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Essential Questions
How are Christianity and Judaism similar?
Who is the founder of Christianity?
Why did Romans persecute the
Why did persecutions increase in times of
How and when did persecution of
Christians end?
Judaism and
Judaism in Rome
Roman power spread to Judea, the home of
the Jews, around 63 B.C.E. At first the
Jewish kingdom remained independent, at
least in name. Jewish kings ruled as
representative of Rome.
Some Jews allied with the Romans and
accepted their plans to ‘Romanize” the
Jerusalem. The ruler Herod, for example,
was a Romanized Jew.
Judaism in Rome
Rome finally took control of the Jewish
kingdom in and made it a province of Judea in
6 C.E.
Jews divided into two groups: The Zealots who
wanted to rid their homeland of the Romans,
and the other group who believed that the
Messiah, or savior, was soon to appear.
Christian Ideals
The religion embraced all people – men,
women, slaves, the poor, and nobles
It gave hope to the powerless and
appealed to those who were repelled by
the extravagances of imperial Rome
Christian Ideals
It offered a personal relationship with a
loving God and promised eternal life after
Christians began to give their religion
structure. At the local level, a priest led
each small group of Christians. A bishop
supervised several local churches.
Spread of Christianity
Excellent Roman road system made
passage by land easy, and common
languages, Latin and Greek, allowed
the message to be easily understood.
Spread of Christianity
While traveling to Damascus, Paul reportedly
had a vision of Christ and spent the rest o his
life spreading and interpreting Christ’s
He wrote influential letters, called Epistles, to
groups of believers. He stressed that Jesus
was the son of God who died for people’s
sins. He declared that Christianity should
welcome all converts.
Life of Jesus
Jesus was born in the town of Judea. The date is
uncertain but is thought to have been around 6 to 4
B.C.E. Jesus was both a Jew and a Roman subject.
His teachings contained many ideas from Jewish
tradition, such as monotheism, or belief in one god,
and the principles of the Ten Commandments. He
emphasized God’s personal relationship to each
human being. He also taught that God would
establish an eternal kingdom after death for people
who sincerely repented their sins.
Life of Jesus
The chief priests of the Jews denied that Jesus was
the Messiah. They said his teachings were
blasphemy, or contempt or God. The Roman
Governor Pontius Pilate thought that Jesus
challenged the authority of Rome. He arrested
Jesus and sentenced him to be crucified, or nailed
to a large wooden cross.
After Jesus’ death, his body was placed in a tomb.
According to the Gospels, three days later his body
was gone, and living Jesus began appearing to his
followers. It was from this belief that Jesus came to
be referred to as Jesus Christ.
Rebellion and Persecution
In 66 C.E., a band of Zealots rebelled against
Rome. In 70 C.E., the Romans stormed
Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple complex.
The Jews made another attempt to break free
of the Romans in 132 C.E. Another half-million
Jews died in three years of fighting. Most Jews
were driven from their homeland into exile. The
dispersal of the Jews is called the Diaspora.
Rebellion and Persecution
Christians refused to worship Roman gods and
this refusal was seen as opposition to Roman
rule. Some Roman rulers used Christians as
excuses for political and economic troubles.
As the Pax Romana began to crumble, the
Romans exiled, imprisoned, or executed
Christians for refusing to worship Roman gods.
Thousands were crucified, burned, or killed by
wild animals in the circus arenas.
Rome Welcomes Christianity
Roman emperor Constantine was fighting
three rivals for his title. The day before his
battle Constantine prayed for divine help.
He reported that he then saw a cross in the
heavens bearing the inscription, “In this
sign, conquer.” Constantine and his troops
were victorious in battle and he gave credit
for his success to the help of the Christian
Rome Welcomes Christianity
In the Edict of Milan, Constantine
declared Christianity one of the religions
approved by the emperor. The edict
granted “both to the Christians and to all
men freedom to follow the religion that
they choose.”
Judaism and
Key Terms Illustrated Dictionary
General Information
Founder: Abraham
Holy Book: Torah
first five books of the
Hebrew Bible
Founder: Jesus
Holy Book: Bible
belief in only one
Ten Commandments
set of ten commands
given to Moses to
pass on to the
followers of God,
which stressed the
importance of
people’s love for God,
their neighbors, their
enemies, and
a savior; the
Christians believed
Jesus was their
The Gospels
the first four books of
the New Testament
of the Bible
(Matthew, Mark,
Luke, and John),
which serve as the
main source of
information about
Jesus’ life and
a member of a
religion who works
to convert those
who don’t share the
missionary’s faith
communities of men
(called monks) who
have given up their
possessions to
devote themselves
to a life of prayer
and worship
Role of the Church
to provide a sense
of security and a
religious community
to which Christians
might belong
one of the Christian
ceremonies in which
God’s grace is
transmitted to
Canon Law
the body of laws
governing the
religious practices of
a Christian church
a temporary church
penalty that
prohibits a specific
person or group
from receiving the
the taking away of a
person’s right of
membership in a
Christian church
The leader of the
Christian Church,
there was only one
and he was also the
bishop of Rome,
which was the
center of the Church
Supervised several
local churches and
were also considered
priests, there were
numerous bishops in
the Church and
eventually each major
city had their own
Led a small groups
of Christians at the
local level