The Beginnings of the Christian Tradition


Jesus of Nazareth: ca. 4 BCE--30 CE; apocalyptic/apocalypse


Christianity in the First Century


§         The Acts of the Apostles: Jews & Gentiles in the Christian Church

§         Paul: The Letters of Paul vs. the Paul of Acts

1.        The Apostolic Council of Jerusalem (ca. 48)

2.        Paul’s Observance of the Law

3.        Paul’s Teaching on “Pagan” Religions

§         The Churches of the Pauline Mission: The Church at Corinth



Development of the Institutional Church


§         Leadership by Itinerant Prophets: Sayings, Paul (ca. 50-70)

§         The Changing Perspectives of the Settled Communities: The Synoptic Gospels (ca. 70-90)

§         Transfer from Itinerant to Local Leadership: 3 John & The Didache (ca. 90-100)

§         The Emergence of the Bishop: 1 Clement (95) & Ignatius of Antioch (98-117)

§         Apostolic Succession

§         Bishops, Presbyters (Elders), & Deacons

§         The Monarchical Episcopate



Conflict between Christianity and the Empire: Persecution


§         Judaism and the Empire

§         Nero’s Persecution (64-68): Rome

§         The Roman Imperial Cult

§         Non-Confrontation: Correspondence of Pliny & Trajan (ca. 111); Minucius Fundanus & Hadrian (ca. 124)

§         The End of the “Pax Romana”: Sporadic, Local Persecutions (ca. 170-200)



The Christian Response: The Apologists


§         Defending Christianity against Criticism

§         Justin Martyr (100-165): 1st Apology (155); 2nd Apology (155-60)

§         Defense of Christianity: Christians=Good, Moral Citizens; Christianity=Ancient

§         Description of Worship

§         Theology of the Logos (“The Word”)