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The transformation of Christianity from a persecuted sect to the state religion of the Roman Empire. Essay should discuss the reasons for the persecutions, the reasons for the appeal and spread of Christianity, the key persons and events of the 4th-century (e.g. Battle of Milvian Bridge, edicts of Constantine, Theodosius), and how becoming the state religion changed the position of Christianity in relation to pagans, Jews, and non-orthodox Christians in the late Roman Empire.
open by explaing for first 300 years, christiany was illegal, persecuted. spiratic, localized.
Essay should discuss the reasons for the persecutions, both Unofficial
- Unofficial Reasons
- Christians were scapegoats. Tassitis is your source. He didn't like Christians and thought they deserved punishment but that they were just scapegoats for Nero because what he was doing wasn't for the greater good of the nation.
- Small background on how Rome burned and rumors that Nero started it.
- Nero blamed Christians and persecuted them very badly. first official persecution of Christians.
- Also quote tertillian: when things go bad like flood, earthquates, tornados, etc, people blame christians
- Christians wouldn't sacrifice to Roman and pagan gods. from Roman perspective, sacrificing to deified roman emperors was the way you showed you were a good law abiding citizen.
- romans ok with most religions unless it threatened the state. felt christians a threat because they worshiped in secret. very suspicious. rumors that they were incestual (call each other bros and sis and talk about love) and cannabalistic (lord's supper)
the reasons for the appeal and spread of Christianity
- Appealed to the sick, slaves, marginalized, opressed people
- it was unique. monotheistic, incarnational. centered around a real person who had dwelt among them recently, not some distant far away god.
- language paralleld that of the empirical cult. Emperors were called Lords and Gods, idea of emperor ascending into heaven. offered an alternative that was total opposite to empirical theology but still familiar
- cult of mithras. birth of the leader on dec. 25th, Sun god, and Son of God, baptism, secret rituals, blood symbolism, communal meal.
the key persons and events of the 4th-century
- at beginning of 4th century christians were persecuted, but by the end it is the only tolerated religion in rome.
- Constantine and his vision: Christianity gives him victory and something to bring the roman empire together again. He issues the Edict of Milan, granting toleration to ALL religion including Christianity and ending the persecution. all emperors after him are Christian.
- Theodocius: makes ORTHODOX christianity the official state religion of Rome
and how becoming the state religion changed the position of Christianity in relation to pagans, Jews, and non-orthodox Christians in the late Roman Empire
Theodocious banned paganism and makes orthodox christianity the only tolerated religion in Rome. now instead of christians being persecuted, Jews, pagans, and non-orthodox Christians are the target of persecutions.