Article of the month: October
Icon of James the Just, Jesus' brother. James and other members of Jesus' family played an important role in the life of the Christian movement during first decades.
Christianity begins with the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Church history begins on the Day of Pentecost. These Jewish Christians adopt a messianic theology and continue to follow the Law of Moses. Hellenistic Jews from all over the Roman empire were among the initial converts - conflict soon surfaced between the Palestinian Jews and the Hellenstic Jews. This represented the beginning of the church's struggle to reach out beyond it's original culture.
The Hellenized Jews failed to take the gospel to the Gentiles in any appreciable way. It took a special man, Saul of Tarsus, a Hellenized Jew, to aggressively take the gospel to the Gentiles. Saul becomes "the apostle Paul" and is attacked on every side: the Jews attack him, the followers of James attack him, and the Romans arrest him.
In the early 60's, under Nero, the Roman government begins orchestrated persecution of Christians. By the 60's the Christian sect, especially under Paul, had separated from Judaism. In 62 AD both Peter and Paul are executed in Rome. Roman persecution will sporadically occur throughout the second, third, and the beginning of the fourth centuries.
In the late 60's Jewish Zealots in Jerusalem rise up in rebellion against the Romans. Titus, son of the emperor Vespasian, commands more than 60,000 Roman troops to wipe out these Zealots. The Jewish Temple is burned to the ground in 70 AD. This event marks a critical point in the development of Christianity – the struggle of the Church against Judaism almost completely disappears. From 70 AD forward Christianity becomes mainly a Gentile dominated movement.
Early gospel accounts had already begun to be circulated by 70 AD. Mark's gospel was probably written first, followed soon by the accounts of Matthew and Luke. Paul's various letters (written mainly from around 50–60 AD) were also beginning to be circulated. Post apostolic writings that eventually do NOT become part of the New Testament canon attest to a growing negative attitude towards Judaism after 70 AD. By the close of the first century all the documents which are now contained in the New Testament had been written. The first century ended with the persecution under Emperor Domitian (81–96 AD). This is the historical backdrop for John's Revelation, the last book of New Testament.
Published: October 12, 2017
There is no denying that the Christian movement began as a completely Jewish phenomenon and developed over the centuries into the Gentile religion of Christianity. This “parting of the ways” is a fascinating chapter in the history of religions, and scholars still debate when the separation occurred as well as the historical, religious and social conditions that contributed to it. I do not intend to revisit these particular issues in this study, even though my conclusions may have implications for these important questions. My sole aim is to examine the growth of the Christian movement in the first century, and to determine in ageneral way the numbers of Jews who converted to it. It will be argued that, despite the evidence of Acts to the contrary, the Christian movement made very little impression upon the Jewish people. Its Jewish membership probably never exceeded 1 000 at any point in the first century, and by the 50s the Jewish members were quite likely exceeded in number by their Gentile counterparts.
Published: September 28, 2017
Oceania is the site of many "lasts". It was the last area on Earth to be settled by humans, last to be discovered by Europeans, and last to be both colonized and decolonized.
Published: September 17, 2017
Legendary Pitcairn, last refuge of Bounty's mutinous crew, is the remotest populated place in the South Pacific. This tiny colony, founded in 1790 by nine fugitive Englishmen and nineteen Polynesians, is presently more than 200 years old. It's one of the ironies of history that Pitcairn, born out of treason to the British crown, was the first Pacific island to become a British colony (in 1838) and remains today the last remnant of that empire in the Pacific. All four Pitcairn Islands – Pitcairn, Henderson, Oeno and Ducie – together total 47.4 square kilometers, however they control an exclusive economic zone of 800,000 square kilometers – an important reason why Britain is in no hurry to leave.
Published: September 13, 2017
In 1796 began "the era of the war-lords", a chaotic period of power vacuum and wars among Ethiopian feudals, which lasted until 1855 when Tewodros II was crowned emperor. Tewodros tried to break tribal ties and discipline his army by paying them himself. He imported firearms and especially wanted artillery. He issued strict laws and executed bandits who refused to farm. He got his men to build roads by working along with them. Tewodros believed he had a religious mission and ordered Muslims to become Christian within a year, and he expelled Roman Catholics.
Published: September 8, 2017
Sudan, once the largest and one of the most geographically diverse states in Africa, split into two countries in July 2011 after the people of the south voted for independence. The government of Sudan gave its blessing for an independent South Sudan, where the mainly Christian and Animist people had for decades been struggling against rule by the Muslim north. After the secession of the South, the Republic of Sudan became the third largest Arabic speaking country in region. Sudan is also a diverse country combining a variety of ethnicities and cultures. The country has attracted considerable media attention through time as a result of her dreadful series of civil wars.