The Dawning: Christianity in the Roman Empire

Jesus from the Deesis Mosaic

Image by jakebouma via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

Day of Discovery

Take a closer look at the struggles faced by early Christians and their driving force to endure, as Dr. Joseph Stowell, President of Cornerstone University, takes you on an amazing journey to modern-day Rome. You’ll also visit Pompeii, Herculaneum, Ephesus, and other significant locations that reveal the formation of the Christian faith in the Roman Empire from a social, economic, and political perspective.

Part I: The Dawning: Christianity in the Roman Empire

Part II: The Dawning: Christianity in the Roman Empire

Part III: The Dawning: Christianity in the Roman Empire

Part IV: The Dawning: Christianity in the Roman Empire

Part V: The Dawning: Christianity in the Roman Empire

from the archives:

What Jesus Said About Resurrection

St. Peter (2005)

N. T. Wright: Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead? (2007)

The Jewish Foundation of Christianity

Dr. Michael Rydelnik: My Search for Messiah

Jesus: Man, Messiah, or More?

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22 thoughts on “The Dawning: Christianity in the Roman Empire

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  11. As a nonbeliever watching part 1 and 2, I and found the choked-up narration a bit over the top. It relies uncritically on the bible as fact. My question about the gospels is – if what happened in Jerusalem was so important/amazing/all-important, why did the believers wait 20-50-100 years to write it down?! How much mythical narrative was added in the intervening years? I believe those mythical elements were critical to the spread of the faith, but it is precisely those mythical elements that cause me to disbelieve.

    • Thanks for watching some of the videos, Electra.

      Your questions are a bit off topic for this particular post. This is about the resistance against the Empire by the early Christians/followers of Jesus who believed so strongly that they were willing to die for their beliefs. There is historical evidence of this fact from other sources than the Bible.

      There are countless books written to address your questions.

      Here’s a video about the historical Jesus:
      https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/the-evidence-for-the-existence-of-jesus/

      • True, I was a bit off-topic. The videos did show how a group of down-trodden people with a unifying philosophy took on the big empire of the day. I think that is the take-away message here. Many Christians of today now support the violent acts of the government. Where will the resistance come from this time?

        • Actually the majority of the people want the wars to end (for different reasons) so I would assume that many of those people are Christians of one sort or another. All of us need to resist, Christian and non-Christian alike. Hedges points out how the liberal churches have really not been active in this regard in his book, The Death of the Liberal Class.

          See articles and video posts by Hedges: http://en.wordpress.com/tag/death-of-the-liberal-class-on-dandelion-salad/

          Unfortunately, the religious right gets much more media attention than those from the liberal/progressive churches. Not all Christians are for accepting violence of the Empire. Those voices need to be heard, hence this post.

    • Oral tradition of the Hebrews was the strongest in the Mesopotamian cultures. the oral way was as good as writing . Historian Micheal Grant points this out.

      what bothers alot of people about mythos is that we were all raised in a post Enlightenment society that thinks that mythology is inferior to deductive reasoning . when in reality it is the key to understanding the human psyche as Jung points out .

      our ”reducto ad absurdum”( reducing everything to matter and utility ) needs a ”credo ad absurdum ” as a corrective measure .

      the early Christians had the Credo that lifted the mountains off of the shoulders that oppressed them and others because its message was inner change despite Empire rule . that is why it is relevant today .

