The Rise and Spread of Christianity Ancient History - Mrs. Durdle


Judaism - Old Testament/ TORAH & other Scriptures; Prophets pointing to MESSIAH who would save the Jewish people and set them free.

Jewish revolutionaries - This painting depicts the Great Jewish Revolt against Rome, 66 AD -73 AD

Christianity - Jesus is the Messiah

  • Jesus - the fullment of the JEWISH PROPHECIES
  • Jesus - the SON of God
  • Jesus - the INCARNATION of God
Jesus taught his disciples to care for the poor, about Heaven and Hell, and about a future kingdom that would come at the end of time.


Jesus' death

New Testament Writings

  • GOSPELS - Accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus
  • EPISTLES - Letters written by early Christians and leaders of the church.
Peter and Paul
The Church: The "Body of Christ" -- Christian community
  • Urban
  • Poor
  • Slaves
  • Immigrants
Why did Christianity appeal to these groups of people?
  • Stories were told in PARABLES
  • Gospels and Epistles written in "lower class" Greek
  • Opened up God's promises to Jewish people to GENTILES
  • Taught SPIRITUAL EQUALITY over social order
  • Sense of Community - effective leadership; Apostles PETER and PAUL led the way.

So why were they persecuted?

HUMILITY vs. Honor

POOR vs. Rich

FAITH vs. Ritual

  • Emperor DECIUS - persecuted Christians for not sacrificing animals
  • Emperors Valerian and Gallienus - tried to wipe out CHURCH LEADERSHIP.
  • Emperor Diocletian - LARGEST PERSECUTION of Christians in 302 AD

Peter and Paul are both martyred.


Diocletian - "dominos et deus"

Problems: Roman Empire Size and issues of succession

Solution: The Tetrarchy

The Tetrachy didn't really work out like Diocletian had hoped.

Constantine's Converstion

  • Expression of AUTOCRACY ?
  • Genuine faith?
Spread of Christianity under Constantine
  • Constantine gives more power legal power to bishops EXPANDS POWER AND INFLUENCE OF CHURCH LEADERS.
  • Being a Christian could help one's career in the imperial BUREAUCRACY.
  • Teaching by ARIUS
  • Jesus couldn't be both God and the Son of God
  • Jesus was CREATED, not around for all eternity


The Council of Nicaea and Creed
  • Commisioned to ADDRESS HERESIES, especially Arianism
  • CONSTANTINE rejected Arianism, made the final ruling
  • Established important precedence for church-state relations
Edict of Milan - Religious toleration throughout Rome for the practice of Christianity
  • Constantine's successors (mostly) expanded policies SUPPORTING Christianity.
Theodosius the Great
  • BANNED pagan sacrifices and worship
  • Established NICENE CREED as universal norm
  • Established CHRISTIANITY as the official state religion
  • Martyrdom out, MONASTICISM in.

Power shift: State -----> Church

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.