessive superstition.
I therefore postponed the investigation and hastened to consult you. For the matter seemed to me to warrant consulting you,
especially because of the number involved. For many persons of every age, every rank, and also of both sexes are and will be
endangered. For the contagion of this superstition has spread not only to the cities but also to the villages and farms. But it
seems possible to check and cure it. It is certainly quite clear that the temples, which had been almost deserted, have begun to
be frequented, that the established religious rites, long neglected, are being resumed, and that from everywhere sacrificial
animals are coming, for which until now very few purchasers could be found. Hence it is easy to imagine what a multitude of
people can be reformed if an opportunity for repentance is afforded.
Response from Emperor Trajan
You observed proper procedure, my dear Pliny, in
sifting the cases of those who had been denounced
to you as Christians. For it is not possible to lay
down any general rule to serve as a kind of fixed
standard. They are not to be sought out; if they are
denounced and proved guilty, they are to be
punished, with this reservation, that whoever denies
that he is a Christian and really proves it--that is, by
worshiping our gods--even though he was under
suspicion in the past, shall obtain pardon through
repentance. But anonymously posted accusations
ought to have no place in any prosecution. For this is
both a dangerous kind of precedent and out of
keeping with the spirit of our age.
The Appeal of Christianity
At times over the next 250 years, the
Romans torment and persecute the
 During these years the Roman Empire
began to lose its power.
 To explain the decline, the Romans
sometimes blamed the Christians
 By the A.D. 200’s, over 50,000 Romans
had accepted the Christian faith.
Growth of Christianity in Empire
It is estimated that the number of
Christians grew about a 40% every
 For example:
 In A.D. 40 there were about 1,000 Christians
in the empire
 A decade later, in A.D. 50 there were about
1,400 Christians in the Empire
A.D. 50 = 1,400
 How many will there be in:
○ A.D. 60
○ A.D. 70
○ A.D. 80
○ A.D. 90
○ A.D. 100
Estimates (based off 40% growth)
 40
 50 1,400
 60 1,960
 70 2,744
 80 3,842
 90 5,378
 100 7,530
 150
 200 217,795
 250 1,171,356
 300 6,299,832
 350 33,882,008