Biography of Jesus of Nazareth | His teachings and message gave rise to Christianity

His teachings and message gave rise to Christianity, religion that settle for centuries culture and Western mentality.
If it dispenses with the Gospels, the figure of Jesus Christ, around whose message came the Christian religion, remains shrouded in mystery. There are few documents which may be used as sources for a historical study about the life of Jesus Christ. Despite being the character represented in more works of art, both pictorial and sculptural, its features and appearance are unknown, and, moreover, it is impossible to write his biography in the modern sense of the term. Like Socrates, he left nothing written. The Gospels of mark, Luke, Matthew and John have no historical purpose: the purpose of these narrations, made with a unique literary style, was written record of life and the message of the master.
But they nonetheless be "historical" facts that relate. Lucas, the Syrian doctor who dominated to perfection the Greek, his mother tongue, makes it clear in the prologue that precedes his Gospel: "since many have attempted an orderly telling the things that have been verified among us, as have informed them we those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses, [...]» After having diligently investigated everything from the beginning, I write it in order, most excellent Theophilus...». Theophilus, by Lucas, treatment of him would be an important and influential character of the environment.

Jesus Christ in a 6th century mosaic
(Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna)
The radical critical call that liberal Protestants were applied to the Gospels became even the denial of the historical existence of the Nazarene. Or just of Tiberias in his history of the Jews nor Philo of Alexandria speak of Jesus. But its historical existence is attested with sufficient clarity by authors such as Tacitus in his Annals; by Suetonius, Vita Claudii; by Plinio the younger, proconsul of Bithynia, in his letter to the Emperor Trajan, written around the year 70; and by the historian Flavio Josefo.
In his letter, Plinio the younger speaks of "a group that sings hymns in honour to Christ as to a God". Tacit in the Annals (written at the beginning of the 2nd century), refers to Christ as "a condemned the ordeal under the rule of Tiberius by the Procurator Pontius Pilate". Jewish Antiquities of the historian Flavio Josefo (written to the 93 year) first allude to "Jesus, the so-called Christ" in relation to the execution of Santiago in Jerusalem, and cite later, according to the translation of the Syrian bishop Agapio, "a wise man named Jesus, reputed for its way of acting and his virtue", saying the following: "many Jews and many of the other Nations came to him. Pilate condemned him to die on the cross. But those who had followed him did not let be faithful to his thinking. They told that he had appeared three days after having been crucified, and that he was alive. Perhaps it was thus, the Christ of which the prophets announced many admirable things".

Jews and Romans

They may not understand the doctrine and life of Jesus without placing them in their historical context. Palestine was a territory administered by the Romans, whose empire had begun its period of maximum splendor political and territorial cohesion. With the ascension of Augustus, who died the year 14 ad and his son Tiberius, contemporary of the Nazarene, succeeded to the Mediterranean had become a Roman Lake and imperial authority prevailed in all its coasts. At the time of Jesus the metaphysics of Plato and Aristotle had lost its appeal. The most widespread philosophical systems were the Epicureanism and stoicism. The doctrine of Jesus contains some element of both systems. For example, the Stoics proclaimed the equality and brotherhood of all men. On the other hand had validity even mysteries, such as the Eulesis and the Dionisio. Even the Egyptian mystery of Osiris had a good predicament in Rome.
The Jewish world under Roman rule began with Herodes the great, from 37 to 4 B.c. Emperor Octavio Augusto confirmed him in his position as King of the Jews because Herod had helped him in his final March from tolomeo territory to Egypt. In his testament, Herod divided his Kingdom between his sons Archelaus and Philip, Herod Antipas, this last Tetrarch of Galilee and Perea in the time of Jesus. Heir to a vast religious tradition, the Jewish world was basically dominated by two groups or sects: the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The first came entirely from the middle class; the Sadducees, rich priestly aristocracy, that in times of Jesus had in Annas family the most powerful saga. The Pharisees claimed authority based on piety and culture; the Sadducees, through blood and the position. The Pharisees were more progressive; the Sadducees, more conservative, accepted easily the Roman domain because it allowed them to retain their privileged position. The Pharisees cared enough to raise the religious level of the masses; the Sadducees, indoctrinate and appeal to those who were related to the administration of the temple and the rites.
The zealots were situated outside of both trends. When 6 b.c. legacy Quirino ordered a general census of Palestine, the Pharisee Sadduq and the galileo Judas of Gamala led the revolt of discontented Jews. To his assembled around a group that carried out several campaigns against the Romans. This was the origin of the zealots, ardent Patriots, already fully separated of the Pharisees, used all kinds of means, without excluding the deadly attack, in order to get rid of the foreign oppressor and punishing the collaborators Jews. They wore for their murders a short dagger called sicca, which were known among the Romans with the name of the sicarii ('sicarios').

The hidden life

All this happened in the first century of our era. However, even for the most rational Catholic exegesis, any data relating to the life of Jesus Christ can be used with absolute certainty. Jesus, son of Joseph and María of Nazareth, was conceived in this town in the Galilee within the meaning of the mysterious announcement that the angel Gabriel made the craftsman that his fiancée (still not had held the wedding) was pregnant, but the fruit of her womb was not a human being, but the Holy Spirit work. Maria was the cousin of Isabel, wife of the priest Zechariah, who beget Juan Bautista in old age.
In those days a decree from Caesar Augustus that all inhabitants of the Empire were to register, each in the city of his lineage. Joseph and his young wife had to go to Bethlehem, in Judea, about 120 kilometers from Nazareth. They probably made the trip in caravan with others who followed the same path. The couple, with limited financial resources, spent the night on the outskirts of Bethlehem, taking refuge in one of the caves used by the shepherds. While there, met her day of birth and she gave birth to her firstborn son, he laid in a manger because they had no place in the Inn.

Adoration of the shepherds (c. 1655), Murillo
The humble birth of Jesus from Herod the great took place at times