Roman Empire Influence on Early Christianity
The influence of the Roman Empire on early Christianity can clearly be seen through the teachings and actions of Christ and the Roman government. The affects of the empire are expressed through Christ’s teachings at the Sermon on the Mound and through preaching the Kingdom of Heaven. Influence of the empire can also be seen through the deaths of martyrs and by decisions made by Roman authority.
The message conveyed by Jesus at the Sermon on the mound is essential because it can help gain insight to understanding that time period. During this time period Christ was preaching to predominantly Jewish people. With this in mind, his listeners would commonly be familiar with the Old Testament writings. Jesus’ teachings were similar to that of the Old Testament but were less strict and trendier. Since the Romans were persecuting the Christians, concepts like turning the other cheek and forgiveness were more appealing to the people of that time. Jesus speaks of being humble with their religion and if they do not obey this rule then they will not be rewarded in the afterlife (Penguin, p. 140). This idea is appealing because it allows his followers to try and escape persecution but at the same time be good disciples. Appealing beliefs can also be seen when Jesus tells his followers to be more then cooperative with authority and “If someone wants to sue you and takes your shirt, let him have your cloak as well” (Penguin, p.140). These passive behaviors spoken of by Christ are examples of teachings that were molded and affected by the Roman Empire.
Alongside preaching model behavior Jesus speaks of a better life after death several times in his sermon. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul. Fear him rather who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Penguin, 146). Keeping in mind the present persecution at that time, the thought of a better life...