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Lecture 5

REL 150 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Luke Timothy Johnson, Ancient Greek Temple, Proselyte

Course Code
REL 150
San Chirico

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Facts and Figures
· 2 billion Christians in the world today
· Three Major Forms of Christianity
o Roman Catholicism (Catholicism)
o Eastern Orthodoxy (Orthodoxy)
o Protestantism
Regional Distribution of Christianity
· 1910
o Americans- 27/1%
o Europe- 66.3%
o Middle East- 0.7%
o Asia- 4.5%
o Africa/ Sub-Saharan- 1.4%
· 2010
o Americans- 36.8%
o Europe- 25.9%
o Middle East- 13.1%
o Africa/Sub-Saharan- 23.6%
Xpiotós à Christos à Christ
· Greek for “anointed one”
o Hebrew translation of masheach, messiah
· “Christianity” is English; Christianisme in French
· Tremendous diversity under that category
o Christianities
A Hawaiian Example-- Queen St., Honolulu- 2013
· Russian Orthodox Church
· Liturgical service; taking communion
· Samoan Assembly of God Church (Pentecostal)
o Speaking in tongues
· Thrasher Christian Metal church
Whence Comes the Unity?
· All these churches, despite the differences, are some in relation to Jesus of Nazareth or
Yeshua ben Youssef
· At its center, this tradition bears two central questions:
o Who do you say that I am?- Jesus (Matt 16:16)
§ Christology- the nature of Jesus
o What must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30)
§ Imbedded: something must be done and there is a thing called salvation
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Bold Claim
· Before it is anything else:
o Before it is path or a way…
o Before it is a system…
o Before it is symbols and rituals…
o Before it is religion…
o Christianity is a vast personality cult
§ An ongoing obsession with the man from Galilee
§ A fascination with claims made either by him or about him
§ And a fascination to answer the two questions
ú Who do you say I am
ú What must I do to be saved?
§ In the Book of Acts, Christianity is called “The Way
§ Jesus is both the path and the destination
High Stakes Game
· In different time and in difference places, the answer to these questions could get you killed
· Why the high stakes?
o Central claim: Jesus is both God and man
o This deity, associated with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, wants all of you
o “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it”
(Matthew 16:25)
· Sadly, Christians also have a long history of killing each other
o Here, William Tyndale (c. 1494- 1536) is strangled to death then burned at the stake for
translating the Bible into English
How was Christianity Born?
· What was the soil out of which Christianity developed?
o Judaism and Hellenism
The Conditions for Possibility*
Hellenism (Do not need to know the subtleties of Hellenism for Final)
· Alexander’s Empire
· A term used to signify the religio-cultural complex that spread with Alexander of Macedonia,
from the 4th C BCE to the 1st century
· Language: Greek- which became “lingua franca” of the Mediterranean world
o Language used by the masses
· Polis: The Greek city- state whence (use word on quiz/ test = extra point) we get the term
· Each Polis is focused around a temple
· The Polis existed on a grid: around the temple
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o Cluster of homes, public bathes, paves streets, water aqueducts, the Odeon, and perhaps the
· Citizen: male, over 30, born in the Polis
· Slaves in abundance
· Democracy
o Noun- a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible member of a state,
typically through elected representatives
· “High Culture:” literature, the fine arts, the ethos of a people, its values, its symbols and the
meaning attached to those symbols
· Constituted what it meant to be “civilized”
Pax Romana “Roman Peace”
· From Greek to Roman Empire to Pax Romana
· Iudaea, Roman Province in 1st C
What is a Gospel?
· From evangelion, “good news”
· A message offered by followers of Jesus reflecting their belief that Jesus is the Messiah, the
· That Jesus is risen from the dead
· A chronology of events
· But not a simple chronology
Matthew Literary Devices
· Sayings are placed together topically
o The Torah
o Piety
o Demands of Discipleship
o Parables of the Kingdom
o Relations in the Church
o Polemic Against Opponents
o Eschatology
· Five Discourses: Signaled by the Phrase- “From that time…”
o There are not straight un-interpreted facts that you can get at in order to piece together if
Jesus was the Son of God
o No, that is the very thesis of the Gospel
o It is a witness of a worshipping community, reflecting the time and place of its provenance
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