Origins Christianity began around the year 0 AD Evolved out of the Jewish religion
Founder Jesus of Nazareth Referred to by many as the “Messiah” – “messiah” - savior
Jesus’ nonviolent teachings and performing of miracles attracted many followers.
After Jesus’ death (30 AD) some of his followers (apostles) spread Christianity throughout Europe.
Paul of Tarsus is considered the father of Christianity. He was also the first pope.
Spread of Christianity to 325 CE Spread of Christianity to 600 CE
Early Christian History The first Christians were a minority group who were persecuted because their beliefs conflicted with the established Roman polytheistic religion. – Many Christians were not allowed citizenship rights, forced into exile or murdered.
Emperor Diocletian and several others organized mass killings of Christians.
Many early Christian leaders were killed by non-Christians and became martyrs. – Martyr – someone who dies for their beliefs. Their deaths inspired people.
Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and passed the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, which allowed religious toleration for Christians in the Roman Empire.
Christianity was later adopted as the official religion of the Roman Empire, replacing the pagan religions. – Pagan - non-Christian religions that are usually polytheistic.
Christian churches took over pagan holy days, religious sites and practices to make it easier for people to transition to Christianity.
Pagan holidays were borrowed by Christians. – Christmas is celebrated around the time of the Winter Solstice (longest night of the year). – Easter (symbolizing the resurrection of Jesus) takes place in the spring (time of rebirth).
Christian churches were built on pagan holy sites or in pagan holy buildings. – Above is Emperor Diocletian’s palace turned into a church
Pagan prayers, practices and symbols were borrowed and modified by the Christians. – Crucifixion was a method of execution. – Robes worn by priests – Candles used in services – Receiving blessings – Wedding rings
Pagan sculptures and paintings were destroyed or defaced to help people forget about the past.
Early Christian History In the early years of the church, Christianity developed differently in different areas. Each area had its own version and interpreted Jesus’ teachings differently.
Early Christian History Several meetings, such as the First Council of Nicaea, were held to answer important questions and create unity in the church. – How should church leadership be organized? – What books should be included in the Bible? – Was Jesus God or God’s son? – What should the church’s practices be? – When would the holidays be?
The Christian’s Holy Book Called the Bible Broken into two parts; Old Testament and New Testament Believed to be the word of God.
Old Testament Contains the five books of the Jewish Torah plus 35 other books.
Books are prophecies about the coming of the Messiah and stories about the Jewish people Events in this section take place before the birth of Christ
New Testament Contains 27 books The first four (Mathew, Mark, Luke and John) contain stories about the life/death of Jesus. Some stories about Jesus are in all four books, others only in one.
Later books contain histories of the early years of the Christian church (how it spread and developed). New Testament
Major Beliefs Monotheistic God is directly involved in people’s lives
Major Beliefs People’s practices on earth impact their chances of getting into heaven.
Holy Trinity Father – God, in heaven Son – Jesus Holy Ghost – Spiritual expression of them both
Christian Practices and Holidays Baptism Christmas – Celebrating the birth of Jesus. Easter – Celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Gnostic Gospels According to biblical scholars, the books of the Bible were written at different times by different people. Early popes and priests added and subtracted books to the Bible whenever they wanted.
Gnostic Gospels Between the foundation of Christianity and around the year 380 AD, the church had many meetings of priests to decide which texts should be considered “holy”.
Around 380 AD, the church settled on the current format of the Bible. No others books are to be considered scripture.
Gnostic Gospels Many other books from the same period and written by the same authors are under debate as being considered scripture.
The Dead Sea Scrolls Found in 1947 Contained many religious writings from the era when the Bible was written.
The Dead Sea Scrolls Many linguists think they were written by the same author(s) as the Bible. Raised many scholarly/religious debates about the contents of the Bible.
Holy Places Bethlehem – Birthplace of Jesus Jerusalem – Place of Jesus’ death Rome – Home of the Pope
The Pope Head of the Roman Catholic church Said to be directly related to St. Peter Operates from Vatican City in Rome “Papal Infallibility”
Later Christian History The Christian church eventually became the major source of moral authority in Europe.
Loyalty to the church was more important than loyalty to an emperor or king. – Ex. Kings were crowned by representatives of the church.
For the next 1,000 years (a period known as the Medieval Age), the Christian church was the main unifying force in Europe.