REL 1350 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Tertullian, Traditors, Ancient Greek Philosophy

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5 Feb 2017
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Christianity and Paganism
1. Incarnation: God entered the world in Jesus (Gap b/w God and humanity), God could be
known sensibly
2. Love
a. God gave the world the a son out of love
b. Christ endured the cross because of love
c. First commandment is to love God
d. Humility and poverty
3. Equality: rich and poor, women and men, slaves and frees (counter cultural.. Marriage,
slave)
a. Against female infanticide, divorce, incest, infidelity, and polygamy
b. Women’s role in churches: deaconess, widowhood, virginity (widowhood and
virginity are regarded as virtuous)
4. Discipline: post-baptismal sin -- “whether a fallen sinner could ever regain a place in the
community”
a. Apostate
5. Resurrection and eternal life:
a. Cemeteries → “a place of sleep”
i. Not the end, and will awake again through their faith
b. (Luke bible verse)
6. Christianity in Roman Perspective (misunderstandings)
7. Atheism: since christians rejected all the pagan gods
8. Cannibalism: sacrament eating the body and blood of their savior
9. Incest: language of love and brotherhood
10. Christian threat in Roman Empire
11. Abandonment of the old religion
a. Romans were accepting of a variety of faiths, yet total abandonment of old
religion endangers the society, as religion is a binding force of society and the
empire
12. Leading to conspiracies, factions, and political clubs (augustus)
13. “Enemy of mankind” belongs to no people and no ancient tradition
14. Persecution
15. Nero (54-68)
a. The great fire of Rome (64CE) → motivation for persecution
i. Accused christians of burning the city
16. Domitian (81-96 CE) → Cult of the emperor
a. Called himself “lord and god”
17. Trajan (98-117 CE)
a. Approved Pliny’s plan (“those charged should be questioned as to whether they
were indeed christians. If they denied it and cursed christ, they should be
released’)
b. Became harder for christians to keep their faith, with increase of apostates
18. Decius (249-251): Public sacrifice and certificate (libellus). Confiscation of christian
property, persecution of bishops
a. Libellus → some tried to buy this certificate by bribery
19. Diocletian (284-305)
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