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University of British Columbia
Religious Studies
RELG 101

THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA INTRODUCTION TO WORLD RELIGIONS RELIGIOUS STUDIES 100 (001) CHRISTIANITY: REVIEW C ONTENTS LECTURE NOTES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . REVIEW Q UESTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . KEY TERMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 L ECTURE N OTES The Life and Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth (4 BCE - 30 CE) Life/Ministry of Jesus of Nazareth  John the Baptist, "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven/God is at hand, about to come, nearby." Messiah is about to come; the sins of the people are keeping Messiah from coming; if only the people would repent, Messiah would come. o "Kingdom," God's Messianic rule, through an Anointed one, a descendent of David, established, brings freedom from oppression, rule of justice and liberation. o "Baptist"? Purification, cleansing, representative of repentance. o Jesus, a carpenter, a thirty-year old who is baptized by John: the marking of a three-year period of his ministry. John "recognizes" that Jesus is the one we are all waiting for. Jesus acknowledges this, but gets baptized by John; a dove, a voice from heaven, recognizing Jesus as God's son, an initiation, a special placing of Jesus.  40 day fast in the wilderness, temptation by the figure of Satan. o Satan. In the Jewish tradition very early on, spiritual forces at work out there. Realm of gods, messengers sent by God; dark forces, demons. Representatives of good and evil, spiritually. Contact with Persians, solidifies into conception of Arch-enemy of God, equal terms/equal powers, a battle between the forces of good and evil. Christianity inherits the cosmic scenario of the battle between God and the infernal power; a continual, constant struggle. o Not just the sin of Israel, but also satanic forces keeping Messiah from coming. This world because it is not under God's rule, Satan has control over this world, oppression and injustice reigns. o "I can give you the world..." Satan as the lord, ruler of this world; thus you don’t want to be of this world, leads to temptation and alignment with Satan; leads to a type of dualist understanding of this world.  Synagogue. Reads a particular text. Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;”  Chooses 12 disciples  Dedicates himself to a spiritual mission of some kind. Spends the next three years: (a) preaching/teaching, the kingdom of heaven, the ideal social order, the proper order of human relations; and (b) healing (also storm stilling, food production), signs/proof/evidence that the rule of God, the messianic reign, is manifesting in the figure of Jesus (he is the bringer/in breaker of the kingdom). 2 Teachings of Jesus  Kingdom of God, KoG o Now present, now manifesting, through Jesus; Jesus is the key to the unlocking of the kingdom. o New era, new age in history  A fulfillment of the "law and the prophets." All what the Torah was about is somehow finding its fulfillment now in this messianic kingdom. A new age of the "Gospel," good-news of the liberation of God's messianic kingdom.  Represents a new covenant, a fulfillment of God's covenant with Israel.  It will be fully consummated in the future at the last day.  Jesus' teaching predominantly in the form of "parables," teachings through short allegorical narratives. Potential for ambiguity: those with ears, let them hear...  Represents a new social order: a different vision of what constitutes true justice; gets into big conflict here with existing establishment, challenging it to its core in religious, social, political ways.  Jesus closest to the "Pharisees" in his particular hermeneutic of Scripture, defies Mishnaic conceptions of living. Referred to as a teacher, "Rabbi," though he didn't act like one: he shouldn’t have hung out with women, or with sinners, or with non-Jews, or with tax-collectors, or with children.  Criticizes traditions of "Pharisees": heals on the Sabbath; criticizes the rich and super-righteous. The Sermon on the Mount  Internalizes external commandments: purify your heart; raises standard of ethics to a higher level; no hatred in your heart, this is the kingdom of God.  