Monday, April 25, 2016

Christianity in the Pax Romona

- backstory leading into the Middle Ages
- a new religion in the empire

- begin with Jesus
- comes from Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
- Gospel: good news
- no way Jesus looked like this

- Jewish itinerant preacher in Judea
- set himself apart from other "Messiahs" (the only one)
- did not set new religion
- did not revolt the government
- taught God's personal relationship to each human being
- message of love
- did not go far
- be famous after death when Paul walked around
- come to the end of world and bring faithful into the kingdom of God
- both human and divine
- crucified because threat to Rome
- Apostles spread his teaching around world

Start Spreading the News
- Paul of Tarsus became the follower of Jesus after a miraculous vision
- predestination: God chose who was to be saved and who was to be damned
- well-traveled, helped found churches, keep in touch with new Christians by letters
- outlaw cult → actual religion

- both Jew and Christians were monotheistic
- refused to worship Roman gods
- easy to travel and spread idea (not only Paul)
- poor Romans were a receptive audience

Problem with Monotheistic
- sometimes persecuted by Roman authorities (contradicted law)
- could be exiled, imprisoned, executed, crucified, burned or killed by wild animal
- the things goes wrong for Roman Empire
- scapegoats were needed

- embraced all people (men and women, enslaved, poor)
- gave hope to powerless
- appeal who was disgusted by imperial Rome's decadence
- offer personal relationship with God
- promise eternal life after death

Conversion of Constantine (AD 312)
- turning point
- Roman emperor Constantine has a vision before a key battle
- image is a cross and some words in the sky (in this sign conquer)
- order troop to put cross on shields
Then they win!

Edict of Milan (AD 313)
- approved by emperor
- continues to gain strength
- by 380 became official religion
- Chi-Rho

Decline of Roman Empire
- last emperor in 476 (14-year-old boy: Romulus Augustulus)
- military: weak to defend
- economy: tax too high, gap, trade, rich and poor
- social: population decrease, disloyalty, no one cares public affairs
- political: division

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