Roman Catholic – 1.2 billion Protestant – 670 million - All “historical Protestants” =350 million: Baptist – 100 million, Lutheran – 75 million, Methodist – 75 million, Calvinist – 75 million (includes Presbyterian, Reformed, Congregationalist), Anabaptist – 5 million. - All “modern Protestants” = 275 million: Pentecostalism – 130 million, Non-denominational Evangelicalism – 80 million, African Initiated – 40 million, Seventh-Day Adventist – 17 million. Eastern Orthodox = 230 million (Russian Orthodox highest at 125 million) Anglican (includes Episcopalian) = 82 million Other Branches: Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) – 14.5 million, New Apostolic Church – 11 million, Jehovah’s Witness – 7.5 million *Today, about 33% of the world’s population considers themselves a type of Christian. The next highest population is Islam with about 23%.
- Simplified Version…notice the “big 3” branches
The Romans Control Judaea Around 1 A.D., there were 4 competing Jewish sects in the Judaea, Roman Empire: Sadducees: wealthy, educated, compromising with Romans, Rabbi had power in religious council/laws, common people usually did not associate with this group Pharisees: middles class, strict followers, believed in life after death if the Torah was studied well Essenes: very pious, believed that a Messiah would come to defeat the Romans, the end of the world is coming soon…possibly 4,000 in 1 A.D., some say these would become the first Christians Zealots: action-oriented, a future Messiah will be a great military leader, heated Romans, liked Jesus at first but later discounted him when he did not live up to their violent rebellion beliefs - By 6 B.C., the Romans applied tighter rule in Judaea, there was lots of social unrest. The Sadducees and Pharisees wanted to cooperate, the Essenes waited for a Messiah, and the Zealots wanted violent rebellion. - Herod was the unpopular Roman-backed ruler there. When rumors circulated that a Messiah was born, it is claimed that he killed thousands of Jewish infants.
Jesus Christ - Jesus Christ, a Jew, was born around 4 B.C. (virgin birth?) in Bethlehem, Judaea, Roman Empire - He was a carpenter. At about 30, he was baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus claimed that the Holy Spirit spoke to him, and he began to preach for about 3 years. - Jesus preached: all people are children of God, repent sins, love God, accept God’s forgiveness, forgive others, care for the poor, New Age coming with a Messiah (unclear if he was talking about himself. - Jesus never mentioned anything about starting a new religion.
Fate of Jesus - Most Jews were not won over to Jesus. Sadducees = Jesus caused unrest; Pharisees = not following Jewish law; Zealots = not warlike enough. - Jesus went to Jerusalem and took 12 Apostles with him. When he arrived he was treated like a Messiah or a king. - Authorities arrested Jesus (Kiss of Judas) for causing social unrest. Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator of the area, ordered Jesus to be crucified. - Jesus was beaten and crucified. Many followers soon believed that he rose from his tomb after 3 days (Resurrection = Easter). For 40 days Jesus’ soul was said to appear before people, and then he went to Heaven.
Earliest Christians - Simon Peter, an uneducated Jew, (a.k.a. “the Rock” of Christianity) was the spokesman for the earliest Christian community, which was in Jerusalem. He was the first bishop of Rome, and some consider him the first pope although the term was not in use yet. - This early community did not want to part with the Jewish community. In 70 A.D. the Jewish Council in Jamnia formally declared Christians to be separate. - In 67, Peter was crucified upside down (did not want to suffer same fate as Jesus) by the Romans.
Paul - Saul of Tarsus (Paul), an educated Roman citizen, at first despised Christianity, but later became one of its greatest champions after changing his mind. - Paul was talented at talking to lots of different types of people and working hard. He built lots of new churches, and said that you did not have to be Jewish to be Christian, and a conference in 49 A.D. said this too. - Paul also did not think kosher eating and circumcision were necessary, which distanced the new Christians with the Jewish community. Also there were disputes over God’s true law. - After being imprisoned for 5 years (yet still working), Paul died in 67, like Peter. He was beheaded by the Romans. - After Paul’s death, institutionalization was needed. By 135, after another revolt, all Jews and Christians were barred from Jerusalem; the community in Jerusalem ended. Rome was the clear center for Christians now.