Rooted on the idea of love, there is a radical sense of equality among people, there is an attack on a social hierarchy, in the kingdom of heaven it will all be reversed, god will insure that the little guy will be raised up, there is a sense of equality, that men and women will be seen as equal; why this kind of social order is because of love. All are equal and all therefore are to be equally loved, to love your enemy, be good to those who abuse you; love the lord your god  Presentation of Jesus' own "rulings" not rooted in prior traditions: his word as authoritative and "above" the word of God in Torah?  Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount), rooted on the theme of love: essence of the teaching of the messianic kingdom of God, a radical sense of equality amongst people, attack of social hierarchy; the ethics of reversal: those who are high/mighty now will be on the bottom in the end...  Why? Because of love; all are equal, all are to be equally loved. 3 Who was Jesus (Identity)?  Very little regarding who Jesus thought he was: the messianic secret, never any blatant teaching regarding the person/work of Jesus.  A unique person: he forgave people of their sins...  Terms used more so by Jesus himself... o "Messiah/Mashiah/Xristos." (Anointed one): a secret, not emphasized (avoided by Christ himself), but implied in his actions and deeds. o "Son of Man." A human being, a child of humanity. Strand of this term being used in a messianic way (Daniel, Ezekiel) o "Suffering Servant." Not a mighty lord/king, but comes in humble way of serving humanity, others, embrace humanity. First coming manifestation; second coming in the future in full glory to act as judge (judging people according to their deeds; Matt 25).  Used more so by Jesus' followers... o "Son of God." Jewish people are collectively this; a covenant with God the Father. Angels also referred to as this. Once in a while in rabbinic literature, well known holy, saintly folk given this title. "God in the flesh?" A foreign notion in Jewish thought. In Hellenistic thought/culture indeed feasible that humans could be divine beings, descendents of the gods; gods on earth; emperors seen as such. This is how as Christianity evolves and spreads eventually Jesus' person is understood to be: God in human flesh; a human mother and a divine father. o "Lord & Savior." Lord, a title of honor/respect, sir; also a term used in referenced to deities. Conflict/Crucifixion  Jesus as a radical, threat to the system; represents a challenge to the established order.  Messiah: both religious and political connotations. Cannot separate.  Those who want to get rid of Jesus because he poses a threat.  Judas, one of the 12, disillusioned with Jesus' mission of peace and non-violent opposition of government; betrays Jesus, goes to religious authorities advises when Jesus might be arrested without mobbing.  "Last supper," the Passover meal, basis for Eucharist meal; "body" and "blood" in the "bread" and the "wine". Do it in remembrance of sacrifice that Jesus is making: a new covenant.  To Judas: Go and do what you must do. Sanhedrin court all night...Caiphus: "are you the Messiah?" "Yes I am," OR “As you say, so it is."  High priests rips garments; a blasphemy response. Jesus is guilty of blasphemy, a religious crime, deserving of the penalty of death. Jews were not allowed to put any one to death for a crime. Jews had freedom to exercise legal systems, but not on issues of capital punishment.  But Romans don’t want to deal with religious issues; Jesus is guilty of high treason, claiming to be the king of the Jews, changing a religious issue to a political issue 4  Pontius Pilate. Not guilty. Guilt of shedding Jesus' blood falls upon the Jews, a justification for Christianity's persecution of Jewish folk throughout history.  Crucifixion: a painful, shaming, lengthy, miserable kind of death. All Jews are buried, no matter what, immediately. Killed quickly by the lance. Partial burial procedure, cloths and put in a cave temporarily, guarded by soldiers; women come back to complete burial procedure; body of Jesus is gone; different accounts of resurrection. Rise of Christianity (The Early Followers of Jesus; Paul) Pentecost  40 some days (after Easter) where Jesus' followers claim that they encounter a resurrected Jesus: a physical, non-physical Jesus.  Might be construed as the event that “officially” births a new religion: the Church is born  When Jesus taught his followers; Jesus had to leave in order to send the "Holy Spirit" (paraclete) the comforter that would lead them into all truth, guidance, and understanding (Muslims to create a link to prior traditions claim later that this paraclete/comforter is Mohammed)  Ascension: go to Jerusalem and wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Pentecost; coincides with Jewish festival of Shavuot, Feast of 1st Fruits; the Holy Spirit comes.  