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Lecture 4

RELIG220 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Incest, State Religion, Galerius

Religious Studies
Course Code
Mark Dickens

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Chapter 4: Living in a Hostile World
Christian Distinctiveness
Christianity unlike Judaism due to Incarnation gap between God and man reduced
Incarnation: carna = flesh, body; embodiment of God (both believed in one true God)
Christianity unlike paganism (Greco-Roman) due to belief in one true God rather than a
pantheon of many gods and spirits (both agreed that you could have contact with the divine)
Distinctiveness of love
Christ’s sufferig as a result of loe
First commandment was to love God
Second commandment was to love each other
Christian values stemming from love
Humility I huilit alue others aoe ourseles Phil. :
Poverty Has ot God hose those ho are poor i the ees of the orld to e rih i
faith and to inherit the kigdo? Jaes :
Hospitality Offer hospitalit to oe aother ithout grulig: I Pet. :
Caring for widows and orphans Religio that God our Father aepts as pure ad
faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress Jaes :
Downplaying social distinctions There is either Je or Getiles, either slae for
free, or is there ale ad feale, for ou are all oe i Christ Jesus Gal. :
Antioch: Jews and Gentiles, Church of Jerusalem: mainly Jews thus there were
not always Gentiles and Jews together
There was still not complete equality between people e.g. slaves and free
Initially, there were important roles for women
Wealth oe i the ouit ut ot eessaril i iistr, e.g. Ldia, a dealer
i purple loth i Philippi Ats :
Women could act as hostesses
There was a rejection of Roman social practices detrimental to women, e.g. divorce,
incest, infanticide, infidelity, and polygamy
Positions in the church deaconesses, widows, and virgins (who took a vow of celibacy)
How the Romans Saw Them
Christians accused of atheism, cannibalism, and incest why?
Atheism had no traditions; belief in one God seen as atheist to Greco-Romans
Cannibalism Eucharist
Incest calling each other rothers ad sisters, loe feasts agape feasts
What did the pre-Christian Roman religion involve and why was abandonment of it taken so
Importance on adherence to rituals; belief in many gods/spirits; religion is part of the
engine that keeps the state going
The sa it as a rejetio of the religio of the fathers; uderiig the Roa
How did the Romans respond to Christians turning from the old religion?
Christians were rejected and persecution; martyrdom began
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Demographiall, a little sall group Jeish essiai set has gro ito a
movement spread throughout the empire with millions of people perceived as a
Tacitus, pp. 187-188: Christians became scapegoats for Nero, victims of persecution
The Martyr’s Path
Christians refused to pray/sacrifice to the emperor or Greco-Roman pantheon
Vieed as atheists or superstitious  authorities
Refusal to serve in Roman military or participate in some aspects of Roman society (passivists)
Suspicion about Christian rites (Baptism, Eucharist, and Agape Feasts)
State religion was necessary to maintain social and political unity
Christian refusal to do so was a threat to social order
Increasing Christian population in the Empire is viewed as contributing to political instability
When were Christians persecuted in the Roman Empire?
State-sponsored persecution under
Nero (54-68 CE)
Intermittent under Domitian (81-96) and Trajan (98-117)?
Marcus Aurelius (161-180)
Septimius Severus (193-211)
Trajan Decius (249-251)
Valerian (253-260)
Diocletian (284-305)
Galerius (305-311)
Methods of execution
Feeding to animals (dogs, lions, etc.)
The Martyr’s Path – Perpetua and Felicity, and Polycarp
Hagiography the writing of the lives of saints
Sept. 28
Explaining the Faith Tertullian
Tertullian (d. ca. 225)
Proal traied as a laer preise ith laguage, ritig i Lati at a tie he hurh
fathers i the Patristi Age ere ostl ritig i Greek
Used classical rhetoric to make his case
Hoeer, asks What has Athes to do ith Jerusale?: Athes = lassial Greek isdo
which is suspect; Jerusalem = Christianity, true path
Irony: using classical Greek arguments and strategies against Athens
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