Notes on Early Chistianity: A World Religion

Essay by katelyn420University, Bachelor's October 2006

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Christianity evolved and expanded within this setting of declining classicism and heightening otherworldiness. The hope of personal immortality.


* 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...