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David Perley

LECTURE 5 - The very beginnings of Christianity take place absolutely in the context of Judaism - The time of Jesus, first century CE (common era) the land of Israel is part of the Roman empire - Apocalypse: absolute final thing/unveiling/revelation - Apocalyptic sentiment: desperate hope that someone (like a Messiah) will help them out in a difficult situation o Important for understanding Judaism at the time o Christianity emerges as an apocalyptic movement within Judaism - The end time in an apocalypse is always the beginning time of something else - Primary sources of how we know how Jesus might’ve been are Gospels o Book that is considered a holy text - Why would a religion retain all 4 stories of the life of Jesus? It gives us the best well-rounded picture of who this person might be o Importance of each of the gospels is that each one is tied to eyewitness account or some sort of eyewitness experience - Mosaic portrait of Jesus: what jesus is made up of different interpretations to create the picture of the Jesus we know - So early Christians would’ve thought that one particular text wasn’t enough to define Jesus, so they had more. (The 4 Gospels) - Christianity involves 2 commandments: love for god and love for human beings - In Christianity, the notion of messiah developed somewhat o Not only is the messiah a political or social ruler that comes and writes wrongs, but now we have the idea of a kingdom/the place that the messiah rules over is a bit bigger than simply the local, geographic place and Jesus comes to be known as more of like a cosmic saviour not just a localized provincial saviour o Spiritual kingdom - The divine is not simply and only an absolute force that is the creator/the life giver and all that sort of thing, but god actually participates in the world in a much more radical sense through the person of Jesus. - Jesus is divine and human - Jesus is simultaneously fully divine and simultaneously fully human o It’s a mystery - Jesus was raised in the Jewish context - So he’s portrayed in the Gospels as simultaneously participating in the tradition but also a bit of a radical thinker - Christianity is a missionary religion o There’s something about its message that it wants to broadcast o Spreading the message and watching the numbers grow o Numbers grow: fulfilling god’s purpose  Number=power=more people doing god’s will=more support for your own perspective. If it keeps growing, then people will believe that it’s true. - Judaism is not a missionary religion - Even in the holy book, there is this idea about spreading the message in Christianity (so we should be spreading the message since there are actually stories in the bible that talk about it) o Ex. The story of the Pentecost  The disciples are sort of sitting around not quite sure what to do with the new phenomenon that has happened (Jesus crucified). Then the spirit of God (tongues of fire that sort of electrocute each of the disciples) allows them each to speak a variety of languages that they could not before so they could take their message and spread it throughout the world - Hebrew bible and the new testament have two opposite themes relating to god either enabling us facilitating our abilities to communicate with each other or actually god doing the opposite - The tower of babble: o Group of people gather to build this tower that it may be so high that it may reach heaven itself. Therefore god made it so the people cannot understand each other (lack of communication due to human arrogance...babble) - Pentecost story: God steps into facilitate communication (opposite of tower of babble) - Paul: the founder of Christianity o The letters he wrote are the reason that formed the first church o He ensured some sort of consistency of this practice o He also suggested that Christianity could be a tradition for gentiles (didn’t have to be a Jew to participate in this emerging religious tradition) Therefore this could attract anyone. o People at that time spoke Greek, therefore the language of Christianity is Greek o Stressed less the day to day activities of Jesus, the things he said and did, and focussed a little bit more on the nature of Jesus on his actual divine status o Paul emphasizes the cosmic sense of Jesus as Christ of Messiah, son of god, divine being, redeemer of human sin o Also focuses on sacrifice of Jesus to redeem us as sinners o God sees us as sinners but accepts us o Paul believes that Jesus is less focussed on law and is more about getting my soul, inner state in the right relationship with the divine - Faith, belief in Jesus as a redeemer, and not works not all the things I can do in my life, are most important - Jesus= cosmic messiah - Idea of sin = major problem that requires resolution - Christians believe that we all inherited the sin from the “Adam and Eve” story and that
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