Christian Beliefs - Monotheistic. Trinity (325, also “official” in 381 A.D.) = God is three parts (father, son holy spirit). Father = Father God, Son = Jesus, Holy Ghost/Spirit = God is all around us) - Jesus suffered on the Cross for all of humanity’s sins - Afterlife: Heaven, Purgatory, Hell - Last Judgment (a.k.a. Second Coming, End of Days) = return of Jesus Christ. Living and dead will be judged and a new era will begin. - Bible = Holy Book. Old Testament = Jewish part, New Testament = Christian part…Christians believe both. - 10 Commandments, 7 Sins - No one, including leaders (i.e. Roman Emperor) were not gods or divine
Theories of the Rise of Christianity - Instability of Roman era - Promise of Heaven in afterlife - Love your neighbor, golden rule, lots of positive teachings - Equality in the eyes of God for all (women, races, economic classes) - Instant communication with all-powerful, all-knowing, benevolent, forgiving God through prayer - You can be a Christian anywhere; - Sense of community - Later Roman Emperors encouraged it to unify the Empire
Debates in Early Christianity - Many early Christians believed that Jesus would come back at any moment. When he did not come so soon, the End of Days theories became more important. Divisions of Christianity developed. Some include: Arianism (started in late 200s): God existed before Jesus, so Jesus was less powerful than God Donatism (300s-400s): strict North African sect believed that no laws other than Canon laws (Christian laws) were to be followed, killing false Christians okay, freed slaves, some were martyrs by suicide and jumping off cliffs Gnosticsm (peaked late 200s): androgynous God, Christ escaped the Cross, different gospels Trinitarianism (started in 100s): in response to Arians, they believed that God had three equal parts: Father, Son, Holy Ghost (became widely accepted belief)
Christians Become Targeted - The Romans had toleration of other religions, but the Christians were a different sort. Christians were considered “atheists” (did not believe in the Greco-Roman gods), and haters of humanity (did not take part in Roman festivals). This led to suspicion and even persecution of Christians. - For the first 250 years in Christianity, some emperors were harsher on Christians than others – persecutions were normally limited and sporadic. - The first persecution was In 64, when a great fire burned for 9 days and decimated 1/3 of Rome. Some suspected Emperor Nero for purposely starting it (he seized the burnt land and built an enormous palace on the ashes), but Nero blamed Christian arsonists. - The worst persecution of all was under Diocletian in 303 – over 20,000 died in a failed attempt to rid the religion from the Roman Empire. - Despite all of this, Christianity continued to grow, even secretly and underground…it is a very unlikely story!
Constantine Legalizes Christianity Constantine (r. 306-337) had a “vision” that if his army made a Christian Cross they would win the current civil war for the Roman Empire…they won, and Constantine supported Christianity throughout his reign (but was only himself baptized before death). Edict of Milan (313): Constantine proclaimed religious freedom for Christians and returned confiscated Church property. Finally, Christians were allowed to be public. Nicknamed ‘the Great.’ - Historians debate whether a) Constantine wanted to unify a broken empire with faith, or b) he really was a devout Christian who did what was best for the religion. He also made the Sabbath Sunday, not Saturday, which many attribute to his Apollo (sun) worship.
The Romans Become Christians Council of Nicaea (325): considered the birth of the Catholic Church (a.k.a. The Roman Catholic Church), this was a council of religious leaders from across the Roman Empire about what the “official” type of Christianity should be. The Nicene Creed (a formal telling of what it means to be a Christian) resulted, and the Church became much more closely related to the state. - Arianism was the biggest competing version, and it failed. Arius was deemed a heretic (false Christian) and exiled. - Theodosius (r. 379-395) required all Romans to be Christians in 380. The traditional Greek/Roman gods were no longer worshipped by law! Persecutions of heretics happened. Nicknamed ‘the Great.” - The Roman Empire had split into briefly four and then two halves under Diocletian in the late 200s. Constantine and Theodosius reunited the empire temporarily, but after Theodosius it would remain split. A rivalry between Rome and Constantinople would grow.
