Why Did Christianity During Its Rise Appeal to the Romans More Rather Than Judaism

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November 2010

Essay Paper

World History I

Why did Christianity during its rise appeal to the Romans more rather than Judaism?

GSD Geneva School of Diplomacy & International Relations

GLADYS SHAHTOU

Candidate number: 20100943

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Table of contents

Why did Christianity during its rise appeal to the Romans more rather than Judaism?

Introduction

Main Body

Paganism

Judaism in ancient Rom

The rise of Christianity in ancient Rom

Growth of Christianity (introducing Monotheism)
Christianity as the official ideology of the empire

Conclusion

Bibliography

Introduction

Each religion has had its difficulties in gaining credibility in the beginning, as the new religions always meant an entire different way of perception of the world. Christianity is in the present day the largest religion1, yet how did it emerge? In ancient Rom it has not always been the primary religion since the beginning. How did occur, that the majority of the Roman Empire adopted Christianity, rather than Judaism? Did Christianity provide them with far more advantages such as clarification on their existence, opportunity to reach redemption or better promises than Judaism or Paganism? Was force used by Christians to impose their religion on Rom’s citizens Christianity was able to be appealing to both the rich and poor citizens of the empire? How was this possible? This is what I would like to discuss and explore in this paper. How would they reach salvation? To what extent was Christianity, a form of Judaism? I will explore this based on what existed in ancient Rom before Christianity, how Christianity spread and how it gained over hand in the Empire.

Main Body

Paganism

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The Romans originally followed a rural animistic tradition, in which many spirits (gods) were each responsible for specific, limited aspects of the cosmos and human activities.2 Religions of the majority of the people in ancient Rome, involved Paganism, religions worshiping more than one God. Religion in ancient Rome combined several different cult practices and embraced more than a single set of beliefs. 3

1 http://www.crystalinks.com/romereligion.html
2 M. Murray, 2004, Playing the Jewish Game, page 101
3 M. Murray, 2004, Playing the Jewish Game, page 136

There were people that sympathized with Judaism, yet were not ready to make the leap and practice it to the fullest. They were called God fearers, who considered themselves Jews in order to avoid missing the chance to get into heaven. These people attended synagogue, yet didn’t circumcise and didn’t abide by all biblical rules.4 Another factor that made it rather attractive, to convert from Paganism is the sense of community and monotheism. In Pagan religions, the local village or clan was the centre of social existence. Traders, artisans and beggars, due to their travelling and contact with diverse people, they had an all embracing deity.5

What had influenced Christianity were the rise of Buddhism in India and China, as well as the worshiping of a single God in Persia. In those regions fertility cults were practiced at the onset of spring, similar to the celebration of Easter in Christianity. Roman Paganism had worshiped the sun God most. Christianity also has elements of the Egyptian mystery cult of Osiris, which is the birth of a virgin cow, similar to ‘Holy Mary’. The Holy Mary can be placed equal to the Goddess Isis in the Egyptian religion. Her story doesn’t require much rewriting to the mother of God.6

Judaism in ancient Rom

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Jews had lived in Rome since the second century BC. Later in time, Julius Caesar and Augustus had supported laws that allowed Jews protection to worship as they chose. Synagogues were classified as colleges to get around Roman laws banning secret societies and the temples were allowed to collect the yearly tax paid by...
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