Remember to "REFRESH."
Rome pt. 3 and Christianity Emerges
Rome at its Territorial Height
For Tuesday: (which is Monday in the universe of Stevens):
Read Davies: pp. 192-212
Read: The Jewish Revolt in 66 AD. JewishRevoltAgainstRome66AD.htm
Read: The Story of Masada in 70 AD. Josephus_OnMasada.htm
Be aware that there is a homework assignment for Wed. that all of you must do. You might want to read about it now and get a head start as it will require more than just a few minutes to do well.
[Note to self - Show Ben Hur clip in class if you didn't last Wed.]
Homework assignment that everyone must do for Wed. Look at this map. PeutingerMap-detail [1.1MB] It is a small section from Peutinger's Map. [I had an optional link to this map last week. PeutingerMapLectureNotes.htm] Find as many recognizable things as you can. [You might find it helpful to just type names into Google or Wiki and see what comes up.] Then look at this map, JudeaMap-HHS.jpg [471KB] [and/or use this map First_century_palestine.gif], and find as many correlations between the two maps as you can. As homework, print out both maps and write on them the information from the other. [Hint: First thing might be to figure out north and find "Palestina" and maybe the Jordan River on both maps.] Make the maps cross reference each other. If you would rather, this can be done as an image file and then submitted in an email. If you have a better idea for presenting this cross referencing information, feel free to do it. [E.g. If you could make one map morph into the other... that would be cool or you could redraw both maps into one map... superimpose one on the other in some way.] Feel free to use a better map of Judea if you find one. Write up any useful commentary that will help me understand what you did. I will grade harshly if I don't understand what you are doing so explanations and presentation count. If you send me this in an email, please don't send me anything bigger than 1.5MB without warning.
Starting on about p200 in Davies, he mentions the Gnostics. It is an oversimplification that I think should be addressed in more detail, so we will read a few things this week and next week on Gnosticism that should hopefully give a more complex impression.
Read Gladiatorial Games
Read this PDF from Pagels's Gnostic Gospels on the early martyrs. Pagels_GnGspChIV-3.1MB.pdf. This chapter mentions a variety of early Christian texts that will be unfamiliar to you. We will look into these next week in more detail.
Read the short outline posted below called, "Arius, Arianism, Anti-Trinitarianism, and Orthodox Trinitarianism."
Read this short article: Counting Coins to Count Rome's Population
Essay: Write something on the readings. Perhaps relate what you read in this assignment to your understanding of Christianity or expand on something you read about in Davies. ...or... Martyrs are an interesting phenomenon. How do the early Christian martyrs compare to modern day suicide bombers? How might their thought process be similar or different?
Arius, Arianism, Anti-Trinitarianism, and Orthodox Trinitarianism
The Struggle over the Church in Nicaea in 325 AD.
In the following I am attempting to summarize the difference between Anti-Trinitarianism (in the form of Arianism) and Orthodox Trinitarianism, which became the dominant form of Christianity following the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. These issues are extremely subtle and it is a bit difficult to understand why it was all such a big deal, but it was a big deal. It may have had more to do with power than the actual content of the debate. Perhaps the debate was just a proxy for an underlying power struggle over the leadership of Christianity. As with all things having to do with Christianity, it is nearly impossible to get a straight answer for any historical question. There are too many interested parties and the sources have been edited, forged, and generally messed with over the centuries. Historical truth and religion are impossible to reconcile.
Arianism [not to be confused with Aryianism, of Nazi fame]
Arius, (ca. 250-336), priest from Alexandria
Only God, the Father, is identifiable with the divine Oneness. [very Platonic] The Son and the Holy Spirit are discreet entities and do not share the divine essence. Because God is the Oneness, the concept of "Threeness in oneness" is self-contradictory and violates the principle of a monotheism. [How can you have one God and three gods at the same time?] God is eternal, exists without a starting point or an end point. He has always existed. Whereas the Son, Jesus, starts at some point in time. He was created by God at a particular time, and as such is not similarly eternal. The Son is to be venerated as a pseudo-divine entity, but not as God. The Arians imagine a traditional family of sorts where God is the father and Jesus the subordinate son. The Holy Spirit is an emanation from God, an expression of God, but not the divine essence per se. [Thy Holy Spirit has serious similarities to some Stoic concepts of pneuma, or spiritus in Latin.] The Arians might argue that the standard Trinitarian view of "threeness as oneness" was virtually pagan.
