Text And Traditions Work Requirement One Historical

Text And Traditions: Work Requirement One Historical Reconstruction Essay, Research Paper

Text and Traditions: Work Requirement One Historical Reconstruction

Major events in Jewish history to the first century AD

1250 BC Fall of Jerusalem to the Romans.

931 BC Divided Kingdoms.

721 BC Fall of Samaria.

587 BC Fall of Jerusalem, Babylonian captivity.

333 BC Jews under Hellenistic rule.

63 BC Jews under Roman rule.

70 AD Fall of Jerusalem to the Romans.

Major events between 50 BC – 100 AD

63 BC – 40 BC Hyrcanus2 rules, but is subject to Rome.

41 BC – 30 BC Antony Caesar Roman Emperor.

40 BC – 37 BC Parathions conquer Jerusalem.

38 BC – 4 BC Herod rules as king. Subject to Rome.

37 BC Jerusalem besieged for 6 months.

32 BC Herod Defeated.

31 BC – 14 AD Caesar Augustus Roman Emperor.

19 BC Herod’s Temple begun.

16 BC Herod visits Agrppa.

4 BC Herod dies; Archelaus succeeds.

37 AD – 41 AD Caliguta Roman Emperor.

41 AD – 54 AD Claudius Roman Emperor.

54 AD – 68 AD Nero Roman Emperor. The first persecutor of Christians.

66 AD Jews in Palestine tried to revolt. Were crushed by


69 AD – 79 AD Vespasia Roman Emperor. He continued the persecution.

70 AD Jewish temple destroyed. Small part of the wall left


79 AD Titus Roman Emperor.

Detailed analysis of major Jewish groups of the time

Pharisees The Pharisees were a group of Jews, that believed strongly against the

adoption of Greek ways. They wanted to uphold and protect their fragile Jewish

culture, from the Greek influence that was flooding into Israel at the time.

They developed as haters of the tradition Greek ways, because of their customs

were related to idolatry and immorality. They joined up with a group know as the

Hasmoneans and proceeded to conduct a rebellion against the Greek. After gaining

religious freedom, they then separated from their new partners, and formed the

breakaway party, known today as the Pharisees (meaning ?the separated’). They

had extreme power in the synagogue, and eventually turned it into the center of

the Jewish faith. This didn’t last forever, as it was finally replaced by the

temple, erected by David.

Saducees The Sadducees (Sons of Zadok) seemed to be a group of aristocratic

priestly families, that were powerful within the High Priesthood. They held a

monopoly over all the High Priesthood positions and were also powerful in the

Sanhedrin. They came across as being a very selfish group that retained their

rights and traditions, and also trying to stay on the good side of the Roman

Empire. Unlike the Pharisees, they were rigid and closed in sect, and not open

to change. When the Romans destroyed the temple, they disappeared and were never

heard from again.

Zealots The Zealots were a group of radical extremists, that were the cause of

many uprisings throughout their history, and eventually they lead a revolt

against the Romans in 66-73 AD. To stop this, the Roman Emperor destroyed the

third temple, which lead to the end of the uprising. This not only lead to their

downfall, but that of the Jews when they were crushed by Emperor Titus in 73 AD.

Qumrans/Essenes They were an important Jewish group in the community around the

time of Jesus. Although it wasn’t until 150 BC until they emerged, they lived

their lives according to a strict set of beliefs and rules. To join the group a

three year probationary period was imposed to new comers. Members were bound to

keep secret the doctrines and practices. Its is believed that John the Baptist

was and Essene, and had high connections to their community. The discovery of

the Dead Sea Scrolls has shed a lot more light on the practices of the Essenes.

These discoveries have proved that some Christian qualities and beliefs are an

exact copy of that of the Qumrans/Essenes.

Samaritans Samaritans originated from the area located between Judea and Galilee,

when the Assyrian settlers intermarried with the Jews that lived there. The

population created followed all the laws of Torah in their own special way, and

considered themselves to be Jewish. The normal Jews did not accept this, as

intermarriage between Jews and Gentiles was forbidden. Throughout the bible, it

has been documented that the Samaritans and the Jews were at each other throats,


Analysis of major philosophical ideas of the time

Platonism Plato was an ancient Greek philosopher who taught in the period

between 427 and 347 BC. He reasoned that the senses can’t be trusted, and that

one must use reason and maths, to solve problems and to guide oneself throughout

life. Plato was a student of Socrates and throughout his works, he drew from

other Greek philosophies, although as time progressed, he developed an entirely

different philosophical form of thinking that became his own.

