Christianity Exam Notes.docx

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Published on 16 Apr 2013
School
Queen's University
Department
Religious Studies
Course
RELS 131
Professor
Christianity Review
Jesus’ Life
Jesus: born as a Jew in Bethlehem by the Virgin Mary (who conceived him by the Holy Spirit) and
fathered by her husband Joseph, he grew up in Nazareth, (part of the Greek-speaking region of Galilee
within Isreal), and learned his father’s trade of carpentry. His public years began with his baptism
where he has a mystical vision, and then withdraws to the desert where he refuses several temptations
of Satan. When he returns he attends a synagogue in Nazareth where he reads a passage from the
Torah and proclaims that this ‘prophecy’ is fulfilled. He recruits twelve disciples (mostly fishermen)
along with a few female followers (including Mary Magdalene), and for the next year travels around the
Capernaum region working miracles, teaching how to apply Jewish law to everyday life, and telling
parables, many of which point to an impending apocalypse that will lead to a new era of peace and
righteousness he calls the kingdom of God. He mainly preached in synagogues or private houses, but
performed some miraculous cures in front of large crowds. Growth of opposition from Pharisees and
Sadducees. Around Passover he and his disciples travel to Jerusalem, where he accuses the
moneychangers of cheating, and objected the Temple’s failure to keep the sacred area open to “all
nation” for prayer (Court of Gentiles); this leads to his arrest a few days later for challenging the
temple’s priests’ authority. He predicts this at the Last Supper where he says one of his disciples will
betray him Judas sells information leading to his arrest. Taken before the Sanhedrin and then the
Roman governor Pontius Pilate, he is accused of perverting the people and claiming to be the king of
the Jews. Along with a few others, he is crucified and paraded through the streets. Two days later, on
the morning following the Sabbath, some women (including Mary Magdalene) attend his tomb to find
it empty. Either an angel tells them he has risen, or he appears to his disciples and tells them himself.
He had been resurrected and had gone to sit at the right hand of God in heaven, from where he would
soon return to judge all persons and usher in the kingdom of God.
Jews: Jesus was not a reformer in their tradition but a political rebel executed by the Romans
Christians: Pilate found no fault in Jesus, real reason for crucifixion was jealousy of elder Jewish
religious leaders
TEACHINGS: Kingdom of God is near, morality above legal and ceremonial practice, inner integrity, love
Zealots: a Zealot Rebellion assisted by a Pharisee (66-60AD) Simon the Zealot (an apostle) results in the
Roman destruction of the Temple
Pharisees: led by scribes and rabbis, legalistic in daily living disliked the radical tone of Jesus and the
freedom Jesus feels when he interprets the law (formed from the middle classes, they sometimes held
power in the Temple but had more connection with the synagogues. They interpreted the scriptural text
more broadly, but paid detailed attention to matters of purity and tithing)
Sadducees: more conservative (caretaker of Jerusalem, Roman collaboration) (formed from aristocracy
that embraced Hellenization, they were the party of the priestly establishment and the custodians of the
Temple, in charge of its operations. They insisted on a narrow, literal interpretation of the law.)
Essenes: oppose violence (even animal sacrifice), waiting for the Messiah (an ascetic sect credited with
the writing of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the group consisted of rigorously observant priests. When a
candidate they disapproved of was appointed High Priest in Jerusalem, they left and retired to the
desert, where they prepared for a supposed apocalypse.)
Four Gospels:
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Mathew: (Apostle Mathew) begins with the genealogy of Jesus and a story of his birth indicating
a visit from magi and a flight into Egypt, and ending with the commissioning of the disciples by
the resurrected Jesus
Mark: (Mark the Evangelist) begins with preaching of John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus
Luke: (Luke the Evangelist, companion of Apostle Paul) begins with parallel stories of the birth
and childhood of John the Baptist and Jesus, and ends with ascension of Jesus to heaven
John: (John the Apostle) begins with philosophical prologue and ends with appearances of the
resurrected Jesus
Synoptic: the first three gospels (Mathew, Mark and Luke) offer similar accounts of Jesus’ career, but
John is structured differently and includes unique stories of several miracles and sayings of Jesus
John (Gospel): sees Jesus as the eternal Son of God and the word of God made flesh, an incarnation and
manifestation of the divine Word (logos) God can create the world through his word and can
command the world through his word. God manifests himself in human form for the purpose of
salvation only God can save us from sin and death. Uses the title ‘Christ’
John the Baptist: the elder cousin of Jesus who performed his baptism, where he is sometimes said to
have announced publicly that Jesus was the Messiah. Considered a prophet in several religions,
anticipated a messianic figure who would be greater than himself. Adopted baptism as the central
sacrament in his messianic movement, seen as a forerunner of Christianity
New Testament:
The Gospels
Gospel of Mathew, Gospel of Mark, Gospel of Luke, Gospel of John
Acts of the Apostles
Narrative of the apostles’ ministry after Christ’s death and resurrection, from which point it
resumes and functions as a sequel to the Gospel of Luke (probably same author)
Epistles
Divinely inspired holy letters, written by the apostles and disciples of Christ, to either local