Peter and the proclamation of a "new religion." Preaching in bold ways in Jerusalem. Speaking in other languages, glossalalia, a gifting/manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Also healing.  Christianity as a religion is born...followers put in a package the meaning of Jesus' death, crucifixion and resurrection; interpreted in a way that is a "fulfillment" of Jewish scripture.  "Thousands of converts." Growing, spreading, the birth of the Christian Church. Saul/Paul  Gamaliel I: what to do about this particular movement? If it is of God, we won’t be able to stop it; if it is not of God, it will die out. One of his pupils is...  Saul of Tarsus; "Pharisee of Pharisees"; despised Christian movement and intent on bringing this movement to an end; attempts to bring them down; a persecutor of this movement; imprisons, stones, beats, etc.  Conversion St. Paul the Apostle; an encounter with Christ.  Paul, a religious/theology "expert," goes through the Jewish tradition, makes connections to "old covenant," makes theologically meaningful the events of Jesus' life; what does this mean? How is it a fulfillment of scripture, tradition? Real hardcore theologian, defining events. He asked and answered questions, he became the brainchild and created a lot of theology that is central to Christianity.  Becomes a great missionary; spreads "new" religion, continuation and fulfillment of Judaism; though established Judaism rejects it, and hence it becomes a "new" religion. 5  Develops earliest Christian rituals: baptism, Eucharist (bread and wine; symbol of Passover)  Travels from city to city; writes letters to his missional "communities," explains doctrine, theology, ethics, what beliefs should consist of...  Apostle: sent by God, with a mission/purpose of taking the message to the world.  What about all the "old" Jewish laws? What about non-Jews (Gentiles) who are converting, embrace the whole Jewish tradition? Paul vs. “Jewish” Christians  James (the brother of Jesus), centered at Jerusalem, overseeing the Church in Jerusalem, committed to keeping with old Jewish laws (still continue on keeping the whole Jewish law), and believes in Jesus as the bringer of salvation of some kind.  Paul: don't have to follow "old" laws, now under "grace" total forgiveness and freedom in having to "perform" in these laws.  Peter? A visionary experience allowing Peter to "abandon" the "old" Jewish laws.  Allowed Christianity to “break away” from Judaism by not being encumbered by "old" Jewish laws...allows for great spread to the Gentile world. From Persecution(s) to State Sponsorship Persecutions  Nero, first of Roman emperors to begin persecution of Christian movement (64 CE); before this, the Jews had freedom of religion under Roman authority, official sanction, exempt from worship of Roman gods, etc.  Once Rome realizes that Jews condemn Christians as a heresy and separate from, Rome decides to persecute Christians as separate from Judaism, and hence in breach of Roman religious laws.  Rome catches on fire, scapegoat is the Christians, launches persecution; Paul put to death. Peter: crucified upside-down; running the Church at Rome, the "father" of the Church in Rome.  Waves of persecution inaugurated by Roman authorities. At times very intense, sometimes not very intense. To convert to new movement could involve potential death.  Movement grows; by 313 CE, about 10% of Roman empire is Christian, being received in the non-Jewish world, assimilates into Roman understanding of the world, receptivity amongst Gentiles in various ways, rise among upper-class consciousness. 6 Constantine (312 CE), Roman Empire split into E and W  “Conversion” o In the year 312, Roman Emperor Constantine was about to go into battle with another Emperor to see who would gain supremacy over the entire Roman Empire o The night before, he has a vision of a Christian cross saying that he shall conquer by this sign, so he has the sign painted on the shields and armor of the soldiers; this led to his conversion to Christianity;  Christianity = the Civil Religion of the Roman Empire o He then starts to provide support for this religion o Emperor Constantine's Edict of Milan (313) makes Christianity  FIRST a tolerated religion and then, in effect,  THEN the civil religion of the Roman Empire  Constantine set precedents for very close ties between state and church o In terms of political legitimation, there are new requirements of internal unity for Christianity o An issue that had developed was that Christianity had been spreading but there was an issue in ensuring that Christians were all believing the same thing and the right thing o The Imperial Religion ought not to be divided. One Rome = One Christian Faith (cast out diversions = heresies) o There are also new possibilities of counter-reactions from resistant centers elsewhere Unity of Faith  Achieving a unity of faith, theologically. What is it that Christians should believe?  