Christianity evolved and expanded within this setting of declining classicism and heightening otherworldiness. The hope of personal immortality.
ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY:
* A Palestinian Jew named Jesus was executed by the Roman authorities during the reign of Tiberius (A.D. 13-37), who succeeded Augustus.
* Jesus' ethical teachings are rooted in the moral outlook of the Old Testament prophets.
* Rejecting the concepts of the resurrection of the dead and of an afterlife--Torah.
* Challenging the aristocratic Sadducees, the Pharisees adopted a more liberal attitude toward Mosaic Law (Torah).
* Unlike the Sadducees, the Pharisees believed in life after death.
* All later forms of Judaism developed from the Pharisees.
* Besides the afterlife, another widely recognized idea in the first century B.C. was the belief in a Messiah, a redeemer chosen by God to liberate Israel from foreign rule.
* Jesus (c. 4 B.C.-c. A.D. 29) practiced his ministry within this context of Jewish religious-national expectations and longings.
* Jesus himself wrote nothing, and nothing was written about him during his lifetime.
* Consequently, virtually everything known about Jesus derives from the Bible's New Testament, which was written decades after Jesus' death by devotees seeking to convey a religious truth and to propagate a faith.
* Very little is known about his childhood.
* Like the Hebrew prophets, Jesus saw ethics as the core of Mosaic Law: "So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets." Like the prophets, he denounced injustice and oppression, urged mercy and compassion, and expressed a special concern for the poor and down-trodden.
* Jesus believed that the center of Judaism had shifted from prophetic values to obedience to rules and prohibitions regulating the smallest details of daily life.
* The inner...