Introduction to Humanities
Lecture 9
The Rise of Christianity
By David Kelsey
Judaism
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Judaism:
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1900 BC: Abraham leads Israelites from the Sumerian city of Ur northwest of the
Euphrates river valley. Later they moved into the Land of Canaan…
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1600 BC: Israelites follow Joseph into Egypt…slavery…
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1300 BC: Moses leads them out of Egypt and into Sinai.
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Page 166…
Moses gives them the concept of a single tribal god (called Yahweh) and a covenant…
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1230 BC: Jericho falls to Joshua and the Israelites
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1020 BC: 12 tribes are unified and a monarchy forged with Saul as the first king.
The History of Judaism
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The History of Judaism continued:
– 1000 BC: the height of Israelite political power reached under King David
(1000-960 BC) and his son King Solomon (960-933 BC). After Solomon’s
death: the kingdom’s of Israel and Judah…
• 722 BC: Israel falls to the Assyrians…
• Judah survived until 586 BC when it was conquered by Babylon king
Nebuchadnezzar II.
– 63 BC: Rome conquers Palestine. Gives Palestine the status of
Protectorate…
– 66 AD: Jews launch rebellion against Rome with much of their population
destroyed…
4 aspects of Judaism
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4 aspects of Judaism that helped it survive:
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1-Monotheism: the concept evolved from one Israelite God to a universal God.
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2-Covenant: a bond with Yahweh that the Jews made of their own free will.
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Moses is said to have returned with knowledge of God’s will-commandments inscribed on
tablets of stone. Later these become the Torah.
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3-Graven images: images of God were prohibited. A defense against idolatry.
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4-The name of God cannot be taken in vain.
Prophets
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Prophets:
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Many Jewish prophets between the 8th and 5th centuries BC.
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Preached that Yahweh was the only God and he demanded the highest ethical standards.
2nd Isaiah: the climax of the prophetic movement. Saw the Jews as a people chosen
to exemplify in their characters and lives the spiritual presence of the lord.
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The insights of 2nd Isaiah strongly influenced Christianity
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Later generations came to believe that he was speaking of a particular person, a Messiah who
would redeem the world through his suffering. In Jesus of Nazareth the early Christians found
that Messiah.
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“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, and as
one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he
has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God,
and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we
like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid
on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:3-6)
The History of Christianity
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The History of Christianity:
– Based on the life, death and coming to life again of Jesus Christ
– A modification of Jewish heritage
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The old testament establishes that there is one true God
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Predicts the coming to be of a Jewish messiah
39 books written almost entirely in Hebrew between the 11th and 2nd centuries BC
Note that the New Testament was written in Greek from about AD 40 to AD 150
No written record from Jesus:
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He left no written record, only a collection of sayings…
Written accounts in Greek appear decades after Christ’s death including St. Paul’s Epistles to
the Corinthians (AD 55), The Acts of the Apostles (AD 60), and the 4 gospels telling the story of
Jesus, Mark (AD 70), Matthew and Luke (AD 80-85) and John (AD 100-120)
By about AD 200: a Canonical Christian text
The History of Christianity
continued
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The History of Christianity continued:
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The rise of Christianity was in almost direct proportion to the decline of the Roman
empire…
• See page 171
– Jesus:
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4 B.C. - 30 A.D.
Said to be the son of God and Messiah
Believed to be anointed by God as savior of humanity
Convicted for blasphemy and is subsequently crucified.
…
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Shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus, the Jerusalem church is founded as first
Christian church
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In 380 A.D., Theodosius I made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.
Christianity
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Christianity:
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What Christianity isn’t:
• Not philosophy but prophecy
• Not discussion, but proclamation
• Not let us examine, but “Thus says the lord”
• Not questioning but accepting
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Christian Beliefs:
• There is one God who is not made by men
• God is the father of all humankind and so all people are the children of God
• So all men and women are brothers and sisters
• As children of God, people are capable of better lives than they lead but can be
forgiven for their sins if they repent
– So love thy God and thy neighbor as thyself
Christian beliefs continued
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Christian beliefs continued:
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God is immaterial, not restricted to any one place & is eternal
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He is omni-benevolent and omnipotent so when you cry to him he does help
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God alone is worthy of worship and reverence
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God is the creator of the entire visible universe, which is not eternal and is wholly
dependent on God’s power
Christ as redeemer
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Christ as redeemer:
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God is good and made the visible world good, but sin is persistent in man as is shown
by the story of Adam and Eve
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God will save us from our sinfulness through his son Jesus who took our sin upon
himself in his death
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Because of the sin of Adam, humankind carries with it the taint of original sin…
But God seeks to redeem and does so through Incarnation in which God becomes man taking
to himself man’s inherent guilt. In Christ’s death as a mortal, the guilt is atoned and human
beings are set free.
Through faith and belief in Jesus Christ, man will be raised from death, as Jesus
was, to a blessed and eternal life with him.
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Introduction to Humanities Lecture 9 The Rise of Christianity