Robert Louis Wilken writes of early Christianity from the perspective of Roman historical accounts, focusing on five major critics of the religion, and ultimately drawing the conclusion that these critics were instrumental in helping Christians more clearly define their faith through self-examination and defense of their own beliefs. With the exception of Pliny, whose opinions and actions were of little consequence throughout the Roman Empire, true dialogue began to take place as Christian philosophy was challenged by Galen, Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian the apostate. Wilken offers an opportunity to view the history of the Christian faith as it was seen and perceived by Roman officials and philosophers; the former concerning themselves more …show more content…
10), though he would occasionally posture to demands from concerned citizens who had heard rumors of strange and frightening rituals associated with certain groups(p. 15). While I cannot discount the possibility of some factions incorporating animal or human sacrifice and ritual cannibalism into their rites, there is a greater probability that these instances were misunderstood and misinterpreted, and the information passed to officials would be considered suspect as to the motive of the individuals spreading these scenarios. In my mind I pictured an innocent ceremony of infant circumcision as witnessed by an outsider to Christianity. How deviant might that look to someone from a culture that does not practice male genital mutilation? It would, no doubt, be horrifying if they had no understanding of, or exposure to, either the Jewish or Christian faith rituals, yet to other believers it was a natural part of initiating a child into the faith. Raising the infant into the air as an offering of a new life devoted to God might also be perceived as a barbaric and frightening sacrificial rite if one were not versed in the rituals of the Abrahamic faiths.
Pliny makes it clear that he has no personal experience in these matters, yet acts to appease those who claim to witness these events. Trajan has no personal experience either, and still urges Pliny to stop this group before their behavior becomes a
Christianity is one of the biggest religions that is still currently practiced today in society. However in the Middle Ages, it was perhaps the biggest religion in the world. So much so that they would go on crusades to either kill their enemies or converting them into Christianity. Ironically, it has been stated that Christians should love and respect everybody, including their enemies. Nonetheless, there has been works that portray Christians as battle-ready warriors and there are other works that tries to explain the understanding and purpose to Christianity. As such, depending on the books and/or poems, there can be many perspectives of Christianity. Even within 500 years from the Early Middle Ages to the Late Middle Ages, the viewpoints
McGiffert, A. (1909). The Influence of Christianity upon the Roman Empire. The Harvard Theological Review, 2(1), 28-49. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1507353
The three non-Christian sources were the governor named Pliny, the Roman historian named Suetonius, and Tacitus. Pliny notified the Emperor about a group named the Christians and that they follow Jesus, but don’t have evidence of Jesus. Pliny asks the emperor if he should kill the Christians. The Roman historian wrote about the riots, caused by a man named “Chrestus”. Tacitus wrote about Jesus in a fire, and describes the religion as dangerous.
Bruce W. Longenecker emerges as a contemporary innovator of Christian literature through his historical fiction work The Lost Letters of Pergamum. Throughout this work, Longenecker analyzes the fundamental features of first-century Christianity, which were primarily affiliated with the New Testament. The Lost Letters of Pergamum is composed of the combination of letters. These letters primarily document the communication between two citizens: Antipas, “citizen of the blessed empire of Rome, and worshiper of Jupiter, Zeus Olympios the Savior” and Luke, "Doctor, historian, and servant of God” (19, 36). After examining the reoccurring letters between the two citizens and in regards to Luke’s “historical monograph,” it becomes evident that Longenecker’s work focuses on the distinct theme of understanding (29).
The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity 203 is an account of Perpetua’s story, a story in which she rejected her Roman identity in order to further pledge her Christian faith. At the time, Romans feared the spread of Christianity due to the conflicting interest in the worship of Gods and the circulating rumors that Christians were cannibals. Not only did Romans think Christianity was odd for those factors but also that Christians feared their potential experiences in the afterlife more than their experiences in their current life. The history of the Roman Empire provides that emperors would put Christians through a test in order to confirm their devotion to Christianity. If they confessed to being Christian, then they would be persecuted. However, Christians had the opportunity of denying their faith and making a sacrifice to the empire so that they could avoid persecution. Yet, there were many Christians that remained faithful rather than opting for the denial of their faith and avoiding persecution. This paper will discuss Perpetua’s rejection of her Roman identity in passages six and twenty in order to show the differences between the devout Christians of the roman empire and the pagans of the roman empire.