Constantine establishes the “first” Ecumenical Church council (325) at Nicea; gathering of Church officials and leaders. Attempt to decide: What constitutes orthodoxy, right belief?  Heresy becomes illegal; to have a different opinion to what was decided at the Councils was illegal, forced into exile, imprisoned. Heresy is a crime against the state. No freedom of thought.  392 CE, becomes officially the state religion of Rome; the old Roman religion of worshipping gods, "paganism," etc, becomes outlawed. Full citizenship only granted to Christians. All other religions outlawed, except Judaism.  While the history of the Jewish people is important to Judaism; in Christianity is the BELIEF and that everyone believes the rights thing (unity of faith)  What, then, ought we believe? Institution of Creeds (distilled results of the Councils) used as statements of faith that they would recite and so all will know what it is that they ought to believe 7  More importantly, how do we achieve universal uniformity of belief/practice? o Control of Leadership o Canonization of Scripture o Doctrine determined by Councils Control of Leadership (Structure) Apostolic Succession of the Episcopate (Bishopric)  Whose allowed to be a leader, tight control; qualification "apostolic succession of the episcopate/bishopric"; bishop has inherited this position by appointment who was originally appointed by one of the original apostles of Christ; an unbroken line back to Christ who had transmitted what Christ had taught. Bishop of Rome, goes back to appointment of Peter.  Matt 16: upon this rock I will build my Church; Peter receives the keys to the kingdom of heaven, bound on earth and heaven.  A genealogy/lineage of leadership each derived from one of the Twelve Apostles (and Paul).  Peter, special, bishop of Rome, the authority to be head over the whole church, has in a unique way, authority given by Christ to be the head of the Church, the pope.  Other Bishoprics/Sees: Alexandria/Antioch/Jerusalem (come under the rule of Islam) and Constantinople  All five Sees were equal but Rome said that they are the first and called themselves Pope  Division between Rome and Const. intensifies over time. Rome, first among equals, the pope. Power split between East and West.  The Great Schism (1054 CE). Pushing authority of patriarch of Rome over Constantinople. Mutual excommunication between the East/West  Patriarchs oversee archbishops; archbishops oversee provinces (several dioceses); bishops oversee dioceses (several parishes); priests oversee parishes.  Eastern Orthodoxy: West misinterprets Matt 16; anyone who makes a similar confession of faith like Peter, to them will be given spiritual authority (“keys to the kingdom of heaven”) 8 Canonization of Scripture Only acknowledge these books as inspired and authoritative for the Christian faith…  TaNaK, Christians refer to this as "Old Testament"; add to this the collection called the "New Testament" = the Christian Bible.  Gospels: Matt, Mark, Luke, and John. o Cover the life and teaching of Jesus. Mark/Matt/Luke, the Synoptic Gospels (Matt and Luke word for word borrowing of Markan material = huge overlapping identical sections). o Document hypothesis...Mark with Matt/Luke and Q. o John stands on its own as a unique text  Acts of the Apostles. Story of what the Apostles did after Jesus’ ascension. Written by 'Luke,' the same author as the gospel-writer, an MD in the Roman empire, co-traveler with Paul  21 Letters: 2/3 "Pauline" epistles; some by John and Peter and others.  Revelation: written by John as well, living on an island in exile receives revelations, apocalyptic, prophetic; difficult to understand, visions of judgment, future destruction, Satan (anti-Christ), 666, etc. Basic Statement of Christian Theology/Doctrine (as articulated principally in the West)  Saved? From what? The Fall of Humanity. Garden of Eden, origin of sin/death/suffering, lost the right to immortality. Sin = guilt/condemnation by God. Death is the penalty of sin (loss of immortality) Also, alienation from God.  