Aristotelianism Aristotle was a Greek philosopher that was born nearly 400 year

BC. During his well documented life, he served as the tutor to Alexander the

Great and also wrote many papers on various topics such as Ethics, Physics and

Metaphysics. Aristotle also developed theories on the human soul in relation to

god. He represented it as a trinity of matter, being vegetable, animal and human

in nature, and proposed a ?non-abstract theory of form, where the initiator of

all existence is acknowledged as God.

Epicureanism Epicurus set up a school in Athens that taught ethics, based on his

writings and opinions, in the Hellenistic world. He proposed that the pursuit of

happiness should be mans greatest concern, rather than modeling his life on the

pleasing of gods and of the deeds needed to be completed for one to have a

pleasurable afterlife. His philosophy was that the pleasure seeking of mankind,

would not only provide fulfilment for one’s own self, but also lead to the

advancement and development of society in general.

Stoicism Stoicism was a famous school of Hellenistic thought. Its teachings were

not just philosophical, but could be used by everyday people, in everyday life.

The main goal for the tradition was to attain happiness and liberation from

emotion, through the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. We can draw many

comparisons between the Christian faith and that of Stoicism. We can also see

the influence that the tradition had on many of the late Christian theologians.

Mystery Cults/Religions The mystery cults originated from many places in the

first century AD. They developed to replace the Olympic pantheons that were

becoming implausible and unsatisfying. The followers of these cults worshiped a

variety of gods or philosophies, each with their own set of obscure rules and

rituals. Secrecy played a great part in these cults (hence the name ?mystery

religions’) as one could incur the death sentence by revealing the mysteries

through speech, dance, pantomime, or any other form of communication. Although

one can debate the point of having these religions, it does prove that the human

soul requires some form of religious worship, mainstream or otherwise.

Gnosticism The Gnostics were a group/sect that existed in the first half of the

20th century, and were thought to lead Christians astray by teaching

manipulations of the Gospel. The mixed the ideas of the Christians with that of

the Greeks, producing a religion that wanted release from the prison of this

world. It draws on the Jewish monldthum, Babylonian anthology and Iranian Deulum,

and believes that light and darkness are entwined in a constant battle of cosmic


First Century Roman Judea

Summary of major New Testament Christian Leaders

Peter Peter was one of the first, and major disciples. Peter’s original name was

the Heb. Simon. His fathers name was Jonah. He worked as a fisherman at the two

places of which he took residence: Beth-saida and Capernaum in Galilee. At these

places he was in contact with the gentiles. He was probably effected by John the

Baptist’s movement. He was often the spokesperson for all the of the followers

and friends. Before Pentecost it was Peter who took the lead role of educating

the people and preaching the word of the bible. The church had made a large

impact on the community, but it was Peter that was seen to be the hero and

leader. He also was the first apostle to be associated with the Gentiles. At

that time in history this move was bound to draw him a lot of criticism. Despite

this criticism Peter with some support from his friends was able to make some

progress in the acceptance of other racial groups. After the death of Stephen,

Peter’s whereabouts and activities became very scarce. At one stage he was

imprisoned at Jerusalem and then later escaped. It has been thought that he

travelled through many cities, taking many brief jobs and participating in some

religious events

James James was one of the sons of Zebedee. Was a fisherman when called to

become one of the twelve apostles with his brother John. These two along with

Peter formed the inner circle of the apostles. This inner group was present at

most of the major events and were widely respected for their dedication and

sheer faith. James was good friends with Jesus and with his brother John, were

adeptly nicknamed Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder. It was these two again

that cause a stir when requesting Jesus for a place in the Holy Christ’s

Kingdom. The two were not promised this privilege, they continued to believe and

have the faith that would, in theory, get them there anyway.

