The Early Church and Constantine

Ideas

Logos

100 AD - 150 AD

Greek philosophical idea of an intellectual order governing the universe
-the gospel of John uses the term "logos" to identify Jesus, the Greeks knew what logos was, so they could better understand monotheism
-relating to Greek culture because Greeks don't know the Jewish scriptures
-Justin Martyr claims Plato was inspired by logos, "the word"

Gnosticism

100 AD - 200 AD

Religious movement combining selected Christian teachings with a Greek worldview
-physical world is evil (platonic thought)
-spirits IMPRISONED in the bodies
-Christ and Jesus were separate
-helpful to establish canon and orthodoxy

Arianism

250 AD - 336 AD

Theological teaching of Arius
-"there was when he was not"
-Christ was created, not eternal, and therefore inferior to the Father
-rejected at the council of Nicea
-Arius condemned as heretic and banished with followers

People

Paul the Apostle

5 AD - 67 AD
  • "second founder of Christianity" -Jewish Roman citizen highly influenced by Hellenistic culture -preached to Jews and Gentiles -responsible for founding Christian communities throughout Asia Minor and along the shores of the Aegean. -provided a universal foundation for the spread of Jesus' ideas.

Marcion

85 AD - 160 AD

condemned Heretic in the early church
-rejected the Old Testament God
-drafted a canon of scripture excluding all Old Testament and Jewish writings, even in the New Testament
-helpful in that it forced Christians to clarify canon (true scripture) and orthodoxy (right belief)

Helena

250 AD - 330 AD

Constantine's mother
-appointed "Augusta", given access to treasuries
-searched for relics (things holy people owned or touched)
-finding relics became a major practice of piety in medieval times

Constantine

306 AD - 337 AD

First Christian emperor
-restored order and stability within Roman Empire
-issued Edict of Milan, legalizing Christianity
-built Constantinople
-Christianity flourished under his reign
-called Council of Nicea to settle debate about the nature of Christ

Events

Pax Romana

27 BC - 180 AD

"Roman Peace"
-not great, but not unstable
-safe travel and commerce
-common language
-these elements made this time period the ideal environment for establishing Christianity.

Sermon on the Mount

30 AD

-sermon delivered by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew
-presented the ethical concepts of humility, charity, and brotherly love
-formed the basis for the value system of medieval Western civilization (different from Greco-Roman values)

Edict of Milan

313 AD

Issued by Constantine, legalized Christianity
-does not eliminate other religions
-stopped persecution
-Constantine favored Christians
-suddenly many people wished to join the church

Council Of Nicea

325 AD

Christian leaders get together and address disputes about the nature of Christ
-rejected Arianism, which says Christ is created, not eternal
-Arius and followers banished
-wrote the Nicene Creed