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RS110 Study Guide - The Interior Castle, Catholic Theology, Unmoved Mover

Religious Studies
Course Code
Peter Frick

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RS 110 Module 06
Early Christianity: Introduction
End of 1st Century - Christians believe that Torah has nothing to do with Salvation
Observing Torah and the commandments of Torah could not guarantee salvation
Keeping Torah happens on an Ethical level, but solving salvation is an
Ontological issue
Split between Judaism and Messianic Jews
Gnostic Heresy
Beginning in the second half of 1st Century
Believed in a cosmic dualism between Good and Evil
Physical world and human body is under power of Evil
Creator made evil matter
Human beings have spiritual dimension that is trapped in body
This 'divine spark' can transcend the evil body that traps the human
Similar to Plato: The mind is trapped in the body
The way to salvation is through "Gnosis" (knowledge) that ignites the 'divine spark'
Rejected by early Christians for a few key reasons:
God is the creator of all
God is absolutely good
God sent Jesus to allow for salvation
From the very beginning Heresy and misunderstanding of the Gospel was present
Lived early 100s to mid 100s
Excommunicated from Church in 144
Approached Christianity from Anti-Judaic stance
Rejected Hebrew Bible and only accepted non-Jewish aspects of New Testament
His understanding of scripture was rather limited
Initiated process of canonization
Finalizing of what books are included in Holy scripture
Old and new Testaments underwent canonization
Other early Christian books were not canonized
These are the Apocrypha
The are not believed to have the same value as those that are canonized
Justin Martyr
Early 100's to mid 100's
Christian faith is an authentic and complementary expression of Greek philosophy
Truth comes from the eternal logos (eternal rationality; gives the cosmos its
This truth was incarnated in Christ
The Apostle's Creed - Trinitarian
Attempt by early Christians to clearly and accurately explain beliefs
Earliest Creed bringing together historical aspects and matters of faith
Creed comes from latin for I believe
God as the Creator
Outline of life of Jesus and theological significance

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Holy Spirit
Notion of the Church was understood as one body
Organism within which every member was equally important
Oneness is important, not individual members
Church points out the reality of the coming of the kingdom of God
The Missionary aspect has been very important, more so in some denominations than
Goes back to the Great Commission (End of Gospel of Matthew)
Go and make disciples (students) of all nations
Love commandment and seeking of God's kingdom must also be remembered
Mid 100's to Early-Mid 200's
Attempted to give his faith a coherent intellectual framework
Sceptical about Greek Thought
Introduced a lot of theological terminology
Including Trinitas, or the trinitarian understanding of God (not tritheistic)
Arius and Athanasius
Arius; mid 200s to mid 300s
Denounced as a heretic for teaching false doctrines
Jesus was created in time/space and was therefore not eternal
Anything that is created cannot be eternal
If this is so, he was able to commit sins
Jesus could therefore not be of the same essence as the Father
Issue of consubstantiality (whether or not Jesus was as the same nature as God)
Athanasius; Late 200s to Mid-late 300s
Convened Council of Nicea in 325 to discuss consubstantiality
Council affirmed consubstantiality between Father and Son
Nicene Creed was written based on the council's decisions
Arius was declared officially as a heretic
The Emperor Constantine
Ruled from early 300s to mid 300s
Located in modern-day Istanbul; was also known as Constantinople
Saw a vision of the cross in clouds in the sky as well as a voice telling him to conquer
Led a military victory in 312 over the Roman Empire
He has just converted to Christianity
Moved the head of the Roman empire from Rome to Constantinople
Edict of Milan in 313 (public proclamation of Victory)
Christianity was from then on a tolerated religion politically
Very significant historically
If Constantine as the Roman Emperor had not given his support, Christianity may
have not spread the way it did
In 380 Emperor Theodotian I pronounced Christianity as the only official religion
In 420 Emperor Theodotian II expelled the Jews from Jerusalem
Schools of Judaism in Yavneh were closed
Jewish people migrated to Babylon

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Augustine of Hippo
Youthful, extravagant life of pleasure
Wrote an Autobiography called Confessions
True introspective search for the meaning of life
Belonged to a Gnostic group called Manicheans
Believed in dualism between Good and Evil
Believed soul is restless until it finds rest in God
Person must relate to God in a certain way to find true peace
Major work was City of God
Argued that the fall of Rome was no the fall of the Christians
Known in part for Pelagian Controversy
Pelagius (360 - 418) believed every person sins for him or herself
Did not believe Sin is an ontological power or separation
Each person is born 'perfect' and then only as they commit acts of sins
become sinners
Jesus was able to commit sins
It is possible not to sin (posse non peccare)
Jesus was one of the rare individuals who did not sin
Sin is an ontological separation
Every person is born sinful; notion of original sin
It is not possible not to sin (non posse non peccare)
Even if a person could avoid committing an act of sin, they are still
ontologically separated from God (still a sinner)
Modern theologians reject the Augustine idea of an actual genetic basis for inheriting 'sin'
(no 'sin gene')
Reality of every person is that of a disrupted life; in that sense we all are under the power
of Sin
Councils of Nicea (Trinitarian) and Chalcedon (Christological)
Year 451, these early theological debates continued in the Council of Chalcedon
Chalcedon, second council - The question was Christological rather than trinitarian
Who is Jesus? Was he God or Human? Divine?
How can we make sense of Jesus being human and Divine?
Jesus was of two natures, complete and unmixed without confusion
Nicea - Is Jesus the same substance as the father?
Jesus is divine
Question of the role of the Holy Spirit had not yet been debated
The tension of that which we cannot explain but desire to due to the ontological
difference between humans and a Monotheistic God will always exist
Medieval Christianity
500 - 1000 CE: Missionizing of Europe - Political solidification
496 - Clovis, King of Franks, becomes Christian
On a political level there was a consolidation of emerging Feudal System
Religion and Government were intertwined
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