New Testament Research 1

A leaf from John Eliot’s Algonquin (Native American “Indian” language) Bible. These leaves are three-and-a-half centuries old. Many people are shocked to discover that the first Bible printed in America was not English… or any other European language. In fact, English and European language Bibles would not be printed in America until a century later! Eliot’s Bible did much more than bring the Gospel to the pagan natives who were worshiping creation rather than the Creator… it gave them literacy, as they did not have a written language of their own until this Bible was printed for them. 

Sadly, the many tribes that make up the diverse people-group that is collectively referred to today as “Native Americans” have for centuries continued to exhibit a stronger resistance to the Gospel and the “White Man’s God” than perhaps any other culture in the world. The result has been that the Native American Indians today have a higher rate of alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling-addiction, poverty, and suicide than any other culture in the world. In this we see clearly demonstrated the multi-generational wages of rejecting the Gospel.
Many natives, however, did receive the Gospel through John Eliot’s Bible. In learning the concept of “written language”, and in learning the message of salvation in the written scriptures, many natives found their lives enriched beyond measure both spiritually and intellectually. More than a century later, Thomas Jefferson would make his own attempt to reach the native Americans by publishing “The Morals of Jesus”, a collection of Christ’s parables designed to communicate the core message of the Gospel to the natives.
Today, we see a liberal “revisionist history” being popularized regarding the evangelical outreach of the 1600’s and 1700’s to the Native Americans. Through highly inaccurate story telling, such as that of Disney’s seemingly innocent animated movie “Pocahontas”, we see a story of early American settlers abandoning their Christian beliefs, and embracing the pagan nature-worship of the native Americans, in a politically correct display of multicultural unity! Of course nothing could be further from the truth, and that is quite the opposite of what actually happened. We can only assume that the film’s producers must have decided that a more true-to-life tale of Pocahontas rejecting her pagan traditions and accepting the Gospel brought to her through John Smith and others, though later dying in England of Syphilis, would not have made as nice a movie for the children!

The main reason why there were no English language Bibles printed in America until the late 1700’s, is because they were more cheaply and easily imported from England up until the embargo of the Revolutionary War. But the kind of Bible John Eliot needed for his missionary outreach to the native American “Indians” was certainly not to be found in England, or anywhere else. It had to be created on the spot. Eliot recognized that one of the main reasons why the Native Americans were considered “primitive” by European settlers is that they did not have a written alphabet of their own. They communicated almost exclusively through spoken language, and what little writing they did was in very limited pictorial images, more like Egyptian hieroglyphics than that of any functional alphabetical language like those of Europe or Asia or Africa. 
Clearly the Word of God was something these people needed if they were to stop worshiping creation and false gods, and learn to worship the true Creator… but God’s Word could not realistically be translated effectively into their primitive pictorial drawings. So Eliot found a wonderful solution: he would give the native Americans the gift of God’s Word and also give them the gift of true literacy. He agreed to learn their spoken language, and they agreed to learn the Western world’s phonetic alphabet (how to pronounce words made up of character symbols like A, B, C, D, E, etc.) Eliot then translated the Bible into their native Algonquin tongue, phonetically using our alphabet! This way, the natives did not really even need to learn how to speak English, and they could still have a Bible that they could READ. In fact, they could go on to use their newly learned alphabet to write other books of their own, if they so desired, and build their cult

 

 A leaf from John Eliot’s Algonquin (Native American “Indian” language) Bible. These leaves are three-and-a-half centuries old. Many people are shocked to discover that the first Bible printed in America was not English as the other nations of the world had done. What a wonderful gift!

These Eliot Algonquin “Indian” Language Bible leaves remain one of the most rare and historically important artifacts of our American heritage. They are also among the earliest of all American printings, and the very first Bible printed in this hemisphere. Leaves from the Eliot Bible have sold for well over $3,000 each in recent months. We have fewer than a dozen leaves in stock. Each leaf comes with a beautiful Certificate of Authenticity. They measure approximately 7 to 8 inches tall by almost 6 inches wide, and they were printed on 100% rag cotton linen sheet, not wood-pulp paper like books today, so they remain in excellent condition… even after nearly 350 years. Each leaf is a unique piece of ancient artwork, carefully produced one-at-a-time, using a very rare early American movable-type press. Imagine… owning a leaf from the first Bible printed in the “New World”: The Eliot Bible.

