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"One person of integrity can make a difference." Elie Wiesel.

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Presentation on theme: ""One person of integrity can make a difference." Elie Wiesel."— Presentation transcript:

1 "One person of integrity can make a difference." Elie Wiesel

2 T HE R ISE OF M ONOTHEISM The movement towards a distinctive monotheistic religious tradition with a distinct emphasis on ethical values emerged in the Middle East It found expression in Zoroastrianism and in Judaism While these religions did not spread widely, the principle of monotheism influenced the development of Christianity and Islam

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4 Z OROASTRIANISM Arose during the height of the Persian Empire A Persian prophet, Zarathustra (Zoroaster to the Greeks), in possibly the sixth or seventh century BCE preached a new religion His ideas received state support during the Achaemenid dynasty ( BCE) Zarathustra had been appalled by the violence of recurring cattle raids He offered a new worldview

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6 According to Zarathustra, a single, unique god, Ahura Mazda, ruled the world and was the source of all truth, light, and goodness -But Ahura Mazda was in a cosmic struggle with the forces of evil -Evil was embodied in the supernatural figure of Angra Mainyu -Ahura Mazda would eventually triumph when a final Savior would arrive and restore the world to its earlier purity and peace -At the day of judgment, those who had joined with Ahura Mazda would be granted new resurrected bodies and eternal life in Paradise -Those who sided with evil were condemned to everlasting punishment

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8 Zoroastrianism was accepted within the Persian heartland and found some followers in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Anatolia But it was never a missionary religion The faith was weakened by Alexander the Great’s invasion of Persia but it survived and flourished again during the Parthian (247 BCE-224 CE) and Sassanid ( CE) dynasties However, the arrival of Islam led to the final decline of Zoroastrianism in Persia A few believers fled to India where they became known as Parsis (Persians) and continue to practice their faith to the present times

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10 Like Buddhism, Zoroastrianism vanished from its place of origin but unlike Buddhism, it did not spread in a recognizable form But the presence of Jews in the Persian Empire led to an exposure to Zoroastrian ideas -Conflict between good and evil -Idea of a last judgment and resurrected bodies -Belief in the final defeat of evil -The arrival of a savior (Messiah) -The remaking of the world at the end of time

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12 J UDAISM Judaism developed among the Hebrews According to Hebrew tradition, the prophet Abraham, led his people from Mesopotamia to Palestine Over time, a portion of the Hebrews moved to Egypt where they were enslaved but then miraculously escaped to rejoin their kin in Palestine By around 1000 BCE, the Hebrews established a small state that soon split into a northern kingdom called Israel and a southern state of Judah.

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14 Israel was conquered by Assyria in 722 BCE and many of its inhabitants were deported to other regions In 586 BCE, the kingdom of Judah came under Babylonian control and its elite class was shipped off to exile In Babylon, these exiles, now calling themselves Jews, retained their cultural identity and later were able to return to their homeland -Identity lay in unique religious ideas -Through religion as opposed to empire-building, the Jewish people influenced world history

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16 Jews believed their god, called Yahweh, was a powerful and jealous god who demanded exclusive loyalty (“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” – The First of the Ten Commandments, moral and ethical rules of Judaism) A difficult commandment because as Jews turned from pastoralism to agriculture were attracted to the fertility gods of neighboring peoples But over time, monotheism triumphed Came to believe in a covenant with Yahweh -In return for sole devotion and obedience, Yahweh would consider the Jews his chosen people, favoring them in battle, causing them to grow in numbers, and bringing them prosperity and blessings

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18 Increasingly Yahweh was seen as a lofty, transcendent deity of utter holiness and purity, set far above the world of nature, which he created But people could communicate actively with Yahweh unlike the ultimate reality found in Daoism or Hinduism In addition, Yahweh was transformed from a god of war to a god of social justice and compassion for the poor and marginalized, especially in the pronouncements of the Jewish prophets such as Amos and Isaiah

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20 The Jews had developed a distinctive conception of the divine – singular, transcendent, personal, separate from nature, engaged in history, and demanding social justice and moral righteousness above sacrifices and rituals These ideas sustained a separate Jewish identity in both ancient and modern times This understanding of God provided the foundation on which both Christianity and Islam were built

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22 S TRAYER Q UESTIONS What aspects of Zoroastrianism and Judaism subsequently found a place in Christianity and Islam? What was distinctive about the Jewish religious tradition?

23 T HE R ISE OF C HRISTIANITY

24 The Greatest Extent of the Roman Empire – 14 CE

25 The Spread of Christianity

26 T HE L IFE AND T EACHING OF J ESUS Romans Conquer Judea Rome conquers Judea, home of the Jews; makes it part of the empire in A.D. 6 Many Jews believe in a coming Messiah (meaning anointed one), or savior, who will eventually free them.

27 T HE L IFE AND T EACHING OF J ESUS Jesus of Nazareth Jesus was born in Bethlehem sometime around 6 to 4 B.C. He was raised in Nazareth in the province of Galilee. He is a carpenter until about the age 30 when he begins preaching. Mosaic of Jesus at Church of San Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy.

