Week 3: Early christianity and the hellenistic world Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Week 3: Early christianity and the hellenistic world Deck (89)
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1
Q

what was the impact of Alexander the greats military campaigns in 4 century BC?

A

expansion of greek cultural and political influence in the eastern Mediterranean region

2
Q

who was Alexander the Great tutored by?

A

Aristotle

3
Q

how old was Alexander when he became king?

A

twenty

4
Q

who was alexanders father?

A

Phillip of macedon

5
Q

who were alexanders military campaigns against?

A

Persian empire

6
Q

what did the military campaigns against the Persian empire achieve?

A

brought vast areas of territory from Egypt to India under Macedonian control

7
Q

where was Alexander buried?

A

Alexandria, Egypt

8
Q

what does the phase ‘hellenistic world’ refer to?

A

new political and socia order which was a result of Alexanders conquests especially in Egypt and Levent

9
Q

what is the purpose of this section?

A

investigate how christianity began to engage with greek ideas, literature and cultural norms which bore no relation to their Palestinian roots

10
Q

one of the most important outcomes of Judaism engagement with the hellenistic world

A

the translation of the Hebrew Bible into greek

11
Q

when did the process of translating the Hebrew Bible start?

A

three centuries before christ

12
Q

what is the ‘septuagint’?

A

the translation of the Hebrew bible, produced by seventy scholars

13
Q

who was Philo and what did he attempt to do?

A

Jewish writer in Alexandria in the early years of the first century, attempted to synthesise jewish religious and greek philosophical thought.

14
Q

what was Philo’s strategy?

A

using an allegorical reading of the Hebrew Bible to appeal to the Platonic notion of the logos

15
Q

what does Philo’s doctrine of creation strongly resemble?

A

Plato in his dialogue Timaeus

16
Q

what did Philo refuse to accept?

A

Greek ideas which were incompatible with judaism e.g. Aristotles ideas about eternity and indestructibility

17
Q

explain Philo’s approach to biblical interpretation.

A

allegorical, appealing to deeper meanings beneath the literal and historical senses of the passages

18
Q

why did Philo read genesis allegorically?

A

as a way of bridging the gap between divine revelation and Platonic philosophy

19
Q

does Philo want to abolish the historical and literal meaning of the text?

A

no he just wants to add deeper meanings to them which are closer to the secular concept of wisdom

20
Q

who were Philo’s ideas developed by?

A

Clement of Alexandria (c.150-c.215) and Origen (184-253)

21
Q

where did christianity expand to?

A

the greek speaking cities of Alexandria and Antioch

22
Q

who raised influential discussions about the expansion of christianity from its original Jewish context to the Greek- speaking cities Egypt and Asia and how led to progressive Hellenisation of Christianity?

A

Adolf von Barnack (1851-1930)

23
Q

how does Harnack highlight the hellenisation of christianity and the subsequent changes

A

through the metaphysical theological views about God and Christ- such as the doctrine of the trinity

24
Q

what does Harnack refer to ideas such as the trinity as ?

A

‘work of the greek spirit on the soil of the gospel’

25
Q

what was the effect of christianity becoming more focused on metaphysics?

A

they became more distant from the historical Jesus of Nazareth

26
Q

criticism of Harnack?

A

he overstates the case for ‘hellenisation’

27
Q

defence of Harnack

A

it is difficult to see how christianity could have avoided being influenced by a variety of cultural and philosophical sources

28
Q

what greek judgement did Cristian scholars accept, and what problems has it caused?

A

that God was perfect.

greek speaking philosopher raised questions such as, can god suffer? how can a perfect being suffer?

29
Q

what other movement shaped the hellenistic world aside from intellect and philosophy?

A

Gnosticism

30
Q

how is gnosticism best understood?

A

a family od religious doctrines and myths that flourished in late classical antiquity with three shared beliefs

31
Q

what are the three shared beliefs of gnosticism?