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New Testament Research

Monday, July 30, 2018

 

The New Testament was completed in 1557, and the complete Bible was first published in 1560. It became known as the Geneva Bible. Due to a passage in Genesis describing the clothing that God fashioned for Adam and Eve upon expulsion from the Garden of Eden as “Breeches” (an antiquated form of “Britches”), some people referred to the Geneva Bible as the Breeches Bible.

King James | [Geneva Bible] | 1791 Collins Bible | Three-Leaf Sets

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The Geneva: Bible of the Pilgrims & Puritans

 

Another Sample Leaf

The Geneva Bible was the first Bible taken to America, brought over on the Mayflower… it is the Bible upon which early America and its government was founded (certainly not the King’s of England’s Bible!) The Geneva Bible was also the first English Bible to break the chapters of scripture into numbered verses, and it was the first true “Study Bible” offering extensive commentary notes in the margins. It was so accurate and popular, that a half-century later, when the King James Bible came out… it retained more than 90% of the exact wording of the Geneva Bible.
These leaves measure approximately 8 to 9 inches tall by 6 to 7 inches wide. They were printed on 100% rag cotton linen sheet, not wood-pulp paper like books today, so they remain in excellent condition… even after over 400 years. Each leaf is a unique piece of ancient artwork, carefully produced one-at-a-time using a movable-type press, and later bound together into whole Bibles. These genuine original antiquities are very rare and precious pieces of our history and our Christian heritage. We offer them for considerably less than the $1,000 each (!) that they sold for on “The 700 Club” TV Broadcasts in the late 1990’s. Imagine… having a favorite passage of scripture from one of the earliest printings of the Bible of the Pilgrims & Puritans: The Geneva Bible.

Reformation Leaders Robert Aitkin

 

 

Although the first Bible printed in America was done in the native Algonquin Indian Language by John Eliot in 1663

 

The first English language Bible to be printed in America by Robert Aitkin in 1782 was a King James Version. Robert Aitkin’s 1782 Bible was also the only Bible ever authorized by the United States Congress. He was commended by President George Washington for providing Americans with Bibles during the embargo of imported English goods due to the Revolutionary War. In 1808, Robert’s daughter, Jane Aitkin, would become the first woman to ever print a Bible… and to do so in America, of course. In 1791, Isaac Collins vastly improved upon the quality and size of the typesetting of American Bibles and produced the first “Family Bible” printed in America… also a King James Version. Also in 1791, Isaiah Thomas published the first Illustrated Bible printed in America…in the King James Version. For more information on the earliest Bibles printed in America from the 1600’s through the early 1800’s, you may wish to review our more detailed discussion of The Bibles of Colonial America.

 


 View enlargement in separate window The 1663 Eliot Bible

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Bible things in Bible ways

What is the Lord’s Day? Sunday, Sabbath or something else?

Many believe that the Lord’s Day is the day which is known by us as “Sunday”. But is this view accurate? Does it align with God’s Word? Can we see any proof in the New Testament writings to verify this notion? Let’s search the Bible for answers.

The phrase “Lord’s Day” is mentioned only once in our Bibles as written down in Revelations by John.

Rev 1:10  I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

Is Sunday “The Lord’s Day”?
Mainline Christianity believe that the current Sunday in our calendars, is the “Lord’s Day”. Reason being that the Resurrection happened on the 1st Day of the Week. And they presume the current Sunday is the “Sabbath” that was mentioned in the Ten Commandments. Most Protestants do not know that the Catholic Church admits that they are the ones who changed worship on the Sabbath Day to Sunday. The Biblical Sabbath is “Saturday” as per our calendars and there is textual proof as well as historical proof to back this up. There is not a single place in the Bible that tells believers that the Sabbath was replaced by Sunday – as a set apart day. Some may turn to Col 2:16 as a proof verse for such an understanding. But further study would bring down that argument as seen in the above link.

