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Christianity I Introduction to World Religions Fall 2007 Dr. Hannah Schell Jesus as the founding figure.

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Presentation on theme: "Christianity I Introduction to World Religions Fall 2007 Dr. Hannah Schell Jesus as the founding figure."— Presentation transcript:

1 Christianity I Introduction to World Religions Fall 2007 Dr. Hannah Schell Jesus as the founding figure

2 Agenda for class Christianity in the world The life of Jesus: the historical Jesus The teachings of Jesus: the Christ of faith The Apostle Paul gets the Word out Who is Jesus? (video segment) Discussion

3 A big piece of pie

4 Where are the Christians? Top 10 Largest National Christian Populations  USA224,457,00085%  Brazil139,000,00093%  Mexico86,120,00099%  Russia80,000,00060%  China70,000,0005.7% 6. Germany67,000,00083% 7. Philippines63,470,00093% 8. United Kingdom51,060,00088% 9. Italy47,690,00090% 10. France44,150,00098% 11. Nigeria38,180,00045% Source:

5 The Family Tree of Christianity Roman Catholicism Eastern Orthodoxy Protestantism Lutheran Reformed – Presbyterian Pietist- Methodist Holiness Pentecostal European Free Church (Amish, Mennonites, etc.) Baptist Independent Fundamentalist Jehovah Witness Adventist Liberal Family (Unitarians, etc.) Latter-Day Saints Christian Science Unity Source:

6 Christianity as a world religion Monotheism – belief on one God “Founder” religion: begins with the person Jesus Christ; understood to also be divine. But also, Trinitarian – view that the nature of the one and only God is a tri-unity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Universalistic religion – offers a teaching open to all; “universal availability of salvation.” Salvation religion – offers a message of salvation (from sin) Monastic tradition – institutions to support the monk (or nun) who take vows, practice asceticism and often live apart from the rest of the world (for spiritual purposes) Communal worship – primary religious activity is communal, in a church. A “historical religion” (Smith, 317).

7 The Sacred Scripture of Christianity The “Old Testament” – the Hebrew Scriptures (The Law, the Prophets, later, also the writings). The “New Testament” – Letters of the Apostle Paul (c. 50 – 60) Acts Four Gospels (lives of Jesus) – Mark (c. 70), Matthew, Luke, John. Other letters, apocalyptic texts Together these comprise “The Bible.” Biblical canon settled c. 180. Books considered authoritative and divinely inspired.

8 Christianity begins with a man… Jesus – Greek form of the Hebrew name “Joshua,” which means literally “Yahweh saves.” According to the scriptures, the name was given by divine command to him who was to be the savior of the human race (rf: Matthew 1:21 and Luke 1:31). Jesus (c. 4 – ?); born in Palestine, grew up in Nazareth; under rule of King Herod.

9 The story of the birth, life and death of Jesus

10 The Annunciation “The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you… Do not be afraid Mary for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.. And of his kingdom there will be no end.”… and Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…’.” - Luke 1:26-28, 30-33, 46-47.



13 The birth of Jesus “And she gave birth to her firstborn son… To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”

14 Baptized by John “When Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

15 The three temptations The tempter…. Said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, But by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” - Matthew 4: 1-10

16 Gathering of the disciples “As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea – for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’” - Matthew 4

17 Jesus as a miracle-worker Exorcisms (drawing an evil spirit or demon out of someone). Healing the paralyzed or lame Giving sight to the blind “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. So his fame spread throughout.. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.”

18 Jesus as a teacher The parable of the mustard seed: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, sot that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” -Matthew 13:31-32

19 “The beginning of the end” “From that time on, Jesus began to show this disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” - Matthew 16:21

20 Jesus enters Jerusalem “The whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the king, who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!’.” - Luke 19:37-38

21 The Last Supper Jesus celebrates Passover with his disciples, knowing it is the last time. Instructs the disciples in the ritual of breaking the bread and drinking the wine “in remembrance” – basis of ritual of communion

22 Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper

23 Gethsemane “He threw himself on the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet now what I want but what you want.’” - Matthew 26:39

24 Jesus before Pilate “Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus said, ‘You say so.’.. Pilate said [to the crowd], ‘Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ All of them said, ‘Let him be crucified!”

