Discover how Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire!
Jesus to Constantine – Part 2
A Continuation of a History of Early Christianity
All are welcome to this follow-on series of lectures by Professor Bart D. Ehrman, PhD.
In this class, we will discover and discuss the second and third centuries of Christian history.
Together, we will examine early Christian reactions to persecutions, the apologists and new communities as this religion evolves into its second century of existence. We will then learn more about the Apocrypha and Sacred writings as certain of these books became an official part of the church Canon. We will then learn more about how the early church offices, liturgy and theology developed. In our final meeting, we shall find out how the doctrine of The Trinity came about and how that helped Christianity become the religion of The Roman Empire.
This course is facilitated by John M. Kohlenberger in the Fall II (November-December 2012) time frame within the OLLI Program at Yavapai College in Prescott Arizona.
Who wrote the Bible ... REALLY? You'll find out in this class.
PART 1: IN THIS SERIES OF LECTURES
Professor Bart D. Ehrman, PhD, explores some of the myths and facts of Christianity, so that we may understand how this history has become the basis of our legends, philosophies and politics in our Western world of today.
How did Christianity become the most significant religion in the Western world?
How did it have a stunning impact from such a humble beginning?
How did Christianity relate to the Pagans of the known world?
The beginnings of Christianity
Christianity and its Jewish roots
How did Christianity relate to the Roman Empire?
Internal developments within the movements of Christianity
The first 300 years of Christianity, seen as a success
QUESTION: Was Jesus really an Apocalyptic Teacher?
The word Apocalypse comes from Greek: apokálypsis; "lifting of the veil", revealing "revelation"
The word apocalypse can also refer to any End Time scenario, or to the end of the world in general. Thus, an Apocalyptic belief system can be employed in any time or place that you feel uneasy about, generally Times of Change. (Many believe 2012 to be such a time.) So, the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus as a Christ, is often referred to as The Apocalypse ... a time of Change to bring about New Revelations, new understandings, a new order of events and possibly a new calendar.
Some Points for Duscussion
What veil was Jesus lifting? Was it the veils of Judaism, to bring a new revelation, good news or "Gospel"?
Was it the perception of a separation between God and Man and the resulting "veil" between humanity and spirit?
Did Jesus come to fulfill the Jewish Law and Prophesies, or did He come to change or replace the worn out Dogmas of the old Jewish Law? Did he come to give this Old Time Religion New Life?
Why did He heal on the Sabbath – which was against Jewish Law?
Why did Jesus tell of a loving, merciful God, as opposed to the commonly held view of the old vengeful God of the Jews, that much of the Western Christian world holds today?
Is “The Way” simply to “Love God-Goddess and your neighbor as yourself” and thus “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” or is "getting to heaven" more than that, and we must follow the over 600 Jewish laws, instead?
Can those of other religions "get into heaven"?
What about Atheists?
Would not a God of Love welcome all back into the fold, to His, Her, Its "arms" or Their loving presence, i.e. if anybody could ever actually be separate from the presence of All-That-Is, or Creator?
Let's begin with dictionary definitions: What is a "Revelation"?
any of a class of Jewish or Christian writings that appeared from about 200 B.C. to A.D. 350 (C.E.) that were assumed to reveal the ultimate divine purpose.
a prophetic claim, especially concerning a cataclysm in which the forces of good permanently triumph over the forces of evil.
any universal or widespread destruction or disaster, like "the apocalypse of nuclear war".
NOTE: A recent Fox News article (at http://www.endtime.com/apocalypse/) proposes several scenarios for a type of 2012 End of the World final conflagration. According to the article, “Welcome to the Apocalypse,” the end of the world will be painful, ugly and bleak for those on Earth in most of the depictions. For example, one scientist speculates “that the seas could turn to sulfur and decrease the overall levels of oxygen, poisoning us all.” - Do you believe this?
Is this what an Anointed One or Jewish Messiah ("Christ", in Greek) would bring to humanity?
Is this what Jesus or Son of Man or Teacher of Righteousness and love would teach?
Rev. John says: The man, Jesus and the angels at his birth, brought a message of love; that loving everybody and everything would bring peace to every heart and thus joy to the world and peace on earth.
"Those who confess a dead man cling to death, not to immortal life."
... this is from one of the lost "Apocryphal" books of early Christianity
that Rev. John is leading classes on, at Prescott College OLLI.
COMING IN 2013 @ Prescott OLLI
Lost Christianities: Christian Scriptures and the Battles over Authentication
In the first centuries after Christ, there was no "official" New Testament. Instead, early Christians read and fervently followed a wide variety of Scriptures—many more than today. Some believed that there were two, 12, or as many as 30 gods. Some thought that a malicious deity, rather than the loving God, created the world. Some maintained that Christ's death and resurrection had nothing to do with salvation while others insisted that Christ never really died at all.
What did these "other" Scriptures say? Do they exist today? How could such outlandish ideas ever be considered Christian? If such beliefs were once common, why do they no longer exist? In this two part class, we will explore the lost books and beliefs of early Christianity, with the help of Prof. Bart D. Ehrman and see what we might be missing.
Prof. Bart D. Ehrman's video presentation is based on his book: "Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
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