Text and Traditions: Work Requirement One Historical ReconstructionMajor events in Jewish history to the first century AD1250 BC Fall of Jerusalem to the Romans.
931 BC Divided Kingdoms. 721 BC Fall of Samaria. 587 BC Fall of Jerusalem, Babylonian captivity. 333 BC Jews under Hellenistic rule. 63 BCJews under Roman rule.
70 ADFall of Jerusalem to the Romans. Major events between 50 BC – 100 AD63 BC – 40 BC Hyrcanus2 rules, but is subject to Rome. 41 BC – 30 BC Antony Caesar Roman Emperor. 40 BC – 37 BC Parathions conquer Jerusalem. 38 BC – 4 BC Herod rules as king.
Subject to Rome. 37 BCJerusalem besieged for 6 months. 32 BCHerod Defeated. 31 BC – 14 AD Caesar Augustus Roman Emperor. 19 BCHerod’s Temple begun. 16 BCHerod visits Agrppa.
4 BCHerod dies; Archelaus succeeds. 37 AD – 41 AD Caliguta Roman Emperor. 41 AD – 54 AD Claudius Roman Emperor. 54 AD – 68 AD Nero Roman Emperor. The first persecutor of Christians.
66 ADJews in Palestine tried to revolt. Were crushed byTitus. 69 AD – 79 AD Vespasia Roman Emperor. He continued the persecution. 70 ADJewish temple destroyed. Small part of the wall leftstanding.
79 ADTitus Roman Emperor. Detailed analysis of major Jewish groups of the timePharisees The Pharisees were a group of Jews, that believed strongly against theadoption of Greek ways. They wanted to uphold and protect their fragile Jewishculture, from the Greek influence that was flooding into Israel at the time. They developed as haters of the tradition Greek ways, because of their customswere related to idolatry and immorality. They joined up with a group know as theHasmoneans and proceeded to conduct a rebellion against the Greek.
After gainingreligious freedom, they then separated from their new partners, and formed thebreakaway party, known today as the Pharisees (meaning the separated’). Theyhad extreme power in the synagogue, and eventually turned it into the center ofthe Jewish faith. This didn’t last forever, as it was finally replaced by thetemple, erected by David. Saducees The Sadducees (Sons of Zadok) seemed to be a group of aristocraticpriestly families, that were powerful within the High Priesthood. They held amonopoly over all the High Priesthood positions and were also powerful in theSanhedrin. They came across as being a very selfish group that retained theirrights and traditions, and also trying to stay on the good side of the RomanEmpire.
Unlike the Pharisees, they were rigid and closed in sect, and not opento change. When the Romans destroyed the temple, they disappeared and were neverheard from again. Zealots The Zealots were a group of radical extremists, that were the cause ofmany uprisings throughout their history, and eventually they lead a revoltagainst the Romans in 66-73 AD. To stop this, the Roman Emperor destroyed thethird temple, which lead to the end of the uprising.
This not only lead to theirdownfall, but that of the Jews when they were crushed by Emperor Titus in 73 AD. Qumrans/Essenes They were an important Jewish group in the community around thetime of Jesus. Although it wasn’t until 150 BC until they emerged, they livedtheir lives according to a strict set of beliefs and rules. To join the group athree year probationary period was imposed to new comers. Members were bound tokeep secret the doctrines and practices. Its is believed that John the Baptistwas and Essene, and had high connections to their community.
The discovery ofthe Dead Sea Scrolls has shed a lot more light on the practices of the Essenes. These discoveries have proved that some Christian qualities and beliefs are anexact copy of that of the Qumrans/Essenes. Samaritans Samaritans originated from the area located between Judea and Galilee,when the Assyrian settlers intermarried with the Jews that lived there. Thepopulation created followed all the laws of Torah in their own special way, andconsidered themselves to be Jewish.