St. Augustine Augustine of Hippo (354-430) from present-day Algeria, is known for being a sinner as a young man (i.e. lust became habit became necessity), and then later converted into a “model Christian. His mom was a Christian while his dad was not, and he struggled as a young man with this. Augustine Made three arguments that would become accepted parts of Catholicism: - The Church’s authority should be absolute, because evil is caused when people act how they want. - Violence is okay against heretics (led to the justification of forced conversions, inquisitions, Holy wars (Donatist controversy) - Original Sin (every human is born from the sinful act of sex/lust, and is destined to Hell unless baptized, etc.). Sexual pleasure = sinful (this is was never accepted in the Eastern Empire/Orthodox branch). - Augustine eloquently defended Christianity in writing when Rome was sacked in 410.
The Papacy Begins - Rome had a bishop system since Paul, but no official pope. - In the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire), the Emperor was the head of the Church, and he would meet councils of religious leaders for advice. To them, the bishop of Rome was only the first amongst equals for popes. - First real “pope” was Leo I (r. 440-461). He was praised for “talking down” Attila the Hun (although Rome was sacked 4 years later, even though he convinced them to not kill people) - Constantine originally left the Rome bishop the Lateran palace and St. Peter’s cathedral, but soon forgeries would be key: the Donation of Constantine (forgery) “said” that all of Rome and all of Western Europe was for the pope as Constantine intended! - Latin would be the official language of the Catholic Church until the mid 1900s. This put the clergy in a very privileged position as most people could not read the Bible and depended on priests.
Fall of the Roman Empire - The Western Roman Empire fell to Germanic barbarians (Arian Christians) in 476, and Christianity became more Germanic, yet the German speaking world became more Christian. - Pope Gregory the Great (590-604), a monk, was considered the first Medieval pope. He emphasized miracles, visions, demons, angels, good works for Heaven entry, and fearing God an eternal judge. He also did not trust the Byzantines to protect Rome militarily; he wanted to ally with the Franks, but the Franks would not ally with the Church at this time. - Other changes: infant baptisms normal, Latin = language (most people could not understand it), private confession (later to priests only) instead of public penance, veneration for saints and relics (not martyrs), emphasis on celibacy (eventually priests could not marry, have sex).
St. Patrick - Patrick (d. 460) is known for spreading Christianity to Ireland. Ireland remains very Catholic today. - From Britain, at 16 he was captured and sold to Ireland. After 6 years he escaped, and since then had become a Christian. He went back to Ireland and successfully spread the faith. - Many monasteries developed, far more than in most of Europe. These monks emphasized scholarship, and copied valuable Christian texts (many of which would have been lost if not for them). - Irish priests began what the Catholic Church would later adopt: penance coming after private confession. This became the norm by the 800s.
Rise of Monasteries - St. Anthony from Egypt (250-355) pioneered the monastery movement. It began as a hermit-like community of monks who lived ascetically and grew. Anthony spend around 10 years in cemeteries and claimed to be attacked by demons. - St. Benedict (480-550) “father of Western monasticism.” Monk’s life: little sleep, no sex, little food, thank God constantly, no laughing, no gossip, own nothing, never talk about world outside monastery. Became dominant by 1000 (yet more lax rules in many cases). - Monasteries became centers for forgiveness. Example: kill a man in battle = 40 days of penance or pay a monk in money and/or land to do it. Monasteries became wealthy and powerful. England had 1,000 monks in 1066 and 13,000 in 1215. - Cluniac Order: sang most of the day, very respected, from Cluny, France. Pope had direct supervision. - Cistercian Order: originated in France, it was a franchise model…it grew to 343 abbeys in Western Europe. - Dominican Order: intellectual, gnostic, against heresy. Began in Rome but popular in Spain. along with Franciscans they would be the most popular - Franciscan Order: from St. Francis of Assisi in Italy, not confined within the monastery, along with Dominicans they were the most popular - In the early Middle Ages, monasteries and the Church had a monopoly on education.
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