November 30 - November 30, 2007 The Christianization of the...

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November 30, 2007 The Christianization of the Roman Empire Rise and diffusion of Christianity: Paul o Paul of Tarsus (10-65 CE): opening up Christianity to non-Jews “Synod of Jerusalem” (48 CE; Acts 15.1-35) Question of circumcision o Mission to “gentiles” = Greeks, Hellenized peoples Universalizes the new faith o Athens (Acts 17.16ff): debates philosophers (Epicureans, Stoics) Establishes intellectual credentials “unknown god”: Christianity fulfills pagan tradition o Rome (Acts 28, 11-31) Prosecuted by Jerusalem authorities as political agitator Right of appeal to emperor (Roman citizenship) Extended ministry in Rome prior to death Diffusion of Christianity: 1 st and 2 nd centuries o Private and public power within the early church Cult of saints: move toward centralized authority Rome emerges gradually as dominant church (Peter) Churches provide social support system o Persecutions: more Roman xenophobia, scapegoating Nero, Decius, Diocletian etc. Completely ineffective (opposite effect) o Rendering unto Caesar: the problem of sacrifice Christians unable to come to terms (cp. Jews) Ex: Trajan and Pliny (don’t ask don’t tell)
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November 30 - November 30, 2007 The Christianization of the...

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