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History of Christian Thought - Final Exam Questions - Essay Example

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Assignment: Theology 1. The first members of Christianity considered their religion as a movement to revive Palestinian Judaism. They viewed their faith as an embodiment of God’s promise to the land of Israel. In Judaism, Saul and David were also regarded as “Messiahs” (God’s Anointed One), though they played no special part in the pagan religion…
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Download file to see previous pages They were concerned with the future consequences of the kingdom. They identified themselves as “The Community of the Poor” and their social philosophies always favored the poor people (Frend, 27-28). Jesus Christ was given a violent death by his antagonists who crucified him onto a cross. The Jewish religion believed that the prophets usually sacrificed their lives as a martyr, and Jesus death occurred in a similar circumstance. Of course, being the “Son of God”, he resurrected himself within three days of his dying. Thus, his followers came to regard him as “the true and faithful martyr” who sacrificed his life for the salvation of mankind (Frend, 54). Paul, a religious genius, shifted the Christian ideology away from Palestinian Judaism to the Jewish cultural centers in Europe and Asia Minor. According to him, although Christianity was a reform movement within Judaism, one could become a Christian only through a formal process of baptism to the religion. However, Paul had not respected the Christian followers at Jerusalem and they naturally opposed his philosophies (Frend, 89). 2. During the 2nd century, Rome emerged as the leading center in Christianity. According to the account in Clement I, the Roman Church was governed by presbyter bishops, instead of a single authoritative bishop. Hermas’ account suggests that different religious officials were responsible of carrying out different tasks: Clement was in charge of the foreign correspondence of the Church while other bishops or overseers were asked to monitor the area of hospitality and other charitable activities of the institution. During this time, Rome also started implementing beneficial activities for communities living beyond the city (Frend, 130). During 130-180, the Christian religion experienced the advent of the Gnostic movement. The movement advocated a form of Gentile Christianity, which encouraged its followers to encompass all kinds of knowledge and experience in their ultimate aim of achieving salvation centering around the divinity of Christ. Basilides, Valentinus, and Heracleon were three of the pioneering teachers of the movement, who working in Alexandria, spread its influence to Rome, Italy, Asia Minor and the Rhone valley. The Gnostic philosophy laid the foundation for the Alexandrian school of theology and Christian Platonism, which flourished in the subsequent centuries (Frend, 195). During this time, the Christian religion was retained its presence although in a smaller scale. During the second century, Christians had become almost a minority in certain places of the western world. By this time, new religious movements were also emerging which differed from Christianity in their basic ideals. Religious fanaticism had reached such a peak that, Christians being a minority began to be persecuted at different places of the Roman Empire. 3. During the 2nd and the 3rd centuries, the Roman Empire started to witness evidence of religious syncretism among its citizens. During the ancient time, the empire had been under the pagan influence after which the Christian religion had become popular among the people. Now, influences of other religions had started percolating into Christianity and the people had started to include these new practices within their existing ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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