15 Kasım 2010 Pazartesi


1)      The Greco-Roman Religion and its decline

  • Early religions based on ANIMISM
  • Development of anthropomorphic gods in Ancient Greece, with specific functions (Zeus, Hera, Athena...)
  • Adoption of these Gods by Roman people and translation of their names into Latin (Jupiter, Juno, Minerva...)
  • Religious practices: prayers, sacrifices, processions, oracles, votive inscriptions.
  • Religious buildings: temples (ex. Assos (6th BC), Parthenon (Athens)...)

The Greco-Roman religion declined because:
-it was a state religion rather than a personal belief
-it did not propose any ethics
-it did not offer any hope after death

2)      The mystery cults and the philosophical quests

  • Mystery cults, offering some ethical principles and hope for resurrection. Ex: Orphic cult, Mithraism, Isis cult
  • Philosophical answers: quest for transcendancy, moral principles... ex.: Platonism and Neo-Platonism (3rd c. BC)

3)      The first monotheism: Judaism

  • Born in  Mesopotamia around 2000 BC (Abraham)
  • 10 Commandments given by God to Moses > ethical basis
  • Construction of a kingdom with its capital and its temple in Jerusalem (Solomon)
  • Principles: - One God, all-powerful, all-knowing
            - Israelites as the “chosen people”, who made a covenant with God
             - waiting for the promised Land
  • Relationship with Romans: Judea became a Roman province.
Revolt in 66> in 70, the Temple was destroyed (cf. Arch of Titus in Rome)
Revolt, in 132 > begginings of the DIASPORA, central in Jewish religion

4)      The rise of Christianity

·        Jesus (4 BC- 30 AD) : born as a Jew, claimed himself the son of God (Messiah). Oppositions of the Jews and the Romans > Crucifixion
·        The teachings of Jesus:
- love of God and of his son, Jesus
- fraternity: love the other as yourself
            - life after death: Heaven for the Good people

    From Isis to Virgin Mary
  • The spread of  Christianity: role of Paul, addressing the Gentiles (i.e. the non Jewish people), stressing the universality of Christianity (no more circumcision but baptism). Journeys throughout the Mediterranean > the first missionary

  • Reasons for Christianity’s success:
-Embraced all people (men, women, slaves, poor, nobles)
      -Gave hope to the powerless
            -Offered personal relationship with a loving God
            - Promised eternal life after death

  • Roman reactions: persecutions (Nero in 65, Diocletian at the end of the 3d c.)    > Christianity as a secret cult with symbolism (ex. The fish, the pastor in the Catacombs (underground cemeteries) of Rome)
      > martyrdom which enhanced the power of attraction of Christianity

  • Christianity as a state-religion (Byzantine Empire and Germanic kingdoms)

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