Then some would say, but didn’t Christ break the Sabbath? If He broke the Sabbath or any of God’s Commandments, He wouldn’t have been a sinless sacrifice as Sin is the Transgression of the Law(1Jn3:4). What Christ did break was the man-made laws which said “you can’t heal on the sabbath(Mar 3)”, “you can’t carry your bed on the sabbath(Joh 5)”, “you can’t pluck and rub ears of corn and eat on the sabbath(Luk6)”, etc. These were all man-made laws which were called “The Oral Law” or “Traditions of the Fathers/Elders“.

Sunday doesn’t seem to have enough evidence to clearly support it as “The Lord’s Day”. Christ did Resurrect on the 1st Day of the Week which is know as Sunday, but this was a significant day in God’s Calendar – which is called the Day of Firstfruits“. Calling every Sunday the Lord’s Day does not make sense; at least not according to the Bible.

My Holy Day
The only day which is called “My Holy Day”, according to Scripture is the Sabbath. It is a day which is intimately connected to God, but even this does not make a strong enough case for the Sabbath to be the “The Lord’s Day” mentioned in Revelations 1:10.

Isa 58:13  If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

Exo 20:10  But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

Lev 23:3  Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.

Deu 5:14  But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.

The Day of the LORD
Both the Old Testament Scriptures as well as the New Testament writings mention “A Great and Notable Day” known as “The Day of the Lord”. With many instances spanning the major and minor prophets to the words of Peter and Paul, this day refers to the end, when Yeshua(The true name of Jesus) our Lord, returns to judge the world.

Isa 34:8  For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.

Eze 30:3  For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.

Joe 2:31  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

Amo 5:18  Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.

Oba 1:15  For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.

Zep 1:14The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.

Zec 14:1  Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.

Mal 4:5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

Act 2:20  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

1Co 1:8  Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1Co 5:5  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1Th 5:2  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

2Pe 3:10  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Conclusion
“The Lord’s Day” which is mentioned only in Rev 1:10, is most likely referring to the “Day of the Lord” which is mentioned multiple times in the Bible. This was the title used for the End times by all the Prophets and even Peter & Paul. So it makes sense that John is also speaking of the same, as he says that he was “in the spirit” on “The Lord’s Day”. It is most likely that God took John out of his own time and made him travel through to the end times in the spirit. And from this point John starts to explain the revelation that he received of the End times. There is no evidence to substantiate that the Lord’s Day referred to Sunday as many presume, or even the Sabbath – even though God calls it “My Holy Day”. Let us all await “The Lord’s Day” with joy and reverence. Amen!

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Jesus’ 46 Parables in Chronological Order

Jesus’ 46 Parables in Chronological Order
Christian Bible Study ~ Introduction and 26 Lessons

