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The Roman Empire Largest extension, around 116 CE Rome CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity.

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Presentation on theme: "The Roman Empire Largest extension, around 116 CE Rome CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Roman Empire Largest extension, around 116 CE Rome CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

2 Rome CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity The Roman Empire Largest extension, around 116 CE

3 1 st century 2 nd century Boundary of Roman Empire 1 st & 2 nd CE. Spread of Christianity, 1st and 2nd centuries CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

4 Spread of Christianity, until 600 CE CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

5 Nero 54—68 Vespasian 69—79 Titus 79—81 Hadrian 117—138 Constantine 306—337 Important Roman emperors CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

6 Arch of Constantine CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity Arch of Titus

7 30sMinistry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus c Missionary travels of Paul 48Council of Jerusalem 62James the Just, "the Lord's Brother," martyred 64Emperor Nero of Rome persecutes Christians as cause of the Great Fire c. 60sPeter, Paul and many others martyred during Nero's reign The Apostolic Period, some major dates NT period Reformation Fall of West Rome, 476 Fall of East Rome, 1453 Edict of Milan, 313 Apostolic Period & Sub-apostolic Period East – West Schism, 1054 CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

8 James Peter Paul From Apostolic to Sub-Apostolic Period, the 60s CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

9 Rome on Fire, 64 CE Artistic reconstruction CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

10 Nero’s tourches Henryk Siemiradzki ( ) CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

11 To the Colloseum Henryk Siemiradzki ( ) CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

12 CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

13 70Jewish revolt against Rome fails; Jerusalem sacked, Temple destroyed 70 + Center of Christianity shifts from Jerusalem to Antioch, Ephesus, Alexandria, & Rome 81-96Emperor Domitian styles himself as "Master and God" c. 96 First epistle of Clement of Rome, widely read and probably the oldest Christian epistle in existence outside of the NT Sporadic persecutions of Christians by Emperor Trajan, Martyrdom of Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, in Rome (c.110) The Sub-Apostolic Period, some major dates CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity NT period Reformation Fall of West Rome, 476 Fall of East Rome, 1453 Edict of Milan, 313 Apostolic Period & Sub-apostolic Period East – West Schism, 1054

14 c. 112 Pliny, the younger, to Emperor Trajan on how to deal with Christians, Early Christian Worship 135Second Jewish revolt, destruction of Jerusalem by Emperor Hadrian 140s Marcion, Valentius and Justin Martyr, influential Christian leaders who oppose each other in Rome, beginning or Proto-orthodoxy c. 156Martydom of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna Widespread Persecutions of Christians, martyrdom of Justin Martyr in Rome (168) 177Irenaeus becomes Bishop of Lyons, Massacre of Christians in Lyon Post-Apostolic period CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity Reformation Fall of West Rome, 476 Fall of East Rome, 1453 Edict of Milan, 313 East – West Schism, 1054 NT periodEarly Christianity

15 Septimus Severus, emperor of Rome, persecution of Christians, martyrdom of Irenaeus of Lyons, Perpetua, Felicitas, and their companions c. 215Tertullian becomes a Montanist, Mani, founder of Manichaeism 248Origen writes “Against Celsus” in Palestine Persecution under emperor Decius, Growing controversy between Carthage and Rome about treatment of returning apostate Christians 251Council of Carthage with Cyprian in a leading role Emperors Valerian and Gallienus order everyone to sacrifice to Roman gods; Origen dies in Tyre from wounds suffered from torture (254); Cyprian of Carthage martyred (258) CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity Early Christianity Reformation Fall of West Rome, 476 Fall of East Rome, 1453 Edict of Milan, 313 East – West Schism, 1054 Post-Apostolic period

16 269Gallenius is sole emperor, Paul of Samosata condemned at Antioch The Great Persecution under emperor Diocletian 310Armenia becomes the first Christian state 312, Oct 28 th Constantine wins the Battle at the Milvian Bridge against Maxentius 313Edict of Milan legalizes Christianity, official religion of the Empire 320s Eusebius writes History of the Church, Life of Constantine, The Martyrs of Palestine 330Consecration of Constantinople as the new capital CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity Early Christianity Reformation Fall of West Rome, 476 Fall of East Rome, 1453 Edict of Milan, 313 East – West Schism, 1054 Post-Apostolic period

17 CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity Eusebius gives an account of Constantine’s vision that he had heard from the emperor himself: Constantine with his army was marching, when he looked up to the sun and saw a cross of light above it, and with it the Greek words "Εν Τούτῳ Νίκα“ (Latin "in hoc signo vinces," "In this sign,[you shall] conquer”). In the following night he had a dream in which Christ told him that he should use the sign against his enemies. Constantine then put the Chi- Rho sign on his standard.