The normal Jews did not accept this, asintermarriage between Jews and Gentiles was forbidden. Throughout the bible, ithas been documented that the Samaritans and the Jews were at each other throats,constantly. Analysis of major philosophical ideas of the timePlatonism Plato was an ancient Greek philosopher who taught in the periodbetween 427 and 347 BC. He reasoned that the senses can’t be trusted, and thatone must use reason and maths, to solve problems and to guide oneself throughoutlife. Plato was a student of Socrates and throughout his works, he drew fromother Greek philosophies, although as time progressed, he developed an entirelydifferent philosophical form of thinking that became his own. Aristotelianism Aristotle was a Greek philosopher that was born nearly 400 yearBC.
During his well documented life, he served as the tutor to Alexander theGreat and also wrote many papers on various topics such as Ethics, Physics andMetaphysics. Aristotle also developed theories on the human soul in relation togod. He represented it as a trinity of matter, being vegetable, animal and humanin nature, and proposed a non-abstract theory of form, where the initiator ofall existence is acknowledged as God. Epicureanism Epicurus set up a school in Athens that taught ethics, based on hiswritings and opinions, in the Hellenistic world.
He proposed that the pursuit ofhappiness should be mans greatest concern, rather than modeling his life on thepleasing of gods and of the deeds needed to be completed for one to have apleasurable afterlife. His philosophy was that the pleasure seeking of mankind,would not only provide fulfilment for one’s own self, but also lead to theadvancement and development of society in general. Stoicism Stoicism was a famous school of Hellenistic thought. Its teachings werenot just philosophical, but could be used by everyday people, in everyday life. The main goal for the tradition was to attain happiness and liberation fromemotion, through the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.
We can draw manycomparisons between the Christian faith and that of Stoicism. We can also seethe influence that the tradition had on many of the late Christian theologians. Mystery Cults/Religions The mystery cults originated from many places in thefirst century AD. They developed to replace the Olympic pantheons that werebecoming implausible and unsatisfying. The followers of these cults worshiped avariety of gods or philosophies, each with their own set of obscure rules andrituals. Secrecy played a great part in these cults (hence the name mysteryreligions’) as one could incur the death sentence by revealing the mysteriesthrough speech, dance, pantomime, or any other form of communication.
Althoughone can debate the point of having these religions, it does prove that the humansoul requires some form of religious worship, mainstream or otherwise. Gnosticism The Gnostics were a group/sect that existed in the first half of the20th century, and were thought to lead Christians astray by teachingmanipulations of the Gospel. The mixed the ideas of the Christians with that ofthe Greeks, producing a religion that wanted release from the prison of thisworld. It draws on the Jewish monldthum, Babylonian anthology and Iranian Deulum,and believes that light and darkness are entwined in a constant battle of cosmicrealms. First Century Roman JudeaSummary of major New Testament Christian LeadersPeter Peter was one of the first, and major disciples.
Peter’s original name wasthe Heb. Simon. His fathers name was Jonah. He worked as a fisherman at the twoplaces of which he took residence: Beth-saida and Capernaum in Galilee. At theseplaces he was in contact with the gentiles.
He was probably effected by John theBaptist’s movement. He was often the spokesperson for all the of the followersand friends. Before Pentecost it was Peter who took the lead role of educatingthe people and preaching the word of the bible. The church had made a largeimpact on the community, but it was Peter that was seen to be the hero andleader. He also was the first apostle to be associated with the Gentiles. Atthat time in history this move was bound to draw him a lot of criticism.
Despitethis criticism Peter with some support from his friends was able to make someprogress in the acceptance of other racial groups. After the death of Stephen,Peter’s whereabouts and activities became very scarce. At one stage he wasimprisoned at Jerusalem and then later escaped. It has been thought that hetravelled through many cities, taking many brief jobs and participating in somereligious eventsJames James was one of the sons of Zebedee.
Was a fisherman when called tobecome one of the twelve apostles with his brother John. These two along withPeter formed the inner circle of the apostles. This inner group was present atmost of the major events and were widely respected for their dedication andsheer faith. James was good friends with Jesus and with his brother John, wereadeptly nicknamed Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder. It was these two againthat cause a stir when requesting Jesus for a place in the Holy Christ’sKingdom.
The two were not promised this privilege, they continued to believe andhave the faith that would, in theory, get them there anyway. John John was the other son of Zebedee. Was the brother James (the son ofZebedee). It is also possible that John was the cousin of Jesus on his mothersside.
