The First Christians Essay Assignment
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- Watch the PBS series: “From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians.” There are four programs, but these are viewed in two parts. Part one will be complete here, and part two in the next reflection forum.
- Watch Video for Part One link
- Your initial post will have two parts, one for each program. For the first program, post (1) two things you learned that you didn’t know before. Explain why these two things are interesting to you. (2) Who killed Jesus? and What difference does it make who really killed Jesus?
- For the second program, post (1) two things you learned that you didn’t know before. Explain why these two things are interesting to you. (2) What conditions allowed Christianity to grow as quickly as it did?
- Make sure to provide supporting arguments for your positions.
- Minimum initial post of 300 words.
- Below is Program information. Each Part of the Documentary has two programs (four programs in total).
- Program 1examines how Judaism and Roman rule, Pax Romana or “Roman peace,” shaped Jesus’ life. Jesus was most likely arrested and executed by Roman authorities whose principal concern was to keep the peace. The Romans had little tolerance for those it judged disruptive of the Pax Romana, punishing them in many ways, including crucifixion.
- Program 2explores the period after the crucifixion of Jesus and traces the beginnings of the Jesus Movement, in those early years before it was called Christianity. It began as a sect within Judaism. Along the way, the early Christians began to branch out and to spread their message to non-Jews or gentiles (meaning “nations”). Around 50 CE, the Apostle Paul travelled away from the traditional centers of the Jesus Movement and began to found new churches in Greek cities. His letters to these fledgling congregations mark the first writings of the New Testament. Meanwhile, expectations about the coming of the Kingdom of God would culminate in a catastrophic Jewish revolt against Rome from 66–70 CE, ending in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple-the center of Jewish spiritual life. The traumatic failure of this revolt would dramatically affect the future for Jews and Christians.