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Roman Empire
and Religion
11.2
Chapter 11
Section 2
Religious Tolerance
• Romans did not impose their beliefs on
other cultures
• Adopted other culture’s gods
• Only time Rome banned religion was
when it became a political problem
Clashes with Jews
• Monotheism vs. Polytheism
• Jews would not pray to Roman gods
• Rome conquered Judea
– Jews did not want to be controlled by
outsiders
– Emperor Hadrian ended rebellion
• Destroyed city, forced Jews out
New Religion
• Christianity
– Jews believed a new Messiah would appear if
they followed the law by Moses
Jesus of Nazareth
• Many people considered him the Jewish
messiah
• Holy Bible
– Old Testament
• History and ideas of the Hebrew and Jewish
people
– New Testament
• Life and teachings of Jesus
Birth
• Mother: Mary
father: God
• Marks the shift between BC and AD on
the timeline
• Trained to be a carpenter but actually
traveled and taught Judaism
Crucifixion and Resurrection
• Romans felt Jesus’ beliefs challenged
their political authority
– And their gods would be forgotten
• Was arrested and sentenced to death in
AD 33.
• 3 days after death he was resurrected.
– According to his disciples.
* Believed Resurrection was the sign he was
the Messiah and the son of God. *
Teachings of Jesus
• Many lessons were rooted in older Jewish
teachings.
– 1. Love God
– 2. Love other people
• Love all, not just Christians
• Salvation
– Rescue people from sin
– How to enter God’s kingdom after death
• People have interpreted his teachings in
many ways
– Led to many denominations
• All Christians share the same basic beliefs
Spread of Christianity
• Apostle- 12 disciples Jesus chose to
receive special training and help spread
his message
• Paul of Tarsus
– Traveled through Rome spreading Christian
teachings
– Told people they did not have to obey all
Jewish laws
• Led Christians to break away from Judaism
Growth of Christianity
• Introduced to Jews and non-Jews
– Began to spread rapidly
• Within 100 years, thousands of Christians
Opposition
• Christians arrested if they didn’t worship
Roman gods
• Romans feared Christianity- BANNED IT
• Christians met in secret- still spread their
beliefs
• AD 300’s Constantine became Christian
– Later made it Rome’s official religion