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Week 3 - Matthew, 1 Corinthians, Acts

Week 3 - Matthew, 1 Corinthians, Acts - Week 3 Matthew Acts...

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Week 3: Matthew, Acts, and I Corinthians Here's some background material for this week's assignment. We're reading portions of the Bible to gain a clear picture of Christian values and beliefs and to see why some Romans were attracted to this religion. Perhaps Christianity offered them things that were missing or inadequate in Roman culture, or perhaps Christianity offered remedies for aspects of Roman culture that dissatisfied them. We are also looking for reasons why some Romans rejected Christianity and even tried to suppress it or combat its spread. ( See pages 5a-5c of our XP for conflicting values .) Remember that our main historical problem here is to explain why and how Rome became Christian. We are also concerned with how Christianity became Romanized—how it adapted to Roman culture and to the concerns of Romans. (This is the main problem on our midterm exam) Why are we reading Matthew , of all 4 Gospels? (Gospel means “good news” and comes from the Greek word “evangelion.”) What about Acts and 1 Corinthians ? We're reading Matthew because it has more emphasis on the social radicalism of Christianity than the other Gospels. It also has more emphasis on the idea that Jesus Christ and his movement were the fulfillment of specific Old Testament prophecies of salvation and savior. This fulfilling of prophecies was considered by many as proof that Jesus really was the promised messiah (savior). Look for the places in Matthew where it says that certain things happened to Jesus just as had been predicted in much earlier prophecies of Old Testament prophets. For some Jews, this was historical proof that the prophesies were now fulfilled and that the messiah & salvation had come. Remember that the first followers of Jesus, including the apostles and the gospel writers, were Jews. How do you tell the difference between a true Messiah and a false messiah who only claims to be a savior? Fulfilling biblical prophesies was one kind of proof that convinced many. The earliest of the Gospels was Mark; written in ~60-66 AD After that came Matthew ; written in ~80-85 AD Then came Luke ; written in ~85 AD John was the latest one; written in ~100 AD Mark , Matthew and Luke are called the synoptic Gospels because they were all based on the same foundation story or synopsis. Matthew was based on information from Mark and from a source called the “Q Source,” which is extinct. Luke used the “Q Source” as well, so scholars have reconstructed some of the content of the “Q Source” by comparing the 3 synoptic Gospels. Material that appears in both Matthew and Luke , but not in Mark , who didn't have the “Q Source” when he wrote his book, is thought to come from the “Q Source.” Matthew displays the revolutionary qualities of Jesus' teaching and his movement. It shows radical rejection of Roman materialism, political & social hierarchy, military & political domination, etc. It also shows radical differences from some Jewish values, such as legalism and the rigidity of temple priests and the Pharisees. Pharisees were the group of Jews to which St. Paul belonged before his conversion.
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