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Early Christianity spreads during Greco-Roman world mainly through languages and unity of culture and politics under Roman state. Post apostolic Christianity is viewed as mix between Judeo- Christian legacy and Classical tradition. There are dual official and unofficial opposition to Christianity. Jews in the Diaspora adopted Greek as their first language and the Jews in Palestine were caught between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies. Christian were in a state where Jesus ministry was in conflict with other Jewish groups which led to his eventual death and his Jewish disciple were exposed to other existing discipline. There were constant conflicts between Christian Jews and non- Christian Jews. As all Christians were to follow one God and reject any other concept of God results in not attending the those ceremonies so Romans developed more suspicion and prejudice. And it brings imminent threat danger to their life. Many persecution were wide and rampant. They were charged with atheism and banning of their religion. Christianity was considered religion which ignore values and social boundary and destroying it. As a Christian they had avoided worshipping idols and were apart from many social and cultural activities which were viewed as despising their freinds and relatives. Because of those persecution many Christians did idolatry as to be a part of social group.
Christians who ignored the religious and social Greco-Roman society had to face many harsh situation even physical and economical crisis. The Christians were considered as criminals and given harsh punishments. When Gentile followed Christianity they were considered unreliable as they used to be reliable before. Such negativity from outside, physical and economic problems were to bring Christian back to previous place in the society. But Christians stand strong with assembly of believers, reinforcing each other and what they are facing is less to pay for what they are about to receive.
3. What is unique to the Gospel of John and Johannine theology in comparison to the Synoptics? In what sense can one say that the Synoptics and the Gospel of John provide the same picture of Jesus, yet at the same time different?
Though been written by different writers over the years, the Gospel of John and Synoptics share certain similarities and differences. All the gospels shares story plot, with same characters in Jesus's life. Though our debate here will not be focused on which comes when rather what can be identified between them.
Gospel of John differs from others in many ways. John starts its story from Jesus as a word of God which was the beginning of creation.(John 1:1) The setting of John and other gospel are not in same chronology Jesus works start in heaven as a word and he serves his duty in earth and again ascends to heaven. Gospel of John talks more about Jesus and he being equal with the Father rather than the use of phrase kingdom of God(John 1:3). Schubert(2008, pp.6) states that Jesus is speaking himself more in John, it personifies Jesus, which is not as frequent in other gospels.
The most unusual in John is the omission of several incidents which are very important for synoptic gospels virgin birth, Jesus' baptism , temptation of Jesus among others. Gospel of John strongly establishes relation between Jesus and God, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30) and "The Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). Other gospels carries Jesus with his work, and relation to God's kingdom (Matt 12:28; Luke 11:20) whereas John shows the divinity of Jesus.
John speaks about Logos who was in the beginning with God whereas Mark begins with ministry of John the Baptist and other two with birth of Jesus. John focuses on Jesus' message in relation to eternal life and resurrection and Synoptics is about Jesus preaching on kingdom of God.
Gospel of John excludes many important context appeared in Synoptic gospels, the sermon on the mount, casting out of demons by Jesus, transfiguration of Jesus are not found in John.
In addition John adds very original documents which does not exist in synoptics. Synoptics have entirely missed Jesus' Galilean ministry. Seventh sign-miracle, Lazarus' resurrection (John 11) are missing in synoptics.
The length of public ministry in John is much longer compared to what mentioned in synoptic.
John have his writing presented in the form of conversation or discourses rather than proverbs found in synoptics. L. Goppelt(1982) in his book mentioned Gospel of John conveys the Jesus's message in another genre than the synoptics, its not is parables or sayings rather with discourses in dialogue.
Gospel of John uses more informative symbolic words and double meaning words (John 2:25 temple/body ),( water/Spirit John 12:32). The book was written to show the need of believing Jesus and about the people who did so . Thus we can say the purpose of the book is evangelistic and to convince that Jesus is the Christ and saviour. John consistently assures that Jesus is the true vine (John 15:1), the true bread (6:32), true light(1:9).
According to M.C. Tenney (pp.197), it is possible that John's Gospel was written as an attempt to supplement the accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus that had found written expresssion in the Synoptic Gospels. The general omission of Jesus' Galilean ministy, the almost total absence of parables, selectivity in choosing miracles in his account (20:30) makes feel that the author was trying to give fresh information to the people which were not used before.
4. The early Christian movement can be described as a phenomenon within Judaism. What is meant by this? How would you describe the complex process that led to the Jesus movement becoming a separate religion from Judaism?
Christian and Jews have the common ground that the scriptures were divine but Christians were more convinced about prophets than to the law. For Jews, laws was designated in Bible but Christian prophets were designated for Old Testament. The Judean Jews produced most of their literary works in Hebrew or Aramic, while Hellenistic Diaspora Jews did in Greek. Many Jews work were preserved in Greek like Septuagint, Letter of Aristeas, writings of Philo.
Period of Second Temple is a major turning in identity of Judaism. This period establishes new Jewish religious behavior. While Jews re-settled from Babylon to Zion t causes re-centralization and Diaspora was continually growing. And the legitimating of Synagogue as alternative religious movement was a revolution. The Book of Act provides crucial detail about synagogue like gathering on Sabbath, reading the law, Gentiles were among the frequent visitors in Jewish synagogues. The establishment of synagogue was major factor in Judaism. Few factors played a gigantic role . Synagogue were not location bound could be established according to need of a community so all could take part in various functions. No one specially heads as leader rather anyone with the knowledge could perform the activity, which democratized Jewish culture and society. All could actively participate in the activities of synagogue contrary to passive approach of temple where only priest would be active. And synagogues were a new way of expression which was limited to temple before. Communication to God was wide and accessible to anyone and anywhere.
The conquest of Judea defies the development of Judaism and rise of Christianity. During 64-77 CE, the Jewish revolt against Rome was a milestone in the history of Jews and Judaism. The was silenced the Judaism in Roman Empire. The Jews were now longing to get out of the Empire, as it was not acceptable for Roman Empire to identify the uniqueness in Judaism which led to war of 66 CE. The destruction of Jerusalem Temple had created scary situation among Judaism which extends to till date. The destruction meant they had no place as scared centre. The diversity of Jewish rituals and practices which were identified with second temple was not there anymore as Jesus sect and Pharisees only survive the war. Such a devastation created a vacuum and implications for the history of both Judaism and Christianity. Followers of Jesus sect got in the non- Jewish world whereas generations of Pharisees , Rabbis started to re-establish Judaism.
The ancient years of Christianity rose during this period of conflict. During this time recent days Church were as part of Jewish sect. The rise of different religious aspirations and growth of numerous sect begins the start the Christian apocalyptic movement. When Christianity rises during the hostile period its followers saw Jesus as the one who would destroy the evil. Jesus have been effected and early Christanity too , by various developments in sects and we can understand Judaism was the foundation for growth of CHristianity. Jesus grew up in Galilee, where he preached and his concepts were similar to many other sects including Pharisees, apocalyptic sects and Dead Sea. The believers in Jesus were gathered in Jerusalem and accepted Jesus as messiah. The early Christian began to spread Jesus as messiah and grew as apostolic group to change the world and bring to Christ. Paul, Peter convinced to open the church for converts and thereby transforms Christianity in process.