Second Century Christianity and Judaism
For centuries, the debate between Judaism and Christianity has divided not only individuals but also countries as a whole. There are many things that affect how these two religions differ and are alike. Among many of the variations, the account of Jesus from either party varies. The Jews who deny him as a divinity are the very people he walked among. One of the main similarities, though, is where these religions originated from, both emerging from the Proto-Orthodox faith. The account of Christianity and how it evolved is a legend within itself, but the story about how Christianity morphed into multiple branches comes from the tales of the apostles, Peter and Paul. Without the conversion of Paul and the apostles spreading the word of God in their own way, Christianity would cease to exist. In summary, the Proto-Orthodox religion is responsible for the way Christianity and Judaism are today. Proto-Orthodox emerged around the third century and was one of the most victorious Christian religions of that time. Proto-Orthodox was one of the only religions that influenced other religions, for example: they subjected the Gnostics and Jewish Christians. “The victory bequeathed to us four Gospels to us virtually everything we know about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.” One of the main reasons people decided to follow the Proto-Orthodox religion was because the Christians believed in one God. Many of the religions of this time had multiple gods and people were more interested in following one God than twelve. They were proven to be a strong group of Christians because of this. Many of the Proto-Orthodox people had a large influence on literature and history of the time because their actions were written down to form the bible. This then brought them into writing the New Testament that lead to the establishment of a hierarchy. This included the creation of deacons, priests, bishops and the pope. The establishment of hierarchy also brought people to pursue this faith because they were very interested in a set of practices and beliefs. They continued on with their beliefs to include sacraments, such as baptism and the Eucharist, the belief in the holy spirit/the trinity and also said that Jesus was “both divine and human”. Proto-Orthodox offered all of this and much more and that is why they had such a large following. The ideals of the Proto-Orthodox were not the only thing that made the religion so popular. Any group of people, weather religion based or not, has to have strong leaders to carry on the passion. Within this time, an author named Ignatius of Antioch wrote down information regarding the Orthodox religion and proved to be a dedicated individual. He wrote letters that discussed “many of the issues to be taken up with his successors among the proto-orthodox”. He wrote letters about the sacraments, about the bishops and about the Christian church. He was then sent for execution for practicing his beliefs. He was willing to suffer for God and what he believed in. He states, “Fire and cross and packs of wild beats, cutting and being torn apart, the scattering of bones, the mangling of limbs, the grinding of the whole body, the evil torments of the devil—let them come upon me, only that I may attain to Jesus Christ”. Even though he was about to be eaten and torn apart by wild beasts, he kept his word and had faith. We see this faith come more into play when Christianity evolves itself into a larger group. Ignatius became a role model to other followers and authors who were willing to make sacrifices and even die for God. Ehrman is a perfect example of this and writes, “…Neither the pains nor the pleasures of this life were anything compared with the glories of salvation awaiting those who gave themselves over not to this world but to the world above, the world of God”. More and more people started agreeing with this ideology as Proto-Orthodox grew. Unfortunately though,...
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