A

1) the cosmos is a result of an evil/ ignorant creator ‘demiurge’
2) humanity is trapped within its physical realm
3) salvation is a process in which believers receive the knowledge of their divine origin allowing them to break Bree from their imprisonment on earth.

32
Q

where is the idea of the demiurge found?

A

the idea of an inferior god is found in Classical Greek philosophy and plays a big role in Plato’s dialogue ‘Timaeus’.

33
Q

Gnostic belief about creation

A

the demiurge created the world without the knowledge of the ‘true God’ and thought he was the only God. because he is evil, so was his creation.

34
Q

common gnostic though about the human body

A

the human body was a prison for spirit and was actively seeking liberation

35
Q

(gnosticism) was the human body created by the demiurge?

A

yes but it still contains divine spirit which had the potential to establish a connection with the highest God

36
Q

how is our divine spark uncovered (gnosticism)

A

when a divine messenger awakes individuals from their dream of forgetfulness, allowing them to reconnect with its divine origins

37
Q

what was valentinism?

A

a form of gnosticism associated with Valentinus (c. 100- c.160) and his circle in Rome. Christ was seen as a redeemer figure who awakened peoples divine spirit and allowed hem to go back to their true home.

38
Q

how did Irenaeaus of Lyons respond to Valentinitus?

A

the idea of ‘economy of salvation’. the entire work of salvation from creation through to the end was carried out by the same god. not a demiurge or a redeemer just an emissary from the heavenly realm

39
Q

why did Irenaeus of Lyons think the emergence of the trinity was so important?

A

because it was a way of articulating divine continuity throughout the history of the world and as a safeguard to the unity of the scripture and the other.

40
Q

Irenaus on evil

A

matter id not intrinsically evil it is Gods good creation which has fallen and is susceptible to restoration and renewal rejecting Gnostic notions of intrinsically evil matter.

41
Q

what did Irenaus say about matter?

A

God chose to use matter not reject it. as seen in our use of water, wine, bread as symbols of divine grace.

42
Q

what did irenaus think Gnostics had done with scripture?

A

‘hijacked it’ and interpreted its core terms according to their own tastes.

43
Q

what did irenaus think valentines had turned christianity into?

A

gnosticism

44
Q

how did irenaus see tradition?

A

as a way of preserving faithfulness to the apostolic teaching that will avoid the gnostic misinterpretation of biblical texts

45
Q

why were the developments of Irenaus so important?

A

it underlies th emergence of ‘creeds’

46
Q

what are ‘creeds’?

A

public, authoritative statements of the basic points of christian faith

47
Q

why did Christian leaders in Eastern Mediterranean area adapt their vocabulary and key customs to fid with middle platonism?

A

because this movement was dominant in this area at the time and christianity was still an illegal religion

48
Q

where was did the most prominent engagement of christianity with middle platonism take place?

A

Alexandria, Egypt

49
Q

how did people use Philo’s work in Alexandria?

A

Philo had attempted to merge platonism and Judaism. this work was used to think about Christianity in a way which would be attractive to Platonists.

50
Q

why would christians want to use Philo’s work?

A

because it made Christianity more current and immersed in Hellenistic culture

51
Q

around 190..Clement of Alexandria suggested what?

A

that Christianity should be reformulated using concepts borrowed from Platonism and stoicism, to make it more popular

52
Q

why was using platonism to speed christianity risky?

A

risks loosing grasp of christian ideas being forgotten or distorted.

53
Q

how was platonism show up in the theology of the early church?

A

the use of allegorical interpretations. hebrews focus on literal and historical interpretation while the greeks minds saw scripture as timeless ideas.

54
Q

who did Origen set up against each other?

A

uneducated christians who read the bible literally and historically and educated people who were able to interpret it allegorically and discover the deeper meanings

55
Q

what did both Clement and Origen regard as critically important?

A

platonic or stoic notion of logos- for understanding the identity of Jesus of Nazareth.