The parables of Jesus embody much of his fundamental teaching. They are quite simple, memorable stories, often with humble imagery, each with a single message. Jesus, for example, likened the Kingdom of God to yeast (an image usually meant as corruption) or a mustard seed. Like his aphorisms, Jesus’ parables were often surprising and paradoxical. The parable of the good Samaritan, for example, turned expectations on their head with the despised Samaritan proving to be the wounded man’s neighbor. The parables were simple and memorable enough to survive in an oral tradition before being written down years after Jesus’ death.
Most Bible scholars say that Jesus parables appear only in the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). However, if we broaden our view a bit, it seems that Jesus’ three-part story about the sheep, gate, and shepherd in John 10 can also be considered a parable especially as it chronologically falls right after the related parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:12-14.
      The chronological order of the parables that I have used comes from the very excellent NIV Narrated Bible in Chronological Order (hardcover) and Daily Bible in Chronological Order (paperback) by Dr. F. LaGard Smith of Pepperdine University, published by Harvest House. There is another list of the parables in chronological order floating around on the web, but it lists only 35 parables and does not cite a source for the chronology.
collage of Jesus' parables      The chronology is quite a lesson by itself. You can see that the first group of parables focuses on the fact that there’s a new story being told, that it’s not to be hidden, and it serves as a foundation for what’s coming next. We then have the very important Parables #12 (sower and four types of soil) and #13 (weeds among good plants). This is followed by a group of “Kingdom of Heaven” parables (growing seed, yeast, valuable pearl, etc.). Now that the foundation has been built, Jesus gets into the behavior parables—how he would have you act as a Christian in different situations as a disciple, worker, or tenant. He then moves into using your talents well, remaining watchful, and finally into judgement. Basically it’s the progression of a Christian life. Unfortunately, it’s a progression we miss out on when we read the parables in the order they appear in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
If you plan to lead a group in studying Jesus’ parables, I strongly recommend you look over and allow yourself some time to delve into the leader’s notes from the first lesson (Parables Introduction) before you get going. Also, print out the entire list of parables and give everyone in your group a copy that they can refer to as your study progresses.
I’ve found with my groups that each lesson or discussion takes about 45 minutes to go through. I’ve also found that people can get passionately involved in these lessons and they can easily run much longer if the leader doesn’t keep things moving along.
The discussion questions are slightly different from traditional Bible studies in that they emphasize the application of the scripture to your life today. Unlike some of my other studies, there are Leader’s Guides for only about one-half of the lessons. Many of the questions are designed to be a springboard to further discussion and there is often no truly right or wrong answer. If you have questions or comments, please use the “Contact Me” button on the menu below. I guarantee that I will read your comments, however, as this web site gets more than 3,000 visitors per day, I can’t possibly answer every one.
In response to your requests, these studies are in Adobe PDF format, so they can easily be printed out. The first page provides the NIV scripture verses, the second is the discussion questions. Pages 3 and higher are notes for leaders. For the Bible studies that I lead, I print the scripture verses on one side of a sheet and the discussion questions on the other side. However, if saving paper is not a consideration, print them on two sheets so people can refer to both the verses and the questions without excessive flipping over. If you cannot read PDF files, click to download Adobe Reader.

      Some discussion questions are borrowed or adapted from the book New Testament Lesson Maker from NavPress (ISBN 0-89109-688-4). I highly recommend this book, which is available from CBD as well as most large Christian bookstores. The image above is a painting simply called Parables By James Christensen. James says, “I worked closely with my friend Robert Millet, Professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, in selecting these twelve and we feel that each conveys a special aspect of Jesus’ teachings.” Reproductions of the image are available from many web sites.

Dave Ahl — July 2018


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“The genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David”

Scripture: Matthew 1:1-17

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Ammin’adab, and Ammin’adab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Bo’az by Rahab, and Bo’az the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uri’ah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehobo’am, and Rehobo’am the father of Abi’jah, and Abi’jah the father of Asa, 8 and Asa the father of Jehosh’aphat, and Jehosh’aphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzzi’ah, 9 and Uzzi’ah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezeki’ah, 10 and Hezeki’ah the father of Manas’seh, and Manas’seh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josi’ah, 11 and Josi’ah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. 12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoni’ah was the father of She-al’ti-el, and She-al’ti-el the father of Zerub’babel, 13 and Zerub’babel the father of Abi’ud, and Abi’ud the father of Eli’akim, and Eli’akim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eli’ud, 15 and Eli’ud the father of Elea’zar, and Elea’zar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

