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The Rise of Christianity. Early Empire Includes Diverse Religions Roman empire was culturally diverse Rome tolerated varied religious beliefs as long.

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Presentation on theme: "The Rise of Christianity. Early Empire Includes Diverse Religions Roman empire was culturally diverse Rome tolerated varied religious beliefs as long."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Rise of Christianity

2 Early Empire Includes Diverse Religions Roman empire was culturally diverse Rome tolerated varied religious beliefs as long as citizens showed loyalty by honoring Roman gods and acknowledging that the emperor was divine By 63 BC, Rome had conquered Judea, where most Jews lived – Roman excused Jews from worshipping Roman gods

3 Divisions in Judea Some Jews were willing to live under Roman rule Others, called Zealots, called on Jews to rebel against Rome and reestablish an independent state Believed that a messiah, or anointed king sent by God, would appear to lead them to freedom Several rebellions by Jews over the years were crushed by the Romans until around AD70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem


5 Jesus Proclaims His Teachings As Jews were fighting the Romans in Palestine, a Jew named Jesus began a new religion Most of what we know about the life of Jesus comes from the Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament of the Christian Bible – Written by four followers of Jesus: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

6 Jesus Begins Preaching Born about 4 BC Believed to be a descendant of King David of Israel Began preaching at age 30 – Used parables, or short stories with moral lessons, to spread his ideas – Chose 12 disciples (close followers) that he called apostles

7 Jesus Teaches New Beliefs Teachings based on Jewish tradition – Believed in one god and accepted the Ten Commandments – Preached obedience to the laws of Moses New beliefs – Called himself the Son of God – His mission was to bring spiritual salvation and eternal life to anyone who believed in him – Many believed he was the messiah

8 Teachings of Jesus Most teachings contained in a group of sayings called the Sermon on the Mount As in Judaism, emphasized God’s love and the need for justice, morality, and service to others Taught you must love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself Emphasized the importance of forgiveness

9 Sermon on the Mount

10 Parable of the Good Samaritan

11 Jesus Condemned to Death Romans considered Jesus a threat – Believed he encouraged those who wanted to rebel against Roman rule AD 33, Jesus travels to Jerusalem for Passover and is greeted by large crowds Fearing Jesus’ ability to attract followers, the Romans arrest him and charge him with treason (disloyalty) Condemned to death by crucifixion His followers then claimed that he had risen from the dead (resurrection)

12 The Last Supper by Leonardo DaVinci

13 The Message of Christianity Spreads Disciples of Jesus spread his message Taught that he was the messiah, or Christ (Greek word for “anointed one”) Followers were called Christians Peter spread Christianity to Rome Paul spread Jesus’ teachings to non-Jews – Traveled around the Mediterranean setting up churches in Greece and Asia Minor – Taught that Jesus had died out love for humankind and his followers would achieve salvation (eternal life)

14 Paul Preaching in Athens

15 Christians Are Oppressed Rome not tolerant of Christians since they would not consider emperor divine; considered traitors – Did not support class division; believed in equality During difficult times, they were used as scapegoats and blamed for social or economic problems (remember Nero?); persecuted Christians who were killed during times of persecution were called martyrs

16 The Message Appeals to Many Christianity grew among the poor who found comfort in the message of equality and the promise of a better life after death Educated Romans also embraced Christianity which incorporated the discipline and moderation of Greek philosophy Christians easily traveled around the empire on its roads and across the Mediterranean Early documents were written in Greek or Latin which many people understood

17 Rome Accepts Christianity Christianity continued to spread and attract people from all classes Last persecution of Christians under Diocletian ended in early AD 300s AD 313, after Emperor Constantine believes he saw the message, “In this sign you will conquer”, he issued the Edict of Milan which granted freedom of worship to all citizens of the Roman empire By end of the century, Theodosius makes Christianity the official religion of the Roman empire and bans all other faiths

18 Constantine’s Conversion

19 The Early Christian Church Needed to be baptized to join; all members were considered equals Women served as teachers, but later were barred from any official positions Missionaries converted people to Christianity throughout the empire and beyond Met on Sundays for a ceremony in memory of Jesus

20 Structuring the Clergy Developed into a hierarchy Only men could be members of clergy (people who conduct services) Grouped into a diocese – Each diocese had a priest – Diocese was overseen by a bishop Bishops of the most important cities in the empire had greater authority Called patriarchs

21 Differences Arise Within the Church Rivalries developed between the patriarchs, especially between the Latin-speaking west and the Greek-speaking east – Bishops of Rome became known as popes, claiming authority over all other bishops – Greek patriarchs thought all patriarchs should be equal Heresies (beliefs thought to be contrary to official church teachings) caused disputes – Councils set up to determine official church teachings

22 Scholars and Christianity Scholars produced many works of theology (discussion about God) Greatest was Augustine who combined Christian doctrine with Greek philosophy

23 The Spread of Christianity

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