The following are some supposed quotes from Arius, recorded by Athanasius:
'God was not always a Father;' but 'once God was alone, and not yet a Father, but afterwards He became a Father.' 'The Son was not always;' for, whereas all things were made out of nothing, and all existing creatures and works were made, so the Word of God Himself was 'made out of nothing,' and 'once He was not,' and 'He was not before His origination,' but He as others 'had an origin of creation.' 'For God,' he says, 'was alone, and the Word as yet was not, nor the Wisdom. Then, wishing to form us , thereupon He made a certain one, and named Him Word and Wisdom and Son, that He might form us by means of Him'....Moreover he has dared to say, that 'the Word is not the very God;' 'though He is called God, yet He is not very God,' but 'by participation of grace, He, as others, is God only in name.' And, whereas all beings are foreign and different from God in essence, so too is 'the Word alien and unlike in all things to the Father's essence and propriety,' but belongs to things originated and created, and is one of these (C. Ar. I.2.5,6).
Arianism was basically erased from the world in the 4th century, but it cropped up in a most interesting place... many of the big names in the Scientific Revolution in the 17th and 18th centuries were closet-Arians of sorts. People like Newton, Boyle, and Locke were extremely interested in non-Orthodox forms of Christianity, but were careful not to discuss their views in public.
On the other side of the argument that culminated in the 4th century were the Church Fathers who promoted Orthodox Trinitarianism
Athanasius of Alexandria (ca. 293-373) was a principal adherent to this trinitarian view, the view which ultimately won. Other prominent adherents include: Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, and most all Contemporary orthodox Christianity, the Jehovah's Witnesses being a prominent exception. Ironically much of what we know about Arius comes from the attacks written against him by Athanasius.
The one divine essence is manifested in common by God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The three are cosubstantial, coinherent, co-equal, and co-eternal. The Holy Trinity is just three modes of the same divine Oneness. The "threeness in oneness" issue is not a problem of theology, but a problem of human mental limitations and limitations of language.
How these conflicting ideas about the Trinity might cause some conflict...
How human was Jesus? How did he suffer on the cross? Did he suffer on the cross? How does that affect the meaning of his significance? If he was fully human, he made a huge and painful sacrifice. If he was fully divine, what's the big deal of dying. It is meaningless to die if you are fully divine. If he doesn't really die, how could he die for our sins? Other alternatives: Jesus could be some sort of hybrid human/divine being having some but not all attributes from both designations or he could be divine sometimes and human at other times or even more complicated, he could be both fully divine and fully human at the same time. This defies logic, but religions like to defy logic.
Arius vs. Athanasius at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD.
This meeting was sponsored by Constantine I, the Emperor of Rome. Arius lost and was exiled. Christ was declared a fully divine entity. The result was the Nicene Creed. Here is the relevant passage: " We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father..." It goes on to mention the divinity of the Holy Spirit although later versions are a bit more explicit on this matter. [See Nicene Creed.]
Citations to the above readings and some optional things: [These optional readings can be used any way you want. They could add to a regular essay or could be used as a source for your larger project or could looked over just to see what sort of stuff is out there.]
Josephus- figure out a citation for these readings. The editor is me.
Koestler, Helmut. "Apocryphal and Canonical Gospels." The Harvard Theological Review 73, no. 1/2 (1980): 105-130. Koestler,Helumt_ApocryphasAndCanonicalGospels.pdf [2.2MB]
Pagels, Elaine H. The Gnostic Gospels. Vintage Books ed. New York: Vintage Books, 1989.
Pagels, Elaine H. Beyond Belief : The Secret Gospel of Thomas. 1st ed. New York: Random House, 2003.
Yamauchi, Edwin M. "Pre-Christian Gnosticism in the Nag Hamadi Texts?" Chruch History 48, no. 2 (1979): 129-141. Yamauchi_PreChristGnosticWriters.pdf [1.3MB]
Back to Syllabus [EuroHist-HHS123-F09]
My email – HHS123F09@mifami.org
Priapic cults and images
Special Presentation by ....
Eliot on violence, martyrdom, Colosseum, etc...
Here is the starter kit: ColosseumBibliography_for_presentation.htm
Exam Review: 10/18/09