  12. I find that most who profess the loudest with their mouths about their religious beliefs, are in fact the ones who are the least sure about their beliefs.
    This man believes in the literal interpretation of the Bible, whereas I do not. I call myself a “Christian” because I believe Jesus was a rebel, a tax protester speaking truth to power, and a man who totally knew that peace is so very possible if the world pays enough attention to the correct teachers, and if the truth about every issue is allowed to surface. So, here on Dandelion Salad is a teacher who I believe is absolutely an incorrect teacher. Why do any of us need to take the Bible literally ? Jesus certainly did not teach that way. Jesus taught against the Jewish tradition of blood sacrifice, and that was exactly what the Roman church held Him up to be. Teaching like this does little to bring this world closer, it does little to encourage multicultural understanding; it teaches the all or nothing doctrine. You either believe every single word of the Bible, or you condemn it as a totally false document. My response to anyone who wants to take the Bible literally is this; the Greeks had ten different words for time. Good luck taking the Bible literally. I find this simplistic and intellectually limiting approach to understanding the Bible quite a contradiction to present day efforts to discover the truth about the affairs of this world , and quite a poor reflection on the editors of Dandelion Salad. I’m almost 60 years old,, I go to these pages to increase my awareness of this world, not to be preached to by what I consider as false teachers who do little to improve the understanding that this world needs so very much. Disappointing really. I say save your preaching for your own religious meetings and your individual prayers, and do not try to mix news and opinion pieces with religious essays. Peace.

    • Shea, if you are not interested in this video series then don’t watch it. Why no complaints when Dandelion Salad posts recipes, music videos, gardening or other issues and topics not exactly “news” items?

      Interesting that Chris Hedges just spoke about Christians that need to speak out against the Empire.

      https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/chris-hedges-war-gives-meaning/

      Guess you would have told Martin Luther King, Jr. to shut up about the war in Vietnam?

      Who would Jesus bomb?

      Btw, there is one editor at Dandelion Salad and that’s me.

      • Does teaching the absolute literal truth of one religion as opposed to all the wisdom of the other religions of the world do anything to bring this world closer? I think everyone should speak out against empire. Jesus would of course bomb no one. I am just saying that finding fundamentalist proselytizing here seems rather odd. I consider myself a person of faith, I attend Quaker meetings, and I do not consider myself a literal fundamentalist. I think that is a rather poor way to study and understand the Bible. I would consider it a type of “white magic” approach. I like the gardening tips. Why would you suggest that I would have asked MLK to be quiet about Vietnam ? I’m for anyone speaking out against war, injustices, and coverups. And, I’m quite a fan of Mr. Jesus, I just don’t like inferior teachers to profess their “superior” knowledge of Him . I hope this message does not sound grumpy. I have the same distaste for the people who misteach the Koran and try to teach young Muslims that Jihad should be interpreted as violence against anyone. I enjoy and appreciate your efforts to bring so many fine articles to your pages. Thanks. Peace. Shea.

        • How do you know this man is a Fundamentalist? I didn’t get that impression from watching these videos. Did you get to Part 4 or 5?

          I’m not a Fundamentalist, so not sure what you are speaking of.

          Christianity is its pure essence is one of inclusiveness, not exclusiveness. No one is left out. All are welcome, regardless of social stature, gender, race, etc.

        • I know he is a fundamentalist because I researched to see who he was and what he taught. He is about as fundamentalist as a person can be ! Okay,, so now I’ll watch the video,, I have some time !! So little time, so many misunderstandings !! :-)=== ( that is a smile with a beard !)

        • Haha, that’s funny, Shea.

          Hope you researched the man in this video as there is another man with the same name (don’t know if they are related or not). Let us know with a link or two, please.

          Does it matter what particular branch of Christianity he is a member of? The point is the early church followers of Jesus used non-violence to resist the Roman Empire, and we can learn from them.

        • you know Shea the problem with so called Fundamentalists is that they are not Fundamental enough . do they really believe it when Christ said ”love your enemies” ? no. the fundies would rather bomb them. do they really believe it when when Christ says to ”pick up your cross and follow me ”. ? nope . i dont see much of that around .

          and are they really willing to proclaim Christ at the cost of their own lives? dont think so.

          you may disagree with a christian who takes Christ at his word and does these things, but you have to admit that it is rare and it is consistent .

          and believe it or not there really are people on the planet that are living it NOW. they just dont get the radio airplay so to speak .

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