Religious Studies, October 16 2012, Lecture Notes
CHRISTIAN THEOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ~ 1st 4th Century CE
● Did Jesus resurrect or not?
● Spiritual or Material?
● Adopted or "natural" son of God?
● Christianity as "Jewish" or not?
Valentinus 110160, not really sure.
understood Jesus as mediator to unique God (like Marcion)
believed in DOCETIC jesus (like a ghost, a spiritual being, not material)
they worried about what he ate, did he experience corruption by defecation?
SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERERENT THEOLOGIES (WHICH EQUALS VERY
some thought christ was Docetic
some thought, like paul, christ died and conquered death, and he was coming
back any day.
some only focused on his teachings like gospel of Q, his death was almost
irrelevant. he was an emmissary of divine wisdom
some saw Jesus as god made flesh to die for our sins.
some groups thought him born a regular human being but with his baptism he became God, the dove that descends on him gives him his power.
some saw Christ (marcion, gnostics), as a way around the horrible old testament
God and to get to a God of Love and spiritual existence.
***all these differences were at their height between first and fourth century CE
these differences began to dissipate with the NICENE CREED (325 CE). this is
the one glen wants us to know.
● christianity had cahnged from a bunch of little groups running around the
greco roman world and now had some power
● constantine, emporer of Rome, converted to Christianity in 312 CE
● this gave the dominant group, the one that constantine conformed too, great
power to start to ossify the doctrines
● Constantine called for this First Ecumenical Council of Nicea the leaders of
the churches that conformed to one another to come up with the bottom line
● everything that fell outside this bottom line became HERESY.
● the one right way is called ORTHODOXY.
THE NICENE CREED begins with We believe in one God the Father, the
Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
THIS CUTS OUT MARCION, GNOSTICS, ETC
it goes on: We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally
begotten of the Father, God from God, etc
THIS CUTS OUT THE ADOPTIONISTS
it ends: we believe in the one holy catholic and apostolic church.
THIS CUTS OUT ANYONE WHO DOESN'T CONFORM TO THE GROUP PUTTING FORWARD THIS CREED.
This was the victors writing history.
THIS POINTS OUT:
this was canonized standardized christianity taking shape
the beliefs laid out in the creed were not the only beliefs that existed in the fourth
the year before Constantine became Emporer, the Emporer before him made it
illegal to persecute Christians.
Constantine is said to have had a battle in this year where he has a vision of a
cross, paints it on everyone's shields, won the battle, became emporer.
after Constantine, Justinian tried to get rid of Christianity but failed. Catholics
call him an Apostate!
After Justinian, Christianity became official religion of the Empire.
Suddenly Christianity has immense power.
Creeds start to emerge to be sure everyone is on the same page.
KEY TERMS / CONCEPTS THAT COME ABOUT:
ONE GOD, THREE PERSONS
God the... Father, Son, Holy Spirit
There is only one God. Christians are monotheists. But this perso