AP World History
January 2, 2014
Christianity: Change Over Time
Early Christianity can be analyzed focusing on three major, significant, pivotal time periods: the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, the years following his death which involved religious persecution, and the time period following Roman emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity. Socially, the development of Christianity gave hope to those oppressed by the Roman government, but lead to long-term persecution up until Constantine’s conversion. Religiously, Jesus’s life began a period of great change and reform as classic Judaism was questioned. Politically, early Christians and followers of Jesus were seen as threats to the government as they questioned the ways of the Roman government and the Jewish establishment. Over time, Christianity went from being a widely persecuted and looked-down upon religion to being widely accepted following the conversion of Constantine. Around the time of Jesus’s birth and rise to prominence, Jewish people in the Roman empire were being widely oppressed and exiled, sent into diaspora and shunned from their home in Judea and sent to Babylonia. They were publicly insulted by important figures such as the Roman philosopher Seneca who resented Jews and said in De superstition, “The customs of this accursed race have gained such influence that they are now received throughout the world.” He and many other social figures believed that Jews were a threat that needed to be addressed. Jesus offered a beacon of hope to these oppressed Jews, preaching about compassion and equality for all and diminishing the importance of the wealthy and material possessions. Religiously, however, not all Jews were open to the religious change that Jesus was pushing for. While some Jewish people viewed him as the long-awaited Messiah coming to save them from their trials, others resented his non-traditional ways. Jesus ultimately...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document