Meditation:  How well do you know your spiritual heritage?  Genealogies are very important. They give us our roots and help us to understand our heritage. Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus traces his lineage from Abraham, the father of God’s chosen people, through the line of David, King of Israel. Jesus the Messiah is the direct descent of Abraham and David, and the rightful heir to David’s throne. God in his mercy fulfilled his promises to Abraham and to David that he would send a Savior and a King to rule over the house of Israel and to deliver them from their enemies. When Jacob blessed his sons he foretold that Judah would receive the promise of royalty which we see fulfilled in David (Gen. 49:10).  We can also see in this blessing a foreshadowing of God’s fulfillment in raising up his annointed King, Jesus the Messiah. Jesus is the fulfillment of all God’s promises. He is the hope not only for the people of the Old Covenant but for all nations as well. He is the Savior of the world. In him we receive adoption into a royal priesthood and holy nation as sons and daughters of the living God (see 1 Peter 1:9). Do you recognize your spiritual genealogy and do you accept God as your Father and Jesus as the sovereign King and Lord of your life?

“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Messiah and Savior of the world, the hope of Israel and the hope of the nations. Be the ruler of my heart and the king of my home. May there be nothing in my life that is not under your kingship.”

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Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ (between 8 and 4 BC-AD 29?), central figure of Christianity, born in Bethlehem in Judea. Christians traditionally regard Jesus as the incarnate Son of God, and as having been divinely conceived by Mary, the wife of Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth. See Christ; Messiah.
The principal sources of information concerning Jesus’ life are the Gospels, written in the latter half of the 1st century. The scantiness of additional material and the theological nature of biblical records caused some 19th-century biblical scholars to doubt his historical existence. Today, scholars generally agree that Jesus was a historical figure authenticated both by Christian writers and by several Roman and Jewish historians.
Beginning of His Public Ministry
Two of the Gospels, Saint Matthew and Saint Luke, provide information about Jesus’ birth and childhood (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38). No Gospel, however, mentions anything about Jesus from the time he was 12 years old until the time he began his public ministry, about 18 years later. See Matthew, Gospel According to; Luke, Gospel According to.
All three Synoptic Gospels (the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke) record Jesus’ public ministry as beginning after the imprisonment of John the Baptist, and as lasting about one year. Each mentions that Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River and then retired to the neighboring wilderness for 40 days, where the devil tried to tempt him. After this, he moved to Capernaum and began teaching. As his followers increased in number, Jesus selected disciples to work with him (see Apostle).
Growth of Jesus’ Following
Using Capernaum as a base, Jesus and his disciples traveled to neighboring towns. He promised pardon and eternal life in heaven to the most hardened sinners, provided their repentance was sincere. This emphasis incurred the enmity of the Pharisees, who feared that his teachings might lead to disregard for the authority of the Torah. Despite this opposition, Jesus’ popularity increased.
The most significant moment in Jesus’ public ministry was the realization that Jesus was the Christ (Matthew 16:16; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20). This revelation, and the subsequent prediction by Jesus of his death and resurrection, the conditions of discipleship, and his transfiguration are the primary authority for the claims and historical work of the Christian church.
The Last Days
On the Sunday before Passover, Jesus entered Jerusalem. There, he drove from the Temple the traders and moneychangers who, by long-established custom, had been allowed to transact business in the outer court (Mark 11:15-19), and he disputed with the priests, scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees questions about his authority, tribute to Caesar, and the resurrection.
The priests and scribes, concerned that Jesus’ activities would turn the Romans against them and the Jewish people (John 11:48), conspired with Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ disciples, to arrest and kill Jesus (Luke 22:2). On Thursday, during Passover supper eaten with his disciples, he referred to his imminent betrayal and death as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity. In blessing the unleavened bread and wine during the Passover services, he called the bread his body and the wine his blood (Matthew 26:27) (see Eucharist).
After the meal they went to the Mount of Olives, where, according to Matthew (26:30-32) and Mark (14:26-28), Jesus predicted his resurrection. Knowing then that his death was near, Jesus retired to the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44) and was arrested there.
Trial and Crucifixion
The synoptists report that Jesus was taken to a meeting of the supreme council of the Jews, the Sanhedrin, and was condemned to death for blasphemy (Mark 14:62). Only the Roman procurator, however, could impose capital punishment, and so, Jesus was taken before Pontius Pilate for sentencing. Pilate ultimately left the decision to the people, and when they insisted on Jesus’ death, Pilate ordered him executed (Matthew 27:24). Jesus was executed by crucifixion, and late in the day, his body was taken down and laid in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea.
The Resurrection
Early on the following Sunday, his disciples found the tomb empty (Mark 16:1). Later the same day, according to Luke, John, and Mark, Jesus appeared at various locations in and near Jerusalem. All the Gospels add that, for a brief time after his resurrection, Jesus instructed his disciples. Finally, according to Luke (24:50-51), Jesus ascended to heaven. Acts 1:2-12 reports that this ascension occurred 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection.

