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By that, I mean the first century CE and the first two decades of the second century. Records of other doctrines were either suppressed, or misrepresented, in intervening centuries.
Thus, learning about the actual start of Christianity, from those who actually lived when it was born, is impossible — such records have not survived.
The only historical documentation we have, then, are the New Testament, and the writings of the various Church Fathers. This is unfortunate, for Christianity went on to become a major force in world history, and it remains one, even today.
Knowing the process of its origin would be invaluable, if we had direct evidence of it. The New Testament The New Testament represents only a small selection of the documents from the first few centuries of Christianity.
They have been edited and revised since then, having arrived at more or less their final forms around 1, CE. Of course, recent discoveries have provided corrections to these. One of the things which complicates study, are the many revisions.
Some documents which appear to have been written rather early, contain portions which appear to have been written later. The New Testament has three parts: Most of them do not have a known author; the gospels, for example, are said to have been written by the apostles Matthew and John and the early Christian leaders Mark and Luke who also wrote Acts ; but this has turned out almost certainly not to be the case, as they were written between 70 and CE.
Furthermore, they have features which belie their dating, such as the episode in Mark, where Jesus eulogizes the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem; the Romans razed it in 70 CE. Also, while the Church Father Irenaeus claimed that Matthew was written first of all the gospels — hence it comes first in the New Testament — scholars have determined that Mark must have preceded Matthew and Luke, and in fact, Mark was used as a source by the authors of the latter two gospels.
John was a much later gospel, and was written well after the other three. No, the oldest documents in the New Testament are actually some of the epistles by Paul, specifically, the ones he wrote to the churches Galatians, etc. They were assigned to Paul, later on, for reasons we can only guess at.
Furthermore, even Romans and the two Corinthians epistles have some apparent interpolations. Revelation is an enigmatic document, over which a lot of ink has been spilled, through the years.
But, it was included anyway, and scholars are left to wrestle with it.
The Synoptic Gospels The first three gospels have many points in common, even if some of the events are rearranged or presented in a different way. Thus, they are known as the synoptic, or similar, gospels. In the nineteenth century, linguistic scholars began examining the three gospels closely, to discover the reason why they matched each other.
They determined the properties of Q, and with those in hand, looked to the other writings of the Church Fathers to see if Q had inspired other documents, or if Q had been incorporated into one.
They came up dry. There was nothing like what they had determined Q should be: Scholars began to wonder if they were right, and went back to the drawing board. Further study showed that Mark had to have been a source for both Matthew and Luke. Furthermore, even Mark had made use of some of it.
Their version of Q, which had to have existed in order for the synoptic gospels to have arrived in their final forms, was incredibly different from any other early Christian writing. It was written not by people looking for a messiah or a Christ, but by people who either lived, or who appreciated, a classical Cynical lifestyle.
Classical Cynics were generally itinerant philosophers who poked fun at social norms and cultural traditions.
They were sometimes sought out as advisors, since they tended to be fairly well-educated, but they could be irascible and difficult. Apparently the people who wrote Q, liked this lifestyle.
SECTION 13 Early Christianity and the Church. Early Christianity and History "If you have all this evidence and proof positive that God exists, you don't need faith. Yet even the fifty-two writings discovered at Nag Hammadi offer only a glimpse of the complexity of the early Christian movement. Rephrasing the history of the early Dutch Christian worker movement along the lines of these three moral debates, it becomes clear that conflict is a driving force and an inescapable ingredient of civil society. Persecution in the Early Church: Did You Know? Today in Christian History (Daily) A daily newsletter featuring the most important and significant events on each day in .
Perhaps some were itinerant Cynics themselves. Dynamics of Christian Origins The determination that a Cynical community of some kind most likely in Galilee had contributed to the origins of Christianity, threw a wrench in the works.
There was little Cynical about Christianity, as far as anyone knew. So, how did these people fit in?
Scholars could only conclude that the creation of Christianity was far more complex than they had thought. Different movements, apparently, welded themselves together.
This is not the picture pained by the New Testament or by Christian tradition, however. Further investigation revealed a number of distinct movements, during the early first century, which may have contributed to the growth of Christianity. Another was a movement based in Syria, which centered on tales of miracles and may also have been a more or less mystical movement.Woman's Suffrage History Timeline.
first coeducational college in the United States. In , Oberlin awards the first academic degrees to three women. Early graduates include Lucy sign a "Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions" that outlines the main issues and goals for the emerging women's movement. Thereafter, women's rights.
The strength of this literary tradition makes it possible to suggest that historically Mary was a prophetic visionary and leader within one sector . Early Christians expected suffering. Christ had died on the cross, so there was no higher honor than to imitate that death through accepting martyrdom (witness by one’s blood).
Thus, members of the Early Christian movement often became political targets and scapegoats for the social ills and political tensions of specific rulers and turbulent periods during the first three centuries, CE; however, this persecution was sporadic and rarely Empire-wide, but it was devastating, nonetheless.
The Diversity of Early Christianity From the beginning, early Christians struggled to define for themselves the identity of Jesus and the meaning of his message. Woman's Suffrage History Timeline. first coeducational college in the United States. In , Oberlin awards the first academic degrees to three women.
Early graduates include Lucy sign a "Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions" that outlines the main issues and goals for the emerging women's movement.
Thereafter, women's rights.