In his attempt to deal with this “problem,” Pliny wrote to the Roman Emperor, Trajan seeking legal guidance. In the correspondence, Pliny asked if Christians
During the reign of Constantine I, the Roman Empire experienced great strides in religious tolerance. While meeting together in Milan during February 313 AD, Constantine I and Licinius, Roman emperors, came up with the religious policy for the future of the empire. This policy became known as the Edict of Milan and forever changed the future of religion, especially Christianity. Over 1600 years later, in January 1925, a historian named John R. Knipfing wrote an essay analyzing the religious tolerance during Constantine’s reign. This essay focused not only on the Edict of Milan, but also on the outlook on Christianity and religion that led up to it. It is evident through the comparison of these two documents how important primary sources such
Unlike Res Gestae, Letters is missing an agenda, which gives this source more weight in terms of being a more genuine account of a Roman emperor. We are able to paint a picture of Trajan, not by him directly addressing an audience, nor Pliny doing so for that matter. Instead, we are reading records of personal messages between the two, giving us a more genuine, fluid, and indiscriminate representation of Trajan. As promised, we are able to conclude that Pliny’s letters provide us with a deeper and better insight into his unique language/narrative of Roman
The context of the letter written by Pliny the Younger written to Trajan was concerning how to go about this whole idea of persecuting Christians. After the 1st century and Nero really persecuting the Christians things begin to calm down for Christians in the later centuries. In Bithynia Suspected Christians were appearing before him from anonymous accusations so with unclear laws and no accusations for people being Christians Pliny the Younger had to consult on how to handle any persecution against Christians.
The purpose of the paper is to differentiate between Christ of faith and Jesus of history. New Testament biblical scholars from the 19th Century have been preoccupied by the notion of Christ of faith versus Jesus of History. Jesus of history can be described as the quest for historical Jesus, while the Christ of Faith is the Christ of Christian belief either through the Church or historically. Some traditions even went ahead to argue that the Jesus of History could never be found and therefore the Christ of faith is the only way forward for Christians. On the other hand, those who have been promoting the Jesus of History have often assumed that the historical Jesus is much superior as compared to the Christ of Faith. Despite the key differences between Christ of faith and the historical Jesus, both these aspect have an implication for Western Christianity.
Throughout history, Christianity always had a reputation, or a “name” following it. Different perspectives approached the reputation that was attached to Christianity in different manners. Justin Martyr and Porphyry had objectives when defining whether this “name” really defined Christianity and the past. They wondered whether the past really represented Christianity. Additionally they honed in on the question of was the past that people represented as Christianity really the roots of Christianity? All around Porphyry and Justin was perceptions of what Christianity rooted from and stood for.
C. Thesis: The Christians faced tumultuous, and massive amounts of hardships in the 2nd and 3rd C.E, through looking at the primary source of Pliny the Younger letters to Emperor Trajan, and multiple other historical accounts. It is clear that the Pagan Romans and Christians had a rocky relationship with one another, filled with accusations, persecutions, torture, and bewilderment of the Pagan Romans View on the Christians.
Justin Martyr’s defense of philosophy in religion is somewhat implicit, in that he uses it in order to defend Christianity. Justin, in his apology for the Christians addressed to the Roman Emperors, makes no overt claim that philosophy should be applied to Christianity, but does so through implication and through his
One influential cult was based upon a mystical interpretation of Plato. Neo-Platonism was like a rational science that attempted to break down and describe every aspect of the divine essence and its relationship with the human soul. An Alexandrian Jew named Philo tried using Greek philosophy to interpret the Jewish scriptures. He wanted to unite the two traditions by suggesting that the Greek philosophers had been inspired by the same God who had revealed himself to the Jews.