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  1. Christian Beginnings: From Nazareth to Nicaea, AD - Géza Vermès - Google книги
  2. Christian Beginnings: From Nazareth to Nicaea, AD 30-325
  3. Christian Beginnings: From Nazareth to Nicaea, Ad 30-325 [9780141037998]
  4. Christian Beginnings: From Nazareth to Nicaea, AD 30–325

Although he referred to the Son of God and Son of the Father, Jesus is seen as subordinate to God and isolated texts e. Phil are not representative and may not be original.

Christian Beginnings: From Nazareth to Nicaea, AD - Géza Vermès - Google книги

The Jesus of the Fourth Gospel has little in common with the popular preacher familiar from the Synoptic Gospel tradition. There is little emphasis on the Kingdom of Heaven , few if any parables and Jesus is lordly, transcendent and authoritarian. He is not an ordinary human being but a mysterious otherworldly personality. Though traditionally associated with the Apostle John, the unknown author of the fourth gospel, probably writing in the first decade of the second century, had a strong Hellenistic background with knowledge of Philo of Alexandria and Hermeticism. This is shown most clearly in the first chapter which was probably composed after the rest of the gospel since its ideas are not referred to elsewhere.

Christian Beginnings: From Nazareth to Nicaea, AD 30-325

The Holy Spirit is personified in a new way, not seen in the other gospels, as the " other Counsellor" or "Advocate". A fuller introduction is given to the non-New Testament works which represent the doctrinal legacy of Christianity from about AD to as these are less well known. The Didache , or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, is the earliest text which portrays the common rules of the early church.

It influenced later Church Orders though it was rejected for the New Testament.

Christian Beginnings: From Nazareth to Nicaea, Ad 30-325 [9780141037998]

The emphasis is on rules for living rather than doctrine and Jesus is never identified as God, but rather the Servant of God. Justin Martyr had been a sophist and thought Plato , not understanding the Jewish scripture, had talked of three gods. He offered various proofs that Jesus was the eternal logos.

Irenaeus of Lyons was the leading opponent of Gnosticism , challenging the dualistic Valentinus and Marcion in Against Heresies. He stressed the importance of the succession of bishops and the Eucharist.


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  • Christian Beginnings: From Nazareth to Nicaea, AD 30– by Géza Vermès.

The greatest standard bearers of the third century were not bishops, all came from North Africa, lived under Roman persecution and are not proclaimed saints by the church. Tertullian was a lawyer who in opposing the Gnostics produced the first clear statement of Christ as both man and God, though he denied the perpetual virginity of Mary as favouring the Gnostics, and the co-eternity of the Son. But he joined a charismatic group, the Montanists , which was condemned by the Bishop of Rome.

Clement of Alexandria stressed the need for real knowledge rather than the false knowledge of the Gnostics.

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Origen enthusiastically castrated himself in his teens to maintain his purity and went everywhere barefoot. His examination of the Old Testament produced the Hexapla comparing the original Hebrew and different Greek translations. He rebutted the Talmudic account of Jesus in Against Celsus but floundered in his support of the virgin birth.


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The Council of Nicea happened soon after the Roman emperor Constantine had become the patron of Christianity in It was triggered by a public disagreement between Alexander bishop of Alexandria and his presbyter Arius whose clear formulation of the relationship between Jesus and God, following the pattern of Origen and Eusebius of Caesarea , placed Jesus in an inferior position, seeing this as the only way to avoid formal polytheism. When Alexander excommunicated him, he sought the protection of Eusebius and Eusebius of Nicomedia who both had the ear of the emperor.

Eventually Constantine invoked a council to settle what he considered "these small and very insignificant questions". Only some bishops out of 1, invited came, almost exclusively from the Greek east. After an inconclusive debate, Alexander and his secretary Athanasius asserted that the son was of the same essence as the Father, that he was homoousios or consubstantial with God.

Christian Beginnings: From Nazareth to Nicaea, AD 30–325

This carried the council but the issue continued to be debated until Theodosius I made the profession of Arianism illegal in In contrasting works such as the Didache and the Epistle of Barnabas, and later on in the epistles of Clement and the Shepherd of Hermas, we can see the gradual normalisation of Gentile Christianity, alongside the rise of its dark counterpart, Christian anti-Semitism. At what point did this diverge from charismatic Judaism? Nevertheless, it is appropriate to ask when the decisive shift did occur.

From Paul onwards, early Christian texts involves a new manner of reading scripture: reading it allegorically, finding parallels and foreshadowings. To the earliest Christians, the similarity of Jesus stories to stories about Moses, Elijah or Elisha did not dilute but confirmed belief. It all converges on the Resurrection, which Vermes mentions only in passing here admittedly, he has written Jesus: Nativity, Passion, Resurrection, which deals with it more thoroughly.

The radical dissimilarity of the Resurrection story is underplayed: yes, there are accounts of resurrections, from the Witch of Endor raising Samuel as a ghost through to the physical revivification of Lazarus by Jesus: but these were always someone else effecting the resurrection. In the Gospel stories, Jesus resurrects himself. Whatever happened, a certain stumbling block persists.

22. The Council of Nicaea

Any description of the early Church which does not account for this transformation may be convincing in many ways, but not in terms of the human. Share this article. Want to join the conversation? Please register or log in to comment on this article.