18 CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity

19 Centers founded by Paul Spread of Christianity, 300 to 800 CE The Agreement at Chalcedon (451) on the Rule of the Church RomeNew Rome (Constantinople) Jerusalem AntiochAlexandria Rome and Constantinople governed east and west. Rome was granted priority, but regarded in the East as the first among equals. Following those two in prestige and influence were Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. Constantinople 330 CE Damascus Jerusalem Antioch Ephesus Alexandria Carthage Rome Corinth Thessalonica Cyprus Jerusalem Antioch Ephesus Rome Alexandria CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity

20 I.Diverse Beginnings 1.A variety of texts and contexts not a book but a collection of writings more than 10 different authors from different places and with a wide range of situational objectives a common experience with different interpretations in different contexts new expressions in new ethnic, ideological and political conditions different types of literature 2.A variety of groupings and factions “Jewish” Jesus-followers Pauline Christians Johannine Christians Gnosticizing types of Christianity a host of other groups that we know too little about to label them CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

21 I.Diverse Beginnings 3.A variety of traditions and ideas Imaginary meeting in Jerusalem in the year 100 a Jewish teacher from Alexandria, a freed slave from Rome, a philosopher from Athens, a craftsman from Ephesus, a farmer from Edessa, a merchant from Cyprus and a scribe from Nazareth source texts religious heritage views of Jesus ethical obligation 4.Comparison with the beginnings of Islam Organization – Mohammed YES Jesus NO Writings by the founder – Mohammed YESJesus NO Affirmation of religious heritage – Mohammed NOJesus YES Access to a finalized body of writings – Muslims YESChristians NO Consequence: Diverse expression among Christian groups Interaction with different religious and cultural traditions Result: potential for conflict and disagreement potential for openness and adaptability CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity

22 CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity II.Imperial recognition and demand of a unified organization 1.Emergence of a majority movement Within a short period of time, an interconnected movement with a widely accepted “Christian” tradition a common body of scripture a similar liturgy and community life a fairly unified interpretation of Christian faith a cohesive organizational structure 2.An anachronistic misconception 3.Ecclesial power structures are secondary The office of the pope of Rome: result not precondition of unity before Constantine – no centralized ecclesiastical power structure “after” Constantine – demands for unity from political and imperial quarters the Caesars summoned the Councils, not the bishops 4.Church leaders and bishops support diversity The agenda of church leaders and bishops was quite contrary to that. They wanted to defend their own particular and local distinctiveness to preserve their different theological tradition to guard their independence

23 CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity II.Imperial recognition and demand of a unified organization 1.Emergence of a majority movement 2.An anachronistic misconception 3.Ecclesial power structures are secondary 4.Church leaders and bishops support diversity 5.The Emperor recognizes the potential of an Empire religion 6.Conclusion: The emerging organized and hierarchical uniformity of Christianity was not due to some intrigues in the dark corridors of the Roman Church was due to the political (imperial) demand for unity, and the legal ratification of the office of bishop It was the emperor of the Roman Empire who initiated and enforced an increasingly unified organization and regulation of church hierarchy.

24 CH 1000 – History of Christianity Dieter Mitternacht Early Christianity – Diversity and Unity III.Ecclesial networking and commonality The bishops that came to Nicaea read same texts, tell same stories demand confession in a triune God from those who were to be baptized similar views on church leadership, similar barriers towards Gentiles similar rules for live, similar sanctions against those who brake the rules 1.Traveling ministries and letter writing Paul, Irenaeus, Origen, Clement of A., Cyprianus, Ignatius, Didache 2.Mutual consultation 3.Conflict management 4.Universal recognition 5.Small numbers, but… Roman Empire = 40 to 60 milion people around the year 300 CE Christians = 8 to 10% of the population, i.e. approx. 4 to 5 million dispersed over the whole Empire, in independent local communities 6.Conclusion Political power was negligible, yet the Christians attracted the emperor’s attention through their ability be united in diversity


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