56
Q

what does logos mean

A

‘become flesh’

57
Q

What was Jesus to be understood as, according to Clement and Origen?

A

‘the word incarnate’

58
Q

what did seeing Jesus as ‘the word incarnate’ emphasise?

A

that Jesus was the mediator between god and humanity

59
Q

how did Origen use platonism to answer questions about the form humans would take after resurrection?

A

humans would have to take perfect form. plato said that the perfect body would be spherical, so the resurrected body would be a sphere

60
Q

impact of Clement and Origen work?

A

secured a hearing for christianity in the more intellectually sophisticated quarters of hellenistic culture

61
Q

which port cities did christianity establish itself in?

A

Ephesus and Pergamon on Asian coastlines

62
Q

why did christianity tend to settle in cities?

A

they were centres of commerce and trade, a way which classical philosophical ideas were spread were spread in the ancient world

63
Q

what did cities offer christianity which the country side didn’t?

A

anonymity, because society was still hostile towards them

64
Q

what was a ‘metropolitan bishop’?

A

a bishop in charge of of all churches in a city rather than just one specific christian church

65
Q

most important bishops

A

ones in Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Rome

66
Q

what was significant about the bishop of Rome?

A

had symbolic power linked to the imperial authority of the city of Rome itself

67
Q

who founded both Antioch and Alexandria?

A

Alexander the Great

68
Q

what was the difference between Alexandria and Antioch’s approaches to the Bible?

A

Alexandria, allegorical

Antioch, literal or historical

69
Q

what were the christological differences between Antioch and Alexandria?

A

Alexandria- lots of emphasis of Gospel of John ‘word became flesh’ human nature shared in the life of God, God literally became human, in order for humanity to become divine.
Antioch- in order for humans to break free from their bonds of sin, God had to intervene- Jesus was a redeemer who unites humans and divinity

70
Q

why would christianity’s spread in urban areas worry some people?

A

they though that the immorality of the cities could corrupt the church

71
Q

where do the roots of monasticism lie?

A

hills of Egypt and eastern Syria

72
Q

which trend was integral to the beginning of monasticism?

A

withdrawal from the sinful and distracting world

73
Q

what were two ways or withdrawing from society?

A

monasticism ‘eremitic’ in the form or asceticism

monasticism ‘cenobitic’ in the form of community

74
Q

why was Pachomius’ c.292-348 monastery so important?

A

generally recognised as the founder of communal form of monasticism during 320-5, which would become normative in later monasticism

75
Q

what did the physical structure of a monastery reinforce?

A

spiritual values

76
Q

characterise monastic life (life in a monastery)

A

common clothing, meals, furnishing of cells

77
Q

when did monasteries Spain?

A

fourth century

78
Q

when did Augustine establish 2 monasteries in Africa?

A

400-25

79
Q

when did monasteries reach Italy

A

with century

80
Q

when did monasteries begin to spread considerably?

A

after the fall of the Roman Empire

81
Q

what did the Benedictine community hold as integral?

A

unconditional following of christ, regular private prayer and the reading of scripture

82
Q

when was Benedict of Nursia’s Monastery established?

A

around 525

83
Q

what did the assimilation of cultural norms with Christianity result in for women?

A

exclusion from liturgical leadership, even if they had helped with social and political influence in the past

84
Q

which role in the church did women remain active in

A

deacon

85
Q

what did the ‘Didascalia of the Apostles’ (dated from first half of third cent) suggest about men and women?

A

deacons to be compared to christ

deaconesses to be compared to the Holy Spirit

86
Q

what did the Council od Chalcedon 451 rule about women

A

shouldn’t be allowed to ordain as deaconesses until they were 40

87
Q

most significant areas of christianity for women

A

martyrdom

88
Q

examples fo female martyrdom

A

perpetua and Falicitas who were martyred together in Carthage in the first decade of the third century

89
Q

how was martyrdom used by women

A

as a means of self empowerment