As with his Brother James, he was present at many very significant eventson the history of Christianity. He was also sent by Jesus to prepare the finalpass over meal. John was the one that was probably the closest to Jesus, he wastrusted with responsibilities that Jesus himself had given him. James, brother of Jesus James was Jesus’s younger brother who, along with hisother siblings, refused to accept Jesus’s claims of authority before hisresurrection. He along with some of his close friends were a group which failedto accept the power and authority of Jesus before the resurrection.
The effectthe resurrection had on James was unmistakable. He became the leader of theJewish-Christian Church at Jerusalem. The tradition stated that he was placedthe first leader of the faith by the lord himself. He remained leader of theChurch, by himself, for some time. He was still the leader when Paul visitedJerusalem for the last time.
After receiving a death by stoning, James was namedthe “just” for his Jewish piety. James is also said to have described himself as”a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”. Paul (Saul of Tarsis) Paul was born in Tarsus a Roman citizen. After a simplebeginning Paul was only effected by preaching of Jesus after he had contact withthe risen Christ. Paul then spent the next three years preaching in Damascus. After some pressure from the Jews of the area, Paul fled to Jerusalem where hemet up with Barnabas.
Barnabas then introduced Paul to the leaders ofChristianity. His stay only lasted a brief two weeks because several Jews weretrying to kill him. Retreating for some ten years, Barnabas contacted Paul andencouraged him to rejoin the now flourishing Gentile mission. Paul and Barnabaswere sent on a mission to establish Christianity in the area surrounding Cyprusand the S Galatia. Despite several set backs and violent outbursts the missionwas very successful with new territories become adapt to the Christian ways. Asone would expect the relationship between the Gentiles and the newly turnedJewish community was one that was tested often.
Differing beliefs lead to anumber of verbal and physical conflicts and Barnabas and Paul were called uponto resolve these. They used the help and guidance of their elders and fellowChristians to help with their decisions. Paul once again set off through partsof Europe to convert people to Christianity. This time Barnabas did not travelwith him because of a rift in there relationship.
Paul discovered new friendthat he took with him through Greece and the surrounding parts. He helped set upa large amount of new mission which set the standard for others to grow by. Thenext area to converted was the lands of Asia. This goal was quickly accomplishedby Paul.
He was then returned to Greece to help secure the faith there. It wasin the years that followed that he wrote several telling letters. This letterswere to become a crucial part of the Christian faith in years to come. Judas Iscariot Judas was a member of the 12 disciples, and was the one whobetrayed Jesus, which ended in his crucifixion. The opportunity came about whenJudas turned Jesus to the authorities. After the event, guilt was beset uponthis traitor.
Unable to over come this guilt, his life ended in suicide. Judasis widely remember for his treachery and betrayal of the other eleven apostles. He was thought of as a man who was touched by Satan and influenced into evilways. He was bribed and accepted money to do evil deeds.
He claimed this moneywould be used for the poor. . Barnabas Barnabas was born into a Jewish-Cypriot family. He a member of theJerusalem church, and as he progressed he became very serious about religion.
Healso had a significant effect on several matters. He introduced a converted Saulto the main apostles, which lead to Saul being accepted after originally beingcalled an impostor. It was Barnabas who stuck up for the gentiles when they werebeing condemned. Barnabas thought the movement to accept the Gentiles as equalswas an act ignited by God and therefor took the side of God. Being a key member,he took a journey with Paul from Cyprus, to Asia minor, which was taken with thegoal of setting up a group of successful Gentile churches. Barnabas was alsoplaced in front of the Jerusalem council with Paul.
Barnabas’ importance to theissue is clearly shown by the mere fact that he is mentioned before Paul inaccounts of the proceedings.BibliographySetting the scene, Goosen & Thomlinson “Jesus; Mystery and Surprise” (Sydney: EJDywer, 1989)Philosophies, Elwell (ed.) “Evangelical Dictionary of Theology” (Grand Rapids:Baker Bookhouse, 1990)”The New Bible Dictionary” (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers Inc, 1962)Logos Bible Software v2.0 (Oakharbour: Logos Research System)World Book EncyclopediaWorld Wide Web (Internet)