congregations with specific needs, or to New Covenant Christians in general
The Letters of Paul (Romans, Corinthians (2), Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians,
Thessalonians (2), Timothy (2), Titus, and Philemon)
General Epistles (Hebrews, James, Peter (2), John (3), Jude)
Book of Revelation (Apocalypse of John)
Prophetical or apocalyptic literature opening with letters to seven churches and then taking the
form of an apocalypse (disclosure of knowledge, hidden from humanity in an era dominated by
falsehood and misconception)
Court of Gentiles: bazaar outside Harod’s temple where Jesus condemned the moneychangers for
turning his ‘father’s house’ into a ‘den of thieves’ through their commercial activity
Parables: stories about everyday life told to illustrate a point (how Jesus often taught/preached)
Mary Magdalene: a close friend of Jesus, there for his crucifixion and resurrection, cleansed by Jesus of
“seven demons”, became a saint
Resurrection: turned defeat into victory, resuscitating the movement and introducing the belief that
Jesus had been God in human form. It became the basis for the Christian idea of salvation through
belief in Jesus alone.
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Apolistic Age & Early Church
Pentecost Event: at a meeting of the disciples, all disciples filled with the spirit of God and spoke in
different languages fires up early Christian into action. The fiftieth day after Easter, commemorated as
the dramatic occasion when Jesus’ followers experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Paul: a Pharisee and persecutor of Christians, he was on the way to Damascus in search of heretics when
he experienced a vision of the post-resurrection Jesus. He was baptized and began promoting the
Christian message, trying to convince Jews that everything about Jesus’ life was predicted by the Old
Testament prophets. Developed the claim that Jesus was the Messiah, and was the principal influence
on the direction of the early Church. Paul and followers began to move away from Israel, circumcision
was not required (salvation came by repentant faith rather than observing traditional law, also appeased
Greco-Roman idealization of nude male body) important beginning of Christianity to differentiate itself
from Judaism. Goes on missionary journeys through Mediterranean and Christianity spreads rapidly
from Middle East to Rome to Spain.
Values agape (unconditional self-giving love) above all
The cross becomes a symbol of suffering
By 100, New Testament is compiled reasons for recording:
There had been an early expectation of the return of Jesus so scripture not necessary before
But now, eyewitnesses of Jesus’ ministry and apostles were rapidly dying
2nd generation Christians far from Jerusalem wanted a record of their masters life and teachings
Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 increased the urgency
Agape: Christian love, especially as distinct from erotic love or emotional affection; a communal meal in
token of Christian fellowship, as held by early Christians in commemoration of the Last Supper.
Marcion: lived a century after Paul, taking his ideas to new lengths: Paul’s contrast between law and
gospel becomes for Marcion a contrast between the Old Testament and New as being different Gods a
fearsome Hebrew God and a loving Christian God. Therefore he rejects the Hebrew canon and
Matthew, which says, “Jesus comes not to destroy the law and the prophets but to fulfill them”.
Through his push to ratify the Hebrew Scriptures as part of the Christian message, he contributed to the
Church’s eventual definition of its scriptural canon.
As a heretic movement: first to edit and publish a new scripture if there is no consensus on a canon,
all local teachers can edit manuscripts to suit their own views
Gnostics/Gnosticism: believed the material world to be the evil result to a fall from pure spiritual
existence; viewed Jesus as an emissary from the realm of the spirit who took on the appearance of
human form but not material existence, and was the bearer of a secret, saving knowledge on how to rise
above this life to the realm of spirit. Gospel of Thomas is a Gnostic text.
As a heretic movement: only spiritually mature persons could understand Jesus’ real teaching (elitist
perspective); Gnostic gospels not included in New Testament canon
Judaizers: (James, brother of Jesus) Christians must not only follow Christ, but please God by also
obeying the Law of Moses. Openly denounced Paul’s activities
Hellenists: (Peter and later Paul) more liberal on issues such as circumcision and dietary laws
Doctrine of Trinity: three equal entities within one divine being
Father: the one who sends the Son to become incarnate in Jesus
Son (or Word, logos): the one who manifests God in the world
Holy Spirit: sent after Jesus’ death, the power and presence of God actively guiding believers
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Document Summary

His public years began with his baptism where he has a mystical vision, and then withdraws to the desert where he refuses several temptations of satan. When he returns he attends a synagogue in nazareth where he reads a passage from the. Torah and proclaims that this prophecy" is fulfilled. He recruits twelve disciples (mostly fishermen) along with a few female followers (including mary magdalene), and for the next year travels around the. He mainly preached in synagogues or private houses, but performed some miraculous cures in front of large crowds. He predicts this at the last supper where he says one of his disciples will betray him judas sells information leading to his arrest. Roman governor pontius pilate, he is accused of perverting the people and claiming to be the king of the jews. Along with a few others, he is crucified and paraded through the streets.

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