Overview[ edit ] The priesthoods of public religion were held by members of the elite classes. There was no principle analogous to separation of church and state in ancient Rome.
Much of the impetus for this new religion rested in issues in the Jewish religion, including a long-standing belief in the coming of a Messiah and rigidities that had developed in the Jewish priesthood. Whether or not Christianity was created by God, as Christians believe, the early stages of the religion focused on cleansing the Jewish religion of stiff rituals and haughty leaders.
It had little at first to do with Roman culture. Christianity arose in a remote province and appealed particularly to the poorer classes. It is not easy, as a result, to fit Christianity neatly into the patterns of Roman history: It was deliberately separate, and only gradually had wider impact.
Christianity originated with Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish prophet and teacher who probably came to believe he was the Son of God and certainly was regarded as such by his disciples. Jesus preached in Israel during the time of Augustus, urging a purification of the Jewish religion that would free Israel and establish the kingdom of God on earth.
He urged a moral code based on love, charity, and humility, and he asked the faithful to follow his lessons, abandoning worldly concern. Many disciples believed that a Final Judgment day was near at hand, on which God would reward the righteous with immortality and condemn sinners to everlasting hell.
Jesus won many followers among the poor. He also roused suspicion among the upper classes and the leaders of the Jewish religion.
These helped persuade the Roman governor, already concerned about unrest among the Jews, that Jesus was a dangerous agitator. Jesus was put to death as a result, crucified like a common criminal, about A. His fo lowers believed that he was resurrected on the third day after his death, a proof that he was the Son of God.
This belief helped the religion spread farther among Jewish communities in the Middle East, both within the Roman Empire and beyond. As they realized that the Messiah was not immediately returning to earth to set up the Kingdom of God, the disciples of Jesus began to fan out, particularly around the eastern Mediterranean, to spread the new Christian message.
Initially, Christian converts were Jewish by birth and followed the basic Jewish law. Their belief that Christ was divine as well as human, however, roused hostility among other Jews. When one early convert, Stephen, was stoned to death, many disciples left Israel and traveled throughout western Asia.
By the 4th century A. As it spread, Christianity connected increasingly with larger themes in Roman history. With its particularly great appeal to some of the poor, Christianity was well positioned to reflect social grievances in an empire increasingly marked by inequality.
Slaves, dispossessed farmers and impoverished city dwellers found hope in a religion that promised rewards after death. Christianity also answered cultural and spiritual needs - especially but not exclusively among the poor - left untended by mainstream Roman religion and culture.
Roman values had stressed political goals and ethics suitable for life in this world. They did not join peoples of the empire in more spiritual loyalties, and they did not offer many emotionally satisfying rituals.
As the empire consolidated, reducing direct political participation, a number of mystery religions spread from the Middle East and Egypt, religions that offered emotionally charged rituals.
Worship of gods such as Mithra or Isis, derived from earlier Mesopotamian or Egyptian beliefs, attracted some Roman soldiers and others with rites of sacrifice and a strong sense of religious community.
Christianity, though far more than a mystery religion, had some of these qualities and won converts on this basis as well. Christianity, in sum, gained ground in part because of features of Roman political and cultural life.
The spread of Christianity also benefited from some of the positive qualities of Rome's great empire.Women’s most important purpose in life was procreation Marital fertility was of great importance in the Roman world, and they closely related legitimate marriage with procreation The Roman matron not only managed her home, her estate, her business affairs, but she also bore and educated children, training them in the international.
1 Corinthians 7 in the light of the Graeco-Roman marriage and divorce papyri. The language and social background of 1 Corinthians 7 are compared with that of the . Greco-Roman religion is an umbrella term used to refer to many religious traditions practised within the Roman Empire and eventually syncretized and assimilated into something resembling a complex whole.
Maxwell: Women in the Greco-Roman World, p. 3 Prof. Theissen adds: It is especially important for the founding of the congregation that this city had no continuity in its tradi- tion.
Nothing in Corinth was more than a century old, whether the . The ancient Greco-Roman mystery religions were a group of secret cults that worshiped lesser-known gods outside the official pantheons.
Because members were banned from discussing their beliefs. Essay #1 Christian women during the Greco-Roman period, according to the church fathers, were allowed few privileges. Women were thought of as being subordinate to men and therefore the men should have all the leadership roles, rights and responsibilities within the church, since they believed women were incapable of handling such a task.