Religion 4 Essay, Research Paper
In order to describe the historical and dogmatical development of Christianity and the Church, and consequently it s deviations, in the period from AD 30 to AD 313, we need to start with the description of the historical, political and social settings of the world that existed during the time of Jesus.
During that time the Roman republic was ruling over almost the whole Mediterranean. As a liberal Empire it was tolerant towards the two great religions it was reigning over-Hellenism and Judaism. It s own state religion was ancient and tribal in origin from city-cults and it was considered a social tool. But people had the freedom of choosing a second religion if they wanted, everybody had his or her own home-gods and goddesses. The influence of the Greeks went further than usage of their language in Rome, The Greek culture as a whole and especially Philosophy had a direct impact on creating the age of personal religion in which people turned to the search of the one-to-one religious experience with one God. This was presumably because of the appearance of Gnostic cults in the Hellenic world that based its beliefs on monotheism. But Rome at the same time accepted under its wings the Jews, which had a God for over two thousand years. Their God was closely connected to the destiny of the nation and Territorially
Identified with the land of the Jews and the temple of Jerusalem. The Jewish people were monotheistic in all aspects: believed in One God, had one Temple and believed in one nation under God. They were excepted as such in the Roman Empire, the Diaspora Jews in the time of Christ were even highly respected amongst the Romans and slowly succeeded in converting them to Judeism.But there were many reasons for which it couldn t succeed, it was a tribal and a nationalistic religion closely tied to the Temple, uncompromisable about circumcision and consisted of not a unity but of many sects who obeyed the law. One of the largest and most influential sects was the Pharisaic whose teaching is considered to be the basis out of which Jesus constructed his. For them it was quite clear that there was life after death, the righteous would rise again and the wicked punished. There was also the Essenes sect, second by number, conceived the concept that the Temple was no longer physically significant for Gods presence, but God was where his community is. This is shown in Paul: For we are the Temple of the living God (2 Cor 6:16. Essenese also developed the regular practice of sacral meal of bread and wine, later adopted by Christians. Jon the Baptist, an Essenese, introduced the bathing-rites as a one time ritual later also used by the Christians. This process consequently created a universalistic atmosphere, which allowed for Christians to detach themselves form Judaism and be able to create a separate religion. But Christianity couldn t be created without Jesus, and Paul his fist eyewitness is our direct link to the knowing of the historical Jesus. For him of highest theological importance was only the proof of Jesus manhood and his resurrection. But Mark created the first form of literary gospel and was called a book of secret epiphanies and mysterious glimpses into Jesus preaching. Mathew and Luke,from Pauls gentile mission and from the Jewish Jerusalem churh respectively, unsatisfied with Marks narratives created their own by using Marks work and the oracles -individual sayings of Christ gathered into groups.