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Notes on video lecture:
The Roman Empire's Knowledge of Early Christian Communities
Choose from these words to fill the blanks below:
second, Christianity, Pliny, empire, God, just, Israel, 120, Jewish, Gentiles, Antioch, Gospels, violence, Suetonius, Chrysostom
the texts of the New Testament, crafted from 49 to        CE are heavily influenced by the history of empires of that time
Paul and the authors of the                had an awareness of the succession of empires
they were living under Roman rule and were thinking of their place in history, e.g.
1. who are the people of              and what is the relation of Jews to Gentiles and other people's of the world?
2. how do Jews and Gentiles fit into the history of the people of Israel, its time of exile, destruction, and grief?
3. is        in charge of the succession of empires?
4. how do we read              scriptures and our place within them?
5. what should our relation be to the             ?
majority of New Testament texts were written in the twenty years before and thirty years after the destruction of the              temple (70 CE by Titus)
the                  of this event and that leading up to it is what caused the wound at the heart of many of the readings of the New Testament
Letter to the Corinthians
Paul is speaking to a Gentile audience
Paul was dealing with a situation and a question:
situation: the Jews were God's chosen people, he had made a covenant with the jews
question: how could a          God exclude all other people from the covenant
how might a good God choose to bring the                  into the identity of God's people
Paul's letters are not only a piece of historical evidence in a long story of the succession of empires and repression of Jews by various empires, they are also narratives being crafted by the earliest communities in Christ that want to see themselves as part of the story of the people of Israel
difference between a Christian and a Jew
at what date does this question make sense?
at the time of Paul's letters, there wasn't a word for Christian
the word "Christian" first appears in Acts 11:26 "In                the disciples were for the first time called Christians (Christianoi).
early second century, Romans seemed to have recognized Christians as a distinct group
113 AD: letter from provincial governor,           , to Roman Emperor Trajan in which he asks whether it's right to execute those called "Christians", and what kind of pardon is appropriate for those Christians who then pray or offer incense and wine to or on behalf of the Roman emperor
before 100 AD, the Romans didn't seem to know much about Christians
                   writes about Emperor Claudius who banished from Rome all Jews, "who were continually making disturbances at the instigation of one Chrestus"
Judaism and                          did not necessarily part ways at an early date
into the second century, communities of Jews and Christians overlapped and interacted
John Chrysostom
complains that his congregants are celebrating Jewish festivals and going to Jewish synagogues
Romans likely did not understand Christians to be a separate religious group from the Jews until the second century
even in the fourth century, some Christians were acting like Jews in their religious practices, which annoyed other Christians, John                     , for example


instigate, v. to stimulate to an action or course, to incite to do something, to set or goad on, to urge, generally in a bad sense  "Their acts instigated yet another crime."
salvo, n. a concentrated fire from pieces of artillery, as in endeavoring to make a break in a fortification, any volley, as in an argument or debate  "The war was only the opening salvo in a long running struggle between the two peoples."


######################### (53-117 AD)
Roman emperor who presided over the greatest military expansion in Roman history
  • ruled from 98 AD to his death 117
  • second of the Five Good Emperors
  • declared by senate as "best ruler"
  • successful soldier-emperor
######################### (69-122 AD)
Roman historian who wrote a set of biographies about twelve successive Roman rulers
  • his work was called "De Vita Caesarum" and covered the rulers from Julius Caesar to Domitian
  • belonged to the equestrian order


who were the five good emperors
Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius
Roman historian who wrote a set of biographies of twelve successive Roman rulers
Suetonius [soo-TOH-nee-us] (69-122AD)
Paul's Letters: Authorship and Audience
Form and Physicality of Ancient Letter Writing
Paul's Letter Writing Within the Tradition of Ancient Rhetoric
Ancient Responses to the Letters of Paul
How Ancient People Wrote about Their Place in History: Polybius and Daniel
Four Stories of Empire in Judea: Babylonian, Macedonian, Seleucid, and Roman
The Roman Empire's Knowledge of Early Christian Communities
Josephus on the Definition of Jew and Christian in the Ancient World
Understanding the Historical Josephus
The Priene Inscription
Intertwining of Religion and Politics in the Roman Empire
Letters to the Corinthians
Slavery and Freedom in Roman Corinth
Slavery in First Corinthians