Salvation consists of: o Forgiveness of sin and removal of all guilt and condemnation o Receiving eternal life, gaining immortality o Reconciliation with God, sons/children of God (parental metaphor), adoption into son-ship restored, reconnection  Brought about and effected through the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. So that the crucifixion (substitutionary atonement, a legal/juridical definition) pays the penalty/price. Christ, without sin, acting as a substitute for humanity, atoned for the sins of humanity, by willingly dying...  Resurrection involves the undoing the power of death; new life in a new relationship with God, reconciliation and reception of eternal life.  Why was Jesus able to bring this about? Because of who he was...  Who was Jesus? Not just an ordinary human being could bring this about. He had to be both divine and human in order to effect this salvation...this duality of nature (divinity and humanity) is what is theologically hammered out in the Church Councils… 9 The (Seven) Church ‘Ecumenical’ Councils (First four deal precisely with Christology)  325 CE, Nicea. Jesus' human nature decided. Gnostics: only had the appearance of humanity (an illusion; Docetism). Officially condemned at this council: Jesus is entirely human in every way, though without sin. Also condemns Arianism. Jesus was a super-being, second in power to God, not equal with God, created by God, a supernatural angelic being. A type of god, but not God essentially. NO! JC of the very same substance of divinity, in no way different from God at all ( 2 natures in 1 person = 2 what’s in 1 who)  381 CE, Constantinople o Nestorianism - human body, divine soul/mind; condemned. o God/human in all aspects of person; the whole of human life external/internal God and humanity. What is not assumed is not healed; what wasn't taken on cannot be saved. o God was literally crucified and put to death? Yes, God himself was put to death; cannot separate the human and divine nature, even as far as unto death. Two natures so united in Christ that these could not be separated.  451 CE, Chalcedon o Christ, a hybrid? Not really quite like us; half human, half divine? o No! Two natures of Christ: without confusion, without division. o Cannot be separated, they are in union; but union does not effect a third substance. o Fully God in substance and nature; fully human in substance and nature.  How do we understand the Godhead? o The doctrine of the Trinity, three-in-one (3 persons in 1 divine nature, one being = 3 who's in 1 what). Three persons who coexist as one divine being, divinity. Distinction within the Godhead of three persons: God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. One divine being has within it plurality, relationality. If God is love, love automatically implies relationship. o God the Father, running the universe; the Son, crucified/resurrected; the Spirit, the God-consciousness among the people. o Jesus preexisted before the Incarnation (born of a virgin; conceived and born without sin). Descended, took on human form, ascended into heaven. Later Theological Developments (re: Christ being conceived and born without sin)  Augustine: Doctrine of Original Sin. When Adam/eve disobeyed God and committed first act of sin, a genetic transformation, sin is inherited through conception, linking/association of sexual intercourse and sin. You cannot help but sin; sin has such a power over your nature, incapacitates your ability to do good (works). Not until the saving grace of God can break power of sin over being, empowers one to not sin. 10 Heresy, Orthodoxy and (a fuller description of) the Seven “Ecumenical” Councils  Nicea (325 CE) o Heresy: Arius denied the divinity of Christ o Orthodoxy  Council declared Arius' teaching a heresy, unacceptable to the Church  Decreed that Christ is God  He is of the same essence "homoousios" with God the Father  Constantinople (381 CE) o Heresy: Macedonius maintained that the Holy Spirit  was not a person (hypostasis)  was simply a power (dynamic) of God.  was therefore inferior to the Father and the Son o Orthodoxy  Council condemned Macedonius' teaching  Defined the doctrine of the Holy Trinity  Decreed that there was one God in three persons (hypostases): Father, Son and Holy Spirit  Ephesus (431 CE) o Heresy: Nestorius taught  that the Mary gave birth to a man, Jesus Christ, not God  the Logos only dwelled in Christ, as in a Temple  Christ was only Theophoros: Bearer of God; consequently, Virgin Mary should be called Christotokos, Mother of Christ and not Theotokos, Mother of God o Orthodoxy  Council denounced Nestorius' teaching  Jesus Christ is one person, not two separate people  The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Logos), is complete God and complete man, with a rational soul and body  The Virgin Mary is Theotokos; she gave birth to God who became man  Chalcedon (451 CE) o Heresy: Eutychys taught that  Christ's less perfect human nature dissolved itself into His more perfect divine nature.  