John John was the other son of Zebedee. Was the brother James (the son of

Zebedee). It is also possible that John was the cousin of Jesus on his mothers

side. As with his Brother James, he was present at many very significant events

on the history of Christianity. He was also sent by Jesus to prepare the final

pass over meal. John was the one that was probably the closest to Jesus, he was

trusted with responsibilities that Jesus himself had given him.

James, brother of Jesus James was Jesus’s younger brother who, along with his

other siblings, refused to accept Jesus’s claims of authority before his

resurrection. He along with some of his close friends were a group which failed

to accept the power and authority of Jesus before the resurrection. The effect

the resurrection had on James was unmistakable. He became the leader of the

Jewish-Christian Church at Jerusalem. The tradition stated that he was placed

the first leader of the faith by the lord himself. He remained leader of the

Church, by himself, for some time. He was still the leader when Paul visited

Jerusalem for the last time. After receiving a death by stoning, James was named

the “just” for his Jewish piety. James is also said to have described himself as

“a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”.

Paul (Saul of Tarsis) Paul was born in Tarsus a Roman citizen. After a simple

beginning Paul was only effected by preaching of Jesus after he had contact with

the risen Christ. Paul then spent the next three years preaching in Damascus.

After some pressure from the Jews of the area, Paul fled to Jerusalem where he

met up with Barnabas. Barnabas then introduced Paul to the leaders of

Christianity. His stay only lasted a brief two weeks because several Jews were

trying to kill him. Retreating for some ten years, Barnabas contacted Paul and

encouraged him to rejoin the now flourishing Gentile mission. Paul and Barnabas

were sent on a mission to establish Christianity in the area surrounding Cyprus

and the S Galatia. Despite several set backs and violent outbursts the mission

was very successful with new territories become adapt to the Christian ways. As

one would expect the relationship between the Gentiles and the newly turned

Jewish community was one that was tested often. Differing beliefs lead to a

number of verbal and physical conflicts and Barnabas and Paul were called upon

to resolve these. They used the help and guidance of their elders and fellow

Christians to help with their decisions. Paul once again set off through parts

of Europe to convert people to Christianity. This time Barnabas did not travel

with him because of a rift in there relationship. Paul discovered new friend

that he took with him through Greece and the surrounding parts. He helped set up

a large amount of new mission which set the standard for others to grow by. The

next area to converted was the lands of Asia. This goal was quickly accomplished

by Paul. He was then returned to Greece to help secure the faith there. It was

in the years that followed that he wrote several telling letters. This letters

were to become a crucial part of the Christian faith in years to come.

Judas Iscariot Judas was a member of the 12 disciples, and was the one who

betrayed Jesus, which ended in his crucifixion. The opportunity came about when

Judas turned Jesus to the authorities. After the event, guilt was beset upon

this traitor. Unable to over come this guilt, his life ended in suicide. Judas

is widely remember for his treachery and betrayal of the other eleven apostles.

He was thought of as a man who was touched by Satan and influenced into evil

ways. He was bribed and accepted money to do evil deeds. He claimed this money

would be used for the poor..

Barnabas Barnabas was born into a Jewish-Cypriot family. He a member of the

Jerusalem church, and as he progressed he became very serious about religion. He

also had a significant effect on several matters. He introduced a converted Saul

to the main apostles, which lead to Saul being accepted after originally being

called an impostor. It was Barnabas who stuck up for the gentiles when they were

being condemned. Barnabas thought the movement to accept the Gentiles as equals

was an act ignited by God and therefor took the side of God. Being a key member,

he took a journey with Paul from Cyprus, to Asia minor, which was taken with the

goal of setting up a group of successful Gentile churches. Barnabas was also

placed in front of the Jerusalem council with Paul. Barnabas’ importance to the

issue is clearly shown by the mere fact that he is mentioned before Paul in

accounts of the proceedings.


Setting the scene, Goosen & Thomlinson “Jesus; Mystery and Surprise” (Sydney: EJ

Dywer, 1989)

Philosophies, Elwell (ed.) “Evangelical Dictionary of Theology” (Grand Rapids:

Baker Bookhouse, 1990)

“The New Bible Dictionary” (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers Inc, 1962)

Logos Bible Software v2.0 (Oakharbour: Logos Research System)

World Book Encyclopedia

World Wide Web (Internet)


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