Followers of Jesus, a Jewish man, started a new religion, Christianity. Christianity started to grow during the Pax Romana, a period of peace in Rome. The Pax Romana lasted from 27 B. C. E to 180 C. E. and during it government improved, literature prospered, engineering improved, and laws formed. The peace during the Pax Romana provided a time for Christianity to rise. Christianity spread rapidly and successfully in the 1st through 3rd centuries because it appealed to many people, missionaries could easily travel and spread the message, and because of the events taking place in Rome.
The Christian message, a universal message, appealed to many people. In the Sermon on the Mount, the only full sermon existing from Jesus, a section called “The Beatitudes” lists all of the blessed people. Jesus blessed the oppressed, the hungry, the merciful, the peacemakers, and the pure in heart in his sermon. The Christian message of hope appealed to those out of power and suffering under the rule of the Roman authority, because the Christian message gave people hope and a thought of salvation.
The Sermon on the Mount, given by Jesus, encompasses the Christian message of hope. In addition because of the simplicity and directness of the Christian message, people could easily catch on to the message. In addition to those suppressed by the Roman government, Christianity also appealed to gentiles, non-Jews. Paul, a missionary, preached Christianity to the gentiles and compromised with them. Originally following the strict rules such as circumcision and eating Kosher showed to be a roadblock to the gentiles.
Paul and Peter argued over whether or not the gentiles should have to follow these rules, and Paul won, so the gentiles that converted to Christianity did not have to adhere to any rules of dress, eating Kosher, or being circumcised. This allowed for Christianity to appeal to the gentiles. Christianity also appealed to widows. In Roman Civilization those that had been widowed had a low place in the social hierarchy and people looked down on them. However, in Christianity widows were honored and called brides of Christ.
The charity work that the Christians did also made Christianity an appealing religion. Christians set up hospitals for the poor and homeless. Hospitals gave the homeless a place to become comfortable before they died. In addition to the charity work that Christians did, Christianity emphasized peace, love, and brotherhood, which appealed to some. In the 1st-3rd centuries C. E. the message of Christianity could also be spread quite easily throughout the Roman Empire. The 200,000 miles of roads built in Rome helped Christianity spread throughout the entire empire.
The roads allowed for missionaries to travel throughout the empire easily so that they could spread and preach Christianity. The Pax Romana, a period of peace, also allowed for the roads to be safe for the missionaries to travel and spread the word without the fear of being attacked. The many different cities helped spread Christianity rapidly because of the great amount of people in a small area. In addition Christianity could catch on faster and reach more people. Missionaries also had an easy time getting across the message because of the use of only two languages.
In the eastern half of the Roman Empire the people mainly spoke koine Greek, and in the western portion of the Roman Empire the people mostly spoke Latin. Because no language barrier existed, missionaries could spread Christianity with fewer difficulties. The events taking place in Rome helped the Christian message to spread rapidly and successfully. The old Roman religions started losing their vitality setting the stage for new beliefs and giving way to the rise of Christianity. Unlike other cults, like the cult of Isis or Mithras, Christianity was freer and adaptable.
The loosely organized internal structure of Christianity allowed for Christianity to adapt to people. The persecution of Christians led to the organization of Christian ideas and thoughts. The persecution of the first Christians led to the idea that the ideas of Christianity should be written down and organized. The two groups of Christians, the Apostolics and the Gnostics, had similar but different views on Christianity. Irenaeus, an Apostolic Christian, wrote the first book of the Christian Church titled Against the Heresies.
Irenaeus thought that the Gnostics did not represent the true teachings of Jesus, and that the Apostolic Christians represented the teachings of Jesus more than the Gnostics. The Apostolic view of Christianity became the mainstream Christian view and people recorded the Apostolic ideas in the Bible. The persecution on Christians led to the spread of the message of what the Christians died for. Christianity spread due to many factors including roads, missionaries, and the honoring of widows.
The timing of the rise of Christianity helped Christianity spread and rise rapidly and successfully. The period of peace in Rome, the Pax Romana, helped Christianity flourish. Christianity at this time grew as older Roman religions started to decline, missionaries preached Christianity to many people, and the Christian message of hope gave hope to those who needed it. These factors along with the rise of Christianity during the Pax Romana helped Christianity spread and continue throughout the Byzantine Empire and beyond.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 3 October 2016
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