aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Church History Notes

I'm going to teach a nine-week course on the first thousand years of Church history for adults at my church, called "The Story of the Church." Here is my outline for the first three sessions.

The Rise of Christianity (first three sessions)

I. The Jewish tap-root
A. After-effects of the Exile (to Babylon) and Return
*Nebuchadnezzar – sack of Jerusalem (xxx BC)
*Fall of Babylon – (xxx BC)

a. The Diaspora: a trans-national community
b. The meaning of "Jewishness" (Iudaioi)
c. The practical end of idolatry
d. Ethnic exclusivity
* rejection of Samaritans

a. The synagogue
b. Talmud
c. Conversion
* proselytes
* baptism
* God-fearers
d. Rabbis & Scribes

a. Eschatology
* life after death
* resurrection
* messianism
b. Last of the prophets?
c. Essenes

B. Other influences on first-Century Judaism

1. Alexander the Great (xxx-xxx BC) and Hellenism
a. Founding of Alexandria
b. "Hellenes"
c. Sadducees

2. The Maccabean Revolt (xxx BC)
* Pharisees

3. Rome's eastward expansion
* Pompey the Great incorporates Judea into Rome's orbit (63 BC)
a. Political changes
* End of the Hasmonean monarchy
* Herod the Great (xxx-xxx) and Rome
* Military colonization and breakup of the kingdom of Judea
b. Zealots

II. The Greek Contribution
A. Language of LXX, NT

B. Basic approaches and terms

1. Allegorical interpretation of OT

2. Logos
*the challenge of Gnosticism

3. Spirit
* the challenge of Dualism

4. Rebirth
* the challenge of the Mystery Religions

5. Man of Light
* the challenge of Neo-Platonism

III. The Roman Contribution
A. The Pax Romana

1. Interchange of ideas, easy travel

2. Protection of minority rights
a. Relations w/the Jews (to AD 70)
b. Legal system
* no local death penalty
c. Citizenship
* used by Paul, others
* right of appeal

3. Strong views on violation of sepulture

B. Church administration came to mirror secular administration

IV. The NT Story
A. The Jesus Event

1. John the Baptist

2. The Passion

3. Resurrection and Return

B. Jesus's early followers called "Galileans" or "the Way"

C. Centers of early Xtny

1. Jerusalem

2. Antioch

D. Paul's Missionary Journeys

1. Original target – Jews in the Diaspora

2. Acceptance of Gentiles

3. Desire to operate from Rome

E. The Separation from Judaism

1. Xtny at first a sect of Judaism

2. Rejection by other sects, persecution
* Rejection of the relatives of Jesus

3. Acceptance of Gentiles on equal footing
* Council of Jerusalem (c. AD 50)

4. First Roman-Jewish War
* Destruction of Jerusalem (AD 70)

5. Xtny became a Jewish religion practiced by Gentiles

V. The Early Church to c. AD 117
A. Organization of Primitive Church

1. NT
a. Apostles & prophets
b. Bishops/elders
c. Deacons/deaconesses
d. Widows

2. Rise of the episcopate
* place of chorepiscopoi

B. Worship and practice

1. Discontinuance of Sabbath observance

2. The Eucharist

3. Baptism

C. Early persecutions

1. Xtns and secular culture
a. Pacifism
b. Non-participation
c. Anti-syncretism
d. Opposition to divorce, etc.

2. Anti-Xtn propaganda
a. Scapegoating
b. Slanders
*haters of humanity

3. Imperial persecutors
a. Nero (AD xx-xx)
*Fire of Rome (64)
b. Domitian (AD xx-xx)
c. Severus (AD xx0xx)
c. Trajan (AD xx-xx)
* Pliny the Younger in Bithynia (104)

4. Early martyrs
a. Justin (xx-xx)
b. Polycarp (156)
c. Ignatius of Antioch (115)

D. Early Xtn writers
1. Justin Martyr: Apology
*opposed to Marcion

2. Polycarp

3. Ignatius

4. Clement of Rome (m. 100)

5. Hermas: Shepherd

6. Writer of the Didache

VI. "The Blood of the Martyrs is the Seed of the Church" (Xtny to c. AD 316)
A. Theological Developments

1. Apostles' Creed

2. Irenaeus (fl. 175-195)

3. Tertullian (160-220)
* Trinity
* Apology (202)

4. NT Canon
*Marcion (excommunicated c. 144)

5. Clement of Alexandria (150-215)
*The "Christian gnostic"

6. Origen (185-254)

7. Eucharist
a. Medicine of immortality
b. Proof vs. Gnostics
c. Eucharistic discipline

8. The rivalry of Antioch and Alexandria

B. Worship and Spiritual Life

1. Origin of the cult of the saints

2. Development of the catechumenate

3. Montanism (160-240)
* "gifts of the spirit"

4. Subintroductae and views on sex

C. The Pressure of Persecution
* Cyprian (200-58)
* Stephen (xx-xx)
* Perpetua (m. 202)

1. The Confessors and the Lapsed (251)
a. The origin of "libel"
b. Saving Scriptures, saving bishops
c. The operation of the sacraments
d. The character of the clergy
e. The jurisdiction of Rome

2. Donatism (320-600s)

D. The Climax of the Persecutions and the Peace of the Church

1. Marcus Aurelius (161-80)

2. Decius (229-50)

3. Diocletian (303-05) and the renewal of the Empire

4. Constantius Chlorus (xx-xx) and the search for a unifying symbol

5. Constantine (312-37)
a. Battle of Milvian Bridge (311)
* in hoc signo vinces
b. Edict of Milan (313)
c. Sole Emperor (316?), Constantine favors Christians

4. Eusebius of Caesarea
* Church History (c. 311)

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