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6.3 The Rise of Christianity
Transcript of 6.3 The Rise of Christianity
Rome's power spread to Judea, home of the Jews.
Judea was made a province of the Roman empire.
Jews believed they would one day be free, and believed a Messiah would be sent to rescue them and restore the kingdom of the Jews.
After 20 years of Roman rule, many believed a savior had arrived in Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus of Nazareth
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea.
The main source of info about his life and teachings comes from the Gsopels, the first four books of the New Testament of the Christian Bible
At the age of 30, Jesus began public ministry of teaching, preaching, good works and purported miracles.
He stressed importance of people's love for God, their neighbors, their enemies and themselves.
Apostles - 12 men who are thought to have written the Gospels
As Jesus preached from town to town his fame grew.
His growing popularity concerned Roman rulers.
The Roman governor Pontius Pilate arrested Jesus saying that he defied the authority of Rome, and sentenced him to be crucified.
After Jesus's death, his body was placed in a tomb. Three days later, according to the Gospels, his body was gone and a living Jesus began appearing to his followers.
After his death, his followers continued to spread his ideas, and a new religion grew from Jesus's teachings.
One man who had an enormous influence on the spread of Christianity was Paul.
The Pax Romana made travel and idea exchange safe, and Paul traveled and spread Jesus's teachings.
Persecution of Christians
Christians refused to worship Roman gods, and this was seen as opposition to Roman rule.
As the Pax Romana crumbled in the 2nd century, persecution of Christians intensified.
Romans exiled, imprisoned or executed Christians for refusing to worship Roman deities.
Christians were killed by crucifixion, burning, or by wild animals in an arena.
Other Christians and some non-Christians viewed persecuted Christians as martyrs, or people willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of a belief or cause.
A World Religion
By the late 3rd century, A.D., there were millions of Christians in the Roman empire.
A critical moment in the spread of Christianity occurred when Roman emperor Constantine accepted Christianity after seeing an image of a cross after praying for help in a battle.
He announced an end to persecution of Christians, and declared Christianity to be a religion approved by the emporer.
In 380, the emperor Theodosius made it the empire's official religion.
Early Christian Church
At the local level, a priest led each small group of Christians.
A bishop, also a priest, supervised several local churches.
Peter - the first bishop of Rome and considered the father of the modern Church.
Later bishops of Rome claimed to be heirs of Peter, and said that Peter was the first pope, the father or head of the Christian Church.
Since Rome was the capital of the empire it made sense to be the center of the Church.
A Single Voice
Disagreements developed among followers of Christianity.
Church leaders called any belief that appeared to contradict basic teaching a heresy.
In an attempt to end conflicts, Church leaders tried to set a single standard of belief.
These beliefs were compiled in the New Testament, which contained the Gospels, the Epistles of Paul, and other documents.
The New Testament was added to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).
325 A.D. - Constantine called Church leaders to Nicaea in Anatolia. There they wrote the Nicene Creed, which defined the basic beliefs of the Church.
Think, Pair, Share
Who did more to spread Christianity - Paul or Constantine? Why?
The Rise of Christianity