THE JEWISH HISTORY/EVENTS AROUND THE START-UP OF CHRISTIANITY:
During the first half of the 1st Century, Jewish Diaspora communities throughout the Roman Empire grew, prospered, and proselytize. The availability of the Bible in Greek (the Septuagint) was a major factor in the influence of Judaism among the pagans, as well as maintaining the cohesion of the Jewish Diaspora, since most of the Jews in the Mediterranean area were not conversant in Hebrew.
Pharisees, represented by Hillel, emphasized individual prayer and study as the foundations of Jewish life, while the Sadducees, represented by Shammai, constituted the Temple cult. In later rabbinic literature on the disputes between Hillel and Shammai, Hillel always wins. The Essenes, an ascetic fundamentalist group centered near the Dead Sea, rejected both the Pharisees and Sadducees and preached that the “end time” was near. Although the Romans had been invited by feuding Jewish leaders to rule Judah in 63 BCE, the kings and procurators installed by Rome were cruel and incompetent, most notably the prefect Pontius Pilate (26-36).
During the 20 years prior to 66, the violent acts of class warfare began to be directed specifically at the incompetent Roman appointed authorities. In 66, the Roman garrison in Jerusalem was massacred in a riot that originated when the procurator stole money from the Temple treasury to make up for unpaid taxes. The governor of Syria attempted to retake Jerusalem, but his troops were defeated and slaughtered when retreating. Judea was then in open revolt against Rome. Vespasian was sent with two new legions to conquer Judea. The Romans methodically advanced from the north secured the Galilee and seacoast, and besieged Jerusalem. Before the fall of Jerusalem, a group of Pharisees led by Yohanan ben Zakkai was permitted by the Romans to leave the city.
The Euphrates River was accepted as the boundary between the Roman Empire and Persia when Hadrian decreed a halt to Roman expansion (114). The Jewish-Christian community, which maintained Mosaic law while accepting Jesus as the Messiah, formed in Judea following the death of Jesus (30). However, following the destruction of the Temple in 70, the influence of this group diminished rapidly. Paul (d. 64) and others proselytize in the Roman Empire, particularly in Asia Minor, and found major success in converting pagans to early Christianity by emphasizing faith and the promise of afterlife, rather than adherence to Mosaic law.
Major Christian centers grew in Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome. As the Church hierarchy developed, the Episcopate of Rome emerged as a primary center. Doctrinal disputes between “orthodoxy” and Gnosticism, Arianism, Manichaeism, and Nestorianism (among others) provoked fierce conflict among Christian sects. One doctrine that united all factions was “the perfidy of the Jews,” refusing to accept Jesus as the Messiah and maintaining adherence to the ancient law.
In 392 Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, and Rome was established as the site of the pope.
50-53 Paul’s 2nd mission (Acts 15:36–18:22), split with Barnabas, to Phrygia, Galatia, Macedonia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, “he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken”, then return to Antioch. Thessalonians, Galatians wrote. Map2. Lydia of Thyatira, a seller of purple, becomes the first European Christian convert.
51-52 or 52-53 Proconsul of Gallio according to an inscription, only fixed date in the chronology of Paul.
53-57 Paul’s 3rd mission, to Galatia, Phrygia, Corinth, Ephesus, Macedonia, Greece, and Jerusalem where James the Just challenges him about the rumor of teaching antinomianism, he addresses a crowd in their language.
Paul in Rome: greeted by many “brothers”, three days later calls together the Jewish leaders, who hadn’t received any word from Judea about him but were curious about “this sect” which everywhere is spoken against; he tries to convince them from the “law and prophets“, with partial success – said the Gentiles would listen and spends two years proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching “the Lord Jesus Christ”.
60-64 early date for the writing of 1 Peter (written by Peter)
64-68 after July 18 Great Fire of Rome; Nero blames and persecutes the Christians. Possibly the earliest mention of Christians by that name, in Rome. Paul beheaded. Peter crucified upside-down. A vast multitude were convicted, not so much of the crime of incendiarism as of hatred of the human race. And in their deaths they were made the subjects of sport; for they were wrapped in the hides of wild beasts and torn to pieces by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set on fire, and when day declined, were burned to serve for nocturnal lights.
64/67 Pope Linus succeeds Peter as Episcopus Romanus (Bishop of Rome).