Реферат: Evolution of Christianity

Evolution of Christianity

            In about2000 B.C., many displaced tribes were wandering through Middle East throughoutthe Middle East because of the political upheavals that accompanied thecollapse of Akkadian kingdom and coming of theBabylonians. These patriarchal tribes, under guidance of the oldest and mostrespected male members, founded communities united by bloodlines, economicinterests, and folk traditions. One of these tribes known as Hebrews, led byAbraham settled in the territory called Canaan, a region identified looselywith ancient Israel. These tribes believed that Abraham was guided bysupernatural force, and this supernatural force made a covenant, or solemnagreement with Abraham to protect his family and bring prosperity to hisoffspring if they agreed to obey his divine commands. These Hebrews enjoyedmany prosperous decades in Canaan, and in 1500 B.C. moved to Egypt at time whenit was overrun by Hyksos until Egypt reconquered their land and enslaved them. In about 1250B.C. a leader, Moses led Hebrews to Exodus from Egypt. These events wererecorded on Hebrew scriptures, and it described Moses as a savoir sent by God.Their religion valued human life as sacred, because it was given by God, whocreated and owned all things. The core of Mosaic law was the Ten Commandments,which set forth the proper behavior of human beings. Hebrews were called Jewlater, and they started to incorporate two new features into their religionwhich are eschatology, or the concern with the end of the world, and apocalypseor prophecies about the coming of God and a day of judgment. This future worldwould be led by a Messiah, or Anointed One, who would bring peace and justiceto all. Christianity takes its roots from Judaism, and it gained much of itspower from tremendous moral force of its central beliefs and values. Thesurviving sources for the origin of Christianity are writing in Greek by earlybelievers who were openly partisan. According to them, Christianity beganwithin the Jewish believers of Jesus. The outline of Jesus’ life is describedin books called Gospels. The writers of these Gospels were Matthew, Mark, Lukeand John, and only two these evangelists who are Matthew and John, werewitnesses of Jesus life on earth. There was a belief at that time that in orderto become Christian you first had to become a Jew. This view of course waschanged by Paul, a Jew converted to Christianity after Jesus’ death. Hewelcomed led a group who welcomed gentile, or non-Jewish members. Mark’s Gospelwas written in part to support Paul’s gentile faction. Paul was a citizen ofRome, and therefore he was able to preach freely Greek-speaking Jew, and Jewishconverts scattered across the Roman Empire. Paul addressed theological concernsin epistles, or letters which he directed to churches he either founded orvisited across Roman Empire. Paul interpreted Jesus’ life as “SufferingServant” who was noble and guiltless but misunderstood and punished on behalfof others. He said that Jesus suffered for our sin we inherited from Adam andEve. He also said that human redemption could be obtained only throughbelieving in Jesus Christ and his sacrifice. The New Testament which wascreated after Jesus’ coming to earth, started from Gospels, which talked aboutJesus’ life and his teachings, and ended with Revelation, that talked about theend of the world, and the Judgment Day.

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Adoption ofChristianity.

            Christianitywas adopted by Emperor Constantine of Rome in 313 A.D. as a official religionof the Roman Empire. The adoption of Christianity enabled most priests to joinarmy units, and bishops to attend imperial courts, because they didn’t want tojoin or attend before. Emperor Constantine restored faith, returned confiscatedproperty to the church, built new churches, and gave tax exemptions to bishopsduring his reign. He dedicated an entire city to Christianity and named itafter his name Constantinople. Constantine’s successors supported the spread ofChristianity, and by 395 A.D. most of the population was Christian. Christianityadapted to Rome’s values, promising victory to Roman armies and a bountifullife to believers. There were many controversies in Christianity. Distressed bythese controversies, Constantine tried to end major controversy overrelationship of Jesus to God. The first group, who were followers of priest Arius, said that Jesus wasn’t the Son of God, and that hewas a %100 man. Another group lead by bishop Athanasius  argued that Jesus was %100 divine. In 325,under the guidance of Constantine this issue was settled at a church council atNicaea in Asia Minor in favor of Atrhanasius.Even though Arianism was condemned, it divided thechurch for decades and remained strong in church’s ruling hierarchy. Manybelieve that the adoption of Christianity by Constantine lead to the collapseof the Roman Empire. The fall of Rome came when a leader of troop of Germancalled Odoacer, defeated a Roman army in 476, andlater the entire Roman Empire was divided into small Germanic kingdoms. TheRoman Empire was already weak by this time because, after the Roman Empire wasdivided into two parts with two rulers on each side, it was reunited as oneEmpire. And this of course didn’t last long.