Thus, Christ had only one nature, the Divine.  Monophysitism (mono", one according to "physis" or "nature") overemphasized the divine nature of Christ, at the expense of the human o Orthodoxy  Council condemned Monophysitism, the teaching of Eutychys  Christ has two complete natures: the divine and the human  The two natures function without confusion, are not divided nor separate and at no time did they undergo any change 11  Constantinople II (553 CE) o Council was called to put an end to the Nestorian and the Eutychian (Monophysite) controversies o Council confirmed Church's teaching regarding the two natures of Christ (human and divine)  Constantinople III (680 CE) o Heresy: "Monothelitism"  Although Christ did have two natures (divine and human), he nevertheless, acted as God only  His divine nature made all the decisions and His human nature only carried and acted them out.  Hence, the name "Monothelitism"("mono" one according to "thelesis" or “will”) o Orthodoxy  Christ had two natures with two activities  As God, he worked miracles, rising from the dead and ascending into heaven  As Man, he performed ordinary acts of daily life  Each nature performed its tasks without being confused, or working against each other  The two natures were united in the one Divine Person Jesus Christ  Nicea II (787 CE) o Icon Controversy  Centered on the use of icons in the Church and the controversy between the iconoclasts and iconophiles.  The Iconoclasts were suspicious of religious art; demanded that the Church rid itself of such art and that it be destroyed or broken.  The iconophiles believed that icons served to preserve the doctrinal teachings of the Church; considered icons to be man's dynamic way of expressing the divine through art and beauty o Resolution/Proclamation  Affirmed icons as genuine expressions of the Christian Faith  Summary of Seven Ecumenical Councils Council Year Opposed Favored Nicea I 325 Arius Divinity of Christ Constantinople I 381 Macedonius Trinity: One God, Three Persons Ephesus 431 Nestorius Jesus is One Person; Mary is Theotokos Chalcedon 451 Eutychus Jesus had Two Natures: God & Man Constantinople II 553 Nestorius/Eutychus Two Natures of Christ Constantinople III 680 Monothelitism True Humanity of Jesus' Will Nicea II 787 Iconoclasts Iconophiles 12 Roman Catholicism Filioque • Holy Spirit proceeds from God the Father. Roman Catholicism (the West) adds “…and the Son” (known as the Filioque clause) • East rejects this addition to the creed; hold that Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone Papacy  Pope is the person who represents Christ on earth (Vicar of Christ); has full spiritual authority on the matters of faith  Associated with this is the Papal Infallibility: when the pope would officially decree certain doctrines (dogma), it is held that he is without error Sacramentalism  The saving grace of Christ, salvation itself, cannot be accessed by an individual on their own, it has to be through the church and its rituals  There can be no salvation outside of the church (further developments in Vatican II)  There were 7 sacraments that were instituted; a sacrament is a religious ritual that was instituted by Christ o Baptism. Symbolizes a commitment to repent: keep away from sin and to be cleansed of all sin  Augustine is one of the key thinkers concerning this sacrament  Baptism was no longer a symbol but literally had the effect of washing you of your sin  Augustine developed the doctrine of original sin; meaning that every human being is born from an inherently sinful nature and you cannot help yourself but sin  Concern is that a baby dies during childbirth they may be doomed because they are already sinners and may not go to heaven  Church then thinks of a place called limbo  You want Baptism to take place as soon as possible  Very early
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