The Roots Of Judaism And Christianity Essay — страница 7

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by the conviction that he had risen from the dead and that they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, formed the first Christian community in Jerusalem. By the middle of the 1st century, missionaries were spreading the new religion among the peoples of Egypt, Syria, Anatolia, Greece, and Italy. Chief among these was Saint Paul, who laid the foundations of Christian theology and played a key role in the transformation of Christianity from a Jewish sect to a world religion. The original Christians, being Jews, observed the dietary and ritualistic laws of the Torah and required non-Jewish converts to do the same. Paul and others favored eliminating obligation, thus making Christianity more attractive to Gentiles. The separation from Judaism was completed by the destruction

of the church of Jerusalem by the Romans during the Jewish Revolt of AD 66-70. After that Christianity took on a predominantly Gentile character and began to develop in a number of different forms. At first the Christian community looked forward to the imminent return of Christ in glory and the establishment of the Kingdom. This hope carried on in the 2d century by Montanism, an ascetic movement emphasizing the action of the Holy Spirit. Gnosticism, which rose to prominence about the same time, also stressed the Spirit, but it disparaged the Old Testament and interpreted the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus in a spiritual sense. The main body of the church condemned these movements as heretical and, when the Second Coming failed to occur, organized itself as a permanent

institution under the leadership of its bishops. Because of their refusal to recognize the divinity of the Roman emperor or pay homage to any god except their own, the Christians were subjected to a number of persecutions by the Roman authorities. The most savage of these were the one under Emperor Decius (249-51) and that instigated by Diocletian (303-13). Many Christians welcomed martyrdom as an opportunity to share in the sufferings of Christ, and Christianity continued to grow despite all attempts to suppress it. Out of the experience of persecution a controversy grew over whether those who had denied their faith under press