28 The Beginnings of Christianity in Bethlehem

29 T HE L IFE AND T EACHING OF J ESUS Jesus of Nazareth (continued) According to the four Gospels (of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) Jesus is said to perform miracles. He stresses a personal relationship with God, love for friends and enemies.

30 T HE L IFE AND T EACHING OF J ESUS A Growing Movement Apostles-from the Greek word “apostolos” means literally “someone sent out.” These are twelve men who are close disciples of Jesus. Jesus ignores wealth and status; his message appeals to the poor. Sermon on the Mount by Danish painter Carl Heinrich Bloch, 1890.

31 T HE L IFE AND T EACHING OF J ESUS Jesus Death Many Jews view Jesus as the Messiah; others see him as a false teacher. Roman governor Pontius Pilate sentences Jesus to be crucified. Apostles believe Jesus resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven. Jesus comes to be called “Christos,” the Greek word for “savior.” The word Christian and Christianity is derived from that word.

32 The Resurrection: The Church Triumphant

33 C HRISTIANITY S PREADS T HROUGH THE E MPIRE Growth of Christianity Followers spread Christianity—new religion based on the teachings of Jesus. The term “Christian” to designate followers of Christianity was first used in Antioch (see Acts 11: 26).see Acts 11: 26

34 C HRISTIANITY S PREADS T HROUGH THE E MPIRE Paul’s Mission Was originally named Saul, and was a member of the strict Jewish sect of Pharisees. He persecutes Christians at first, but on his way to Damascus to arrest some Christians he has an experience where he claimed Jesus appeared to him calling him to be an Apostle to the Gentiles. Saint Paul, by El Greco, circa

35 C HRISTIANITY S PREADS T HROUGH THE E MPIRE Paul spends his life preaching and interpreting Christianity. Paul stresses Jesus is the Son of God who died for people’s sins. Paul declared that Christianity was open to all, Gentile as well as Jew. The common languages of Latin and Greek, spoken throughout the empire, helps the spread of the Christian message. The New Testament is written entirely in common (Koine) Greek spoken by most people who live in the eastern Mediterranean region.

36 St. Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles

37 The Spread of Christianity

38 C HRISTIANITY S PREADS T HROUGH THE E MPIRE Paul is the author of epistles or letters to the churches. All of these letters existing were included in the New Testament. Romans 1 and 2 Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians 1 and 2 Thessalonians The Pastoral Epistles to Timothy and Titus Philemon

39 C HRISTIANITY S PREADS T HROUGH THE E MPIRE Jewish Rebellion Jews rebel against Rome in 66 A.D. Romans storm Jerusalem and destroy the Temple in 70 A.D. Another Jewish rebellion occurs in 132 A.D., which the Romans crush. Jews and ethnically Jewish Christians are barred from Jerusalem. Diaspora—centuries of Jewish exile—from the Greek word for “dispersal”.

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41 The Jewish Revolt (66-70 C. E.)

42 The Essene Community at Qumran

43 The Jewish Diaspora

44 C HRISTIANITY S PREADS T HROUGH THE E MPIRE Persecution of the Christians Christians won’t worship the Roman gods or the emperor. They are considered enemies of the State. Roman rulers use Christians as scapegoats for hard times. As Pax Romana crumbles, Christians are crucified, burned, and killed in the arena.

45 A W ORLD R ELIGION Christianity’s Expansion Christianity becomes a powerful force and appeals to people because of these reasons: embraces all people gives hope to the powerless appeals to those repelled by extravagance of Roman life offers a personal relationship with God promises eternal life after death

46 A W ORLD R ELIGION Constantine Accepts Christianity Constantine—Roman emperor battles for control of Rome in A.D He has a vision of a cross—the Christian symbol—and places it on soldiers’ shields. He believes Christian God helped him win the battle and legalizes Christianity. In A.D. 380 the Emperor Theodosius makes Christianity the religion of the empire.

47 A W ORLD R ELIGION Early Christian Church Priests direct a single church (parish). Bishops supervise numerous churches (diocese) Apostle Peter is considered the first bishop of Rome, therefore, the clergy trace their authority to him. Pope—means father or head of the Christian Church. Rome becomes the center of the Church.

48 A W ORLD R ELIGION A Single Voice Church leaders compile standard Christian beliefs in the New Testament The New Testament is added to the Hebrew Bible (renamed the Old Testament) The Fathers of the Church Early writers and scholars of Christianity are called Fathers of the Church Augustine, bishop in North Africa, is one of the most important Fathers He stressed the importance of receiving the sacraments to obtain God’s grace He wrote his most famous book, The City of God.

49 Person(s)Role in the Rise and Spread of Christianity 1. Jesus of Nazareth 2. apostles 3. Paul 4. Pontius Pilate 5. Constantine 6. Peter 7. Augustine

50 A CTS 11:26 “and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” (ESV)

51 Compare/Contrast the development, appeal, and spread of Christianity and Buddhism.


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