Textbook notes for Test 2-Christianity

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5 Aug 2010
World Religion ± Test 2 ± Textbook Study Notes:
Gospels/New Testament
± describes words and life of Jesus
± recorded some years after his death
± by those who believed in him
± difficult to establish the historical accuracy of the New Testament about Jesus (words)
± Gospels are like paintings of Jesus, not photographs
± Jesus believed and trusted in god, just like Jews
± Jesus believe God = created and sustainer of universe
± Jesus thought of God as his father
± -HVXVH[WUHPely special relationship with God = central to Christianity
± Jesus ± raised as a Jew
± Jesus accepted scared authority ± the Law and the Prophets (the Torah and the books of history and prophecy)
± Young Jesus learned the Jewish scriptures in Hebrew
± Young Jesus was a very devout and thoughtful Jew
± Jesus ± independence of thought, own opinions
± Jesus ± LOVE
± Jesus ± appreciation for nature
± Jesus ± celibacy Æ influential to future generations (nuns, monks, priests etc.) ± still exists in several branches of
Christianity today
± Jesus ± not close with family, but after death, disharmony died down
2 Great Commandments: Æ teachings of Jesus (laws of LOVE)
1) a love for God
2) an ethical kindness toward others
- Love god and love your neighbour ± already existed in Hebrew scripture
- Kingdom of God:
o People care about each other
o Poor looked after
o Violence and exploitation abandoned
o Religious rules do not overlook human needs
- Baptizing ± purification ± Jesus carried practice after John the Baptists death
o John the Baptist preached that end of world was near ± Apocalypticism
The book of Acts (Apostles)
knowing what to do next
- Spirit of God ± form of fire, gave them courage to spread their belief in Jesus, the Messiah
- Christian belief that the spread of the Christian message was guided by god
- BIRTHDAY OF THE CHURCH ± first preaching of the Christian message
- APOSTLE (12 disciples of Jesus Christ)±PETER - early Christian message ± God is now working in special
the coming of a new world
- Baptism = sign of rebirth, share possessions, care for widows and orphans
-DPHV-HVXVEURWher) a.k.a. Just ± leader of the early Christian group who remained in Jerusalem ± almost entirely
- great authority
- Jewish-Christian Church = strong influence for the first 40 years
o Weakened by the destruction of the Temple in 70CE
o Disappeared over the next 100 years
o Instead, the non-Jewish, Greek-speaking branch of Christianity, led by Paul (and others) began to spread
throughout the Roman Empire
The New Testament:
4 parts:
1) Gospels
± describe the life and teachings of Jesus; Mark, Matthew, Luke, John = Evangelists
2) Acts of Apostles (book of Acts)
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- Tells the initial spread of Christianity ± historical accuracy cannot be confirmed
3) Epistles
- Letters to early Christians, primarily by Paul
4) Revelation
- Visionary book ± foretells in symbolic language the triumph of Christianity
(27 books in the New Testament)
Gospels Ùnew Torah ± teachings of Moses
Acts of Apostles Ù Former Prophets
Epistles Ù the Writings (wisdom literature)
Revelation Ù Latter Prophets
- all books of the New Testament were written in Greek
- Mark = primary source for the later Gospels of Matthew and Luke
- Matthew ± audience of a Jewish background ± e.g. portrays Jesus as the new Moses
- Quotes of Jesus
- Mark ± shortest of the 4 gospels Æ suggests that it is the oldest
o Begins with the adult public life of Jesus
o Resurrection added later
o Belief that some pages from the end were lost
- Luke ± sense of wonder ± speaks repeatedly of the miraculous action of the Spirit of God at word in the world
o mercy and compassion
o strong focus on underdog
o Good Samaritan story
o Portrays Jesus as moving toward his sacrifice in Jerusalem
**Mark, Matthew, Luke = SYNONPCTIC GOSPELS
- John - Stands by itself
o Time of writing difficult to pinpoint b/c of apparent elaboration of Christian doctrines
o Jesus is the incarnation of God ± the divine made visible in human form
The Acts of Apostles
- the second part of the Gospel of Luke
- portrays Paul in a parallel journey to his final sacrifice in Rome
The Epistles
- some long and formal, some brief and hurried
- some written to individuals, some to individual churches, some in circulation of several churches
- 2 groups: 1) Pauline epistles 2) Universal epistles (others)
- Pauline letters = earliest works in the New Testament
- Themes vary ± mostly focused on proper belief, morality, and church order
- Originally written as a book of encouragement for Christians who were under threat of persecution
- Shows that suffering will be followed by the triumph of goodness over evil
- Language is highly symbolic, uses numbers and images
CHRISTIAN CANON ± list of authoritative books/documents
PAUL (4-64 CE)
- missionary
- cofounder of Christianity
- Originally Saul
- Jewish
- 1st opposed the Jesus Movement ± saw that it could divide Judaism
- life mission: spread belief in Christ around the Mediterranean, particularly ± NON-Jews
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- PAULINE EPISTLES ± letter part of the new testament ± addressed to regions and towns in Asia Minor (now
Turkey) and Greece Æ part of the Roman Empire
- preached in Rome
- tradition says he was executed in Rome
- missionary technique = same in most towns
- visit local synagogues ± use Jewish scriptures (e.g. books of Isaiah) to explain his own belief that Jesus was the
long awaited Messiah
- Paul ± unsuccessful because most Jews believe the Messiah to be of royal background not a poor man called
- 48(67,216&KULVWLDQLW\VUHODWLRQWR-XGDLVP"6KRXOG&KULVWLDQVSUDFWLce the same rituals as the Jews, read the
same scriptures, and follow the same services/diets?
- because many Christians were non-Jews, some of the elements of Judaism were retained and others abandoned
o e.g. baptism Ù circumcision, retained weekly services and Jewish scripture
- his efforts to define what it meant to be a Christian = major turning point in Christianity
- 3DXO¶VFRQFOXVLRQV SURPLQHQWUROHLQVKDSLQJWKHPRYement b/c his extensive missionary activities in
major cities of the Roman Empire Æ left letters stating his beliefs
- His letters were copied repeatedly, circulated and read publicly ± therefore formed the basis for all later
Christian belief
- Human imperfections Æ guilt
- -HVXVVDFULILFH redemption from punishment
- Sin
The Bible:
- 1st 3 quarters is made of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)
- last quarter = New Testament (new contract/covenant with God)
- Christianity = missionary tradition
- Stages of Christianity:
1) Jewish Messianic movement in Israel
2) Spread around the Mediterranean
3) Became official religion of the Roman Empire
4) Spread to the rest of Europe
5) Spread worldwide
- Paul ± Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy
- Peter (one of the original apostles) was at Rome when Paul arrived and they both died under Emperor Nero in 64
- After 64 CE, clear that organization was needed
- Christians developed monarchical model of church organization ± one ruler = Bishop ± in charge of low ranking
- Centralized Christianity = IMPOSSIBLE
o Bishops played a significant role for churches and neighboring regions
- Besides Rome, other cities of the Roman Empire became centers of Christian Belief (e.g. Antioch in Syria and
Alexandria in Egypt)
- Important Bishops = Patriarchs
- 4 important (more power) bishop cities:
o Alexandria
o Rome
o Jerusalem
o Antioch
- to answer questions about doctrine and practice
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