Roman Influence on the Birth of Christianity
Why is there an alternative history regarding the origins of Christianity? Investigate the historical background by navigating through the topics at the left and download a free journal paper. Each topic provides information on how ancient Rome manipulated religious forces in Judea and softened Jewish resistance, resulting in the birth of Christianity. Historical aspects, rather than traditional theological views are presented in the topics and summarized below.
- The birth of Christianity coincided with the Roman occupation of Judea, amidst the impassioned conflict between the Roman and Jewish cultures.
- The early Christian writings described Jewish obedience towards paying taxes to Rome and acceptance, beyond tolerance, of tax collectors - probably the top priority for local Roman rule of its provinces.
- The early Christian writings described submissiveness to oppression; turn the other cheek, love your enemies, blessed are the meek, the peacemakers - which were all well in line with obedience towards Roman rule and rejection of Jewish resistance.
- Christian teachings were significantly different from Judean culture, even critical of Judean Law and religious authority.
- Early Christian writings used the term Gospel in nearly identical fashion to Roman use prior to Christianity.
- The concept of deity in human form and being the son of a god, conceived from a virgin birth, existed in Roman culture prior to Christianity, and was the likely source for the design of the Christian basis (or Jewish undermining).
- Many of the documented miracles (such as feeding 5,000 people in a remote area) would have required the logistics of an organization with significant funding and planning (i.e., the Roman Empire).
- Is it biased/shortsighted to ignore centuries of established Jewish culture, or the oppression the Jews endured during Roman occupation, or the radically different nature of Jesus' teachings to a culture that had been engrained to reject outside influence and/or alterations to their religious beliefs?
- Jesus was very critical of Jewish religious authority and those who maintained and taught the books of the Jewish religion. His criticism was well in line with Roman goals to undermine Jewish resistance to their rule.
- The Jewish people and a Jewish court condemned Jesus to death, not Roman authority.
- Jesus is never documented as being critical of Roman authority.
- In the Gospels, Roman authority is never documented as being critical of Jesus.
- The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, argued profusely in defense of what was supposedly a Jewish peasant (Jesus) in an open public forum in front of an angry Jewish mob.
- Jesus survived (i.e. appeared live afterward) a Roman "execution," which strongly suggests Roman involvement.
- Jesus spent relatively little time on the cross (6 hours) in contrast to typical crucifixion victims who spent many agonizing days before death.
- The written accounts of the crucifixion mention nothing about nails being used.
- In the earliest Christian writings (the first three Gospels) no form of physical violence occurred to Jesus while he was on the cross. Much later writings (the Gospel of John) described physical violence (illogical violence) not recorded in the earlier writings.
- Roman soldiers stood guard at Jesus' tomb.
- One of the only written accounts of Jesus being referred to as the Son of God comes from a Roman centurion.
- Jesus referred to a centurion as having the greatest faith in all of Israel.
- Why did Christian philosophy spread so quickly to Rome? Is it possible that Christianity had its basis in Roman ideals rather than Judean philosophy?
- A primary source of the fervent Jewish resistance to the Roman occupation was the Jewish religion and their Holy Covenant with God.
- Was Christianity born of human conflict between the imperialism of the Roman Empire and the self-perceived entitlement of the ancient Jewish culture? Is Christianity a result of
Roman attempts at manipulation of religious forces in Judea? Navigate through the topics
at the left to learn more.