SOR1 - The Development of Early Christian Communities


  • Fifty days after the resurrection of Christ
  • Descent of the Holy Spirit
  • Symbolised the Birth of the Church

The Jesus Movement

  • 30-60 AD
  • Period immediately after the death of Jesus
  • Early Christians saw themselves as a sect of Judaism, not an independent religion
    • believed that they were living in the last days before the Parousia (second coming of Christ)
  • No proper governing body to determine which Jewish practices should be adhered to
  • Persecuted by both Jews and Romans, who saw them as heretics
    • The titles given by Christians to Jesus (such as Lord) were reserved for Caesarea (Emperors’ family, rulers)

The Leaders

  • Small groups of Palestinian Jews followed disciples such as Peter in and around Palestine
  • Larger groups of Diaspora Jews (Jews that were not in Israel/Palestine) and Gentiles (Non-Jews) responded to the teachings of Paul
  • Peter was the first Pope
  • Paul created the structure of the Christian Church

The Council Of Jerusalem - 50 AD

  • Purpose was to remove the differences within the early Church
  • Removed the requirement for circumcision, amongst other changes

New Testament Period - 45-100 AD

  • Gradual formation and centralization of Christian Churches
  • Establishing independence from Judaism
  • Caused by the delay of the Parousia and the deaths of the Apostles

Emperor NERO and the Great Fire - 64 AD

  • Christians were blamed for a fire that burned down a large portion of Rome
  • Triggered a mass persecution of Christians, who were already hated for their non-conformity and intolerance of other religions
  • Resulted in the deaths of Paul and Peter

Emperor DIOCLETIAN Augustus and the Last Persecution - 303 AD

  • The last of the Ten Persecutions of the Early Church
  • Ended with the reign of Emperor CONSTANTINE, who established Christianity as the religion of the Empire
  • In 302 AD, Roman rulers declared an edict to destroy churches, burn scripture and enslave those who persevered in following Christianity
To tear down the churches to the foundations and to destroy the Sacred Scriptures by fire; and commanding also that those who were in honorable stations should be degraded if they persevered in their adherence to Christianity
- Followed by 2 more edicts declaring that Christian leaders should be tortured until they gave up their faith ## Emperor CONSTANTINE and the Edict of Milan - 312 AD - Emperor CONSTANTINE declared tolerance for Christianity throughout the Roman Empire - Ordered land from churches to be returned to Christians ## Council of Nicea - 352 AD - Called by Emperor Constantine to restore religious peace - Pope Sylvester and several bishops attended - Purpose was to sort out theological differences between Christian groups, such as the divine status of Christ - Resulted in the creation of the Nicene Creed - Council of Chalcedeon (451 AD) clarified that Jesus was both fully God and fully Man
Pranav Sharma
Pranav Sharma
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UNSW Student, site owner and developer.