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Christianity

Christianity

Christianity

In the Roman Empire polytheism was practiced, and religions indigenous to particular Middle Eastern nations became international in the first 3 centuries of the Roman Empire. Roman citizens worshiped Isis of Egypt, Mithras of Persia, Demeter of Greece, and the great mother Cybele of Phrygia. Their cults centered on mysteries (secret ceremonies) and the promise of an afterlife, symbolized by the death and rebirth of the god. The Jews living in the empire preserved their monotheistic religion- Judaism, the world’s oldest (c 1200 bc) continuous religion. Its teachings are contained in the Bible (the Old Testament). First-century Judaism embraced several sects, including the Sadducees, mostly drawn from the Temple priesthood, who were culturally Hellenized; the Pharisees, who upheld the full range of traditional customs and practices as of equal weight to literal scriptural law and elaborated synagogue worship; and the Essenes, an ascetic, millennarian sect. Messianic fervor led to repeated, unsuccessful rebellions against Rome (66-70, 135). As a result, the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and the population decimated; this event marked the beginning of the Diaspora (living in exile).
To avoid the dissolution of the faith, a program of codification of law was begun at the academy of Yavneh. The work continued for some 500 years in Palestine and in Babylonia, ending in the final redaction (c 600) of the Talmud, a huge collection of legal and moral debates, rulings, liturgy, biblical exegesis, and legendary materials.
Christianity, which emerged as a distinct sect in the second half of the 1st cent. ad, is based on the teachings of Jesus, whom believers considered the Savior (Messiah or Christ) and the son of God. The missionary activities of the Apostles and such early leaders as Paul of Tarsus spread the faith. Intermittent persecution, as in Rome under Nero in 64 ad, on grounds of suspected disloyalty, failed to disrupt the Christian communities. Each congregation, generally urban and of plebeian character, was tightly organized under a leader (bishop), elders (presbyters or priests), and assistants (deacons). The four Gospels (accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus) and the Acts of the Apostles were written down in the late 1st and early 2d centuries and circulated along with letters of Paul and other Christian leaders. An authoritative canon of these writings was not fixed until the 4th century.
A school for priests was established at Alexandria in the 2d century. Its teachers (Origen c 182-251) helped define Christian doctrine and promote the faith in Greek-style philosophical works. Pagan Neoplatonism was given Christian coloration in the works of Church Fathers such as Augustine (354-430). Christian hermits, often drawn from the lower classes, began to associate in monasteries, first in Egypt (St. Pachomius c 290-345), then in other E lands, then in the W (St. Benedict’s rule, 529). Popular devotion to saints, especially Mary, mother of Jesus, spread.
Under Constantine (r 306-37), Christianity became in effect the established religion of the Empire. Pagan temples were expropriated, state funds were used to build huge churches and support the hierarchy, and laws were adjusted in accordance with Christian ideas. Pagan worship was banned by the end of the 4th century, and severe restrictions were placed on Judaism.
The newly established church was rocked by doctrinal disputes, often exacerbated by regional rivalries both within and outside the Empire. Chief heresies (as defined by church councils backed by imperial authority) were Arianism, which denied the divinity of Jesus; the Monophysite position denying the dual nature of Christ; Donatism, which denied the validity of sacraments performed by sinful clergy; and Pelagianism, which denied the necessity of unmerited grace for salvation.

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