A Critical Interpretation of Hans Kung's Historical Analysis of the Development of the Hierarchical Church

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A Critical Interpretation of Hans Kung's Historical Analysis of the Development of the Hierarchical Church

The beginnings of the Christian church are shrouded in mystery. With the lack of evidence about that time in history, it is hard to draw conclusions of any type. However, the historical analyst, Hans Kung, has written a book to shed some light on the subject. In this book, Kung discusses his opinion on the development of the early church, and its hierarchical structure. In the following paper, I will address two of the chapters of Kung's book, "The Beginnings of the Early Church" and "The Early Catholic Church". The points that I will focus on are: The makeup and persecution of the early church community and why it was that way, and how, according to Kung, the founders of Catholicism went against how Jesus wanted the church to be governed by establishing a hierarchy.

The Christian church, according to Kung, began at Pentecost. When the Holy Spirit came to the apostles and told them to go out and preach the teachings of Jesus it meant that the apostles could claim an identity separate from Judaism. The majority of the first Christians were Jews from Jerusalem that believed that Jesus was the Messiah promised to the Jews in the Hebrew Testament and they believed in the resurrection. "The earliest Christian community did not want in any way to part company with the Jewish community or nation, but to remain integrated into Judaism."(P. 13). The differences in the beliefs of the Jews and the Jewish-Christians naturally created a separation in the two groups. When the Christian disciples started going out and preaching their faith to people, the Roman Empire saw them as a threat to their power and decided that Christianity would have to be stopped. Because Christianity and Judaism were one, the two most effective ways to persecute the Christians was to execute their leaders, and to destroy the Jewish places of worship. After the Romans burned...
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