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RLG203 (Jan 14, 2013).docx

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Kyle Smith

RLG203 Lecture 2 - Song: “Personal Jesus” – Depeche Mode - First essay will draw upon what we’re talking in lecture today - Last week was about what are Christians? What are faith, belief and religion? - This week: what do we know about the social, religious, and historical circumstances in which Jesus lived? - How do we know about that period? o Texts such as the Bible and secular historical texts o Archaeological findings - What do we the different “portraits” of Jesus in the Gospels tell us about how his life was understood? st - The Roman Empire in the Time of Jesus, 1 c. CE o Large extent of their empire o Encircling the Mediterranean o Infrastructure of the trading and communication is nothing short of remarkable o Colonizer and occupier - Iudaea Province o Galilee o Jesus was raised in Nazareth in Galilee - Monty Python’s Life of Brian o Rebellion against the Romans despite the infrastructure - PBS Frontline: From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians o Augustus Caesar was the emperor when Jesus was born; brought peace to Rome; taxes; considered himself “son of God” o King Herod ruled in Judea; instrument of Rome; made Jerusalem the showpiece with lots of building and at monumental scale  Rebuilding of the temple o Best guess that Jesus was born in 4 BCE o Hotbed of political conflicts? Nazareth o Galilee was seen to be a calm backwater land, but recent scholars discovered that this was not the case o Seferus, large urban centre near Nazareth  Mosaic of beautiful woman and other pictures  Not just a city, but Nazareth was a satellite city attached to Seferus?  Jesus was proximate to a thriving urban centre and exposed to diversity  Question about him being a humble carpenter and his social class o There was no middle class o Artisan class o Jesus was trilingual o Jesus was a Jew, everybody around him were Jews, born, live and die as a Jew; pray in synagogues but we should only regard there’s only one Temple and that’s the one in Jerusalem  One temple for the one God  Sacred place on Earth  Very powerful place - Can’t know about Jesus without setting him out on this context - Roman merchant vessel - Trajan’s Column, Rome, early 2 c. CE - All roads lead to Rome o Lots of roads and they were made to last o Extensive - Appian Way (Via Appia) in Rome - Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval civilizations o Roads and paved networks o 400,000 km of roads (around the equator 10 times) - Roman Centurion o Someone who is in charge of 100 infantry men - In that time period, people lost their hair, teeth, and in terrible shape by the time they’re in mid th thirties; 2/3 children will not make it to their 10 birthday - 5% will be wealthy merchant and the rest of the 95% are poor - Historical Jesus vs. Jesus of faith doesn’t mean they’re mutually incompatible - Pluralities of Jesus, depending on how you approach it, you’ll see it differently - Model of Herod’s Temple (Israel Museum, Jerusalem) o The real one was destroyed in the 70s - What was left is the Dome of the rock of the temple - Muslim shrine built upon the Christian temple spot - “foundation stone” as viewed from within the Dome of the Rock o The spot where Mohammad was taken up into heaven and with the prophets Abraham, Jesus, Moses - God has no companion, God does not have a son inscriptions in Muslim shrine which is a jab at Christians - Praying outside the holy place; the wailing wall - Orthodox Jews praying at Western Wall - Arch of Titus o 1 c., Via Sacra, Rome o Erected by Napolean, celebration of Rome’s destruction of the Jewish temple and controlling the rebelling Judea and it’s also a warning sign to Jews o Spoils of the Temple at the Arch of Temple o The Romans sacking and taking away the goods from the Temple and melting and smelting to be Roman things such as coins - Vespasian Sestertius minted 71 CE o Judea Capta o Soldier and wailing woman - Titus Sestertius minted 80 CE o Worth 2 loaves of bread - If you’re Jewish, you’ll be constantly reminded of that because the coins are in your back pocket - Why study the “historical” Jesus? o Under the full complexity to get a better sense - Ice Cube example - Nazareth o As seen from the excavations at Sepphoris o Just across the hillside o Never mentioned in the Gospel though o Galilee may be in backwater, but not near where Jesus grew up - Mona Lisa of Galilee mosaic art in Sepphoris o The word Sepphoris means beautiful o Sapphire, Sephora - Exodus 12 o In Egypt, killing first born sons o Paint and blood of the lamb to the angel of death that the angel will pass through the Jewish households - Herod’s Temple and Antonia Fortress o Model ancient Jerusalem at Israel Museum o Lamb and blood everywhere because of all the sacrifices - Giotto o Jesus Cleansing the Temple (ca. 1300) o Exchanging with Jewish coins and then buying animals for sacrifice o The people were making a profit when exchanging coins and Jesus didn’t liked that o The Romans would want to eliminate the threat that was causing a riot so they hung him on the cross would be one reason - “gospel” = good news - Gospel writers called “evangelists” - The gospels were written in Greek o According to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John so it could be written by someone else who heard it from them? o There are two audiences o The details are different though across the 4 gospel texts - Example: o The New York Times  Bin Laden killed by US forces in Pakistan, Obama says, declaring justice o New York Post  Got HIM! o Daily News  Rot in Hell! o Toronto Sun  Rot in Hell! o Most Canadian newspapers noted where Bin Laden was killed, in US, they just care that he was dead and justify for what he did, in India, there’s a different audience as well - “Early in the morning He came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery - John 8: 1-11 o Avoids the questions and throws the qu
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