25 The outrage “The soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. They then led him away to crucify him.” - Matthew 27:27-31

26 The Crucifixion “So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him… Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’” - John 19:17-18

27 “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” –Luke 23:24

28 The Empty Tomb Jesus said to her [Mary]: “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.” - John 20:11-17

29 The resurrection “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” - John 11:25

30 The Jesus of History In Huston Smith’s discussion, what do we learn about Jesus as a man of his time (historical context). In what ways were his teachings continuous with Judaism? In what ways were the teachings new? Who is the “Christ of faith”? What did the followers of Jesus emphasize about him?

31 The early Jesus movement Jesus died 30 C.E. His followers settled in Jerusalem; known as “the Twelve.” Questions regarding authority and membership– James, the brother of Jesus, was the head of the community in Jerusalem. Peter, one of the apostles, was understood to be the leader of the disciples. Questions arose about Gentile membership. Pentecost – the birthday of the church. Paul’s ministry c. 36 – 65. Gospel of Mark, Matthew and Luke written 70-100. Jewish revolts 66-74; destruction of the temple in 70. Gospel of John written 90-110. Apostle’s Creed c. 180 C.E. – used at baptisms. Constantine becomes a Christian c. 312; calls the Council of Nicae, 325 C.E.

32 The twelve disciples [After Christ’s ascension], “They returned to Jerusalem… a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying., Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers. In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowds numbered about one hundred twenty persons)…” Luke 1:12-15

33 Pentecost – the birth of the church “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability…. All were amazed and perplexed…

34 Acts 2 continued Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your wins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” (verses 38-39). Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” – Acts 2: 43-47

35 The role of apostle Paul Paul (? – 67 or 68 CE) - a Jew from Tarsus originally named “Saul” who participated in the persecution of Christians, including stoning of Stephen (Acts 9) Tent-maker as well as teacher Conversion to the Jesus Movement after a radical religious experience Traveled throughout the Mediterranean world, cultivating and visiting Christian communities How did Paul shape Christian thought?

36 Paul gets the Word out Source: “From Jesus to Christ,”

37 Paul’s writings Undisputed Pauline Letters 1 Thessalonians 1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians Galatians Philippians Philemon Romans Deutero-Pauline Letters (possibly pseudonymous) 2 Thessalonians Ephesians Colossians Pastoral Epistles (probably pseudonymous) 1 Timothy 2 Timothy Titus

38 Paul’s contributions to Christian thought Expansion of the message to both Jews and Gentiles; emphasized unity of all Christians: “[In Christ] there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28)

39 Paul: the Beloved Community Doctrine of the Church as the mystical body of Christ; emphasis on the collective – Christ and church as one (Smith 337): “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for one common good…. For just as the body is one and has many members and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and we were all made to drink of one Spirit… Corinthians 12: 4-7; 12-13.

40 Paul on the supremacy of Christ in the universe “[God the Father] has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created… He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church… For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.” - Colossians 1:13-20

41 Paul: Salvation through Christ All men are sinners and in need of redemption Jesus is the savior of humankind by his death and resurrection A person must participate in Jesus’ death, resurrection and eternal life to be saved (through worship and participation in the life of the beloved community).

42 How did the Jesus Movement become a world religion? Messianic expectation Message of redemption, freedom, salvation Role of persecution, martyrdom Conversion of Emperor Constantine Recommended discussions on this topic: Rodney Stark’s The Rise of Christianity (1997). From Jesus to Christ: book, documentary; website:

43 The “Lord’s prayer” [Jesus said] Pray then in this way: Our father in heaven Hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. – Matthew 6:9-13.

44 Discussion questions Think about the story of Jesus as the founding story for Christianity: what does it teach in terms of how humans should behave (Jesus as exemplar?) What are the messages about God? About Jesus himself? Who is “Jesus”? (video).

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