ECW Midterm Essay: Origins of Christianity

Originally posted 3/11/2010.

From my midterm in Early Christian Writings, taken last Thursday (paragraph numbering not in original):

1. The Gospel of St. Mark describes Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ=Anointed=Messiah. He is the Son of God Who came to free us from sin and death by His Passion on the Cross. He died, was buried, and rose again, then ascended into Heaven, after having established the Church. The Twelve Apostles and the larger group of the Seventy spread the faith throughout the Mediterranean by preaching, working miracles of healing, and speaking in tongues to circumvent language barriers, according to the Acts of the Apostles, which describes Pentecost as the birth of the Church. St. Paul won many Gentile converts because he taught that circumcision and adherence to other ceremonial precepts of the Mosaic Law are not necessary for salvation, according to Henry Chadwick’s “From Jerusalem to Rome.” Thus was solved one of the first major issues.

2. Christian churches sprang up in cities like Rome, Jerusalem, Thessalonica, and Alexandria. Christians had to deal with unbelieving Jews, Romans, and Greeks, to whom Christ crucified was a stumbling block, according to St. Paul. They faced some persecutions, especially the harsh one under Emperor Nero during which Sts. Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome, according to the constant tradition of the Fathers of the Church. Some writers, like the great St. John Chrysostom, argue that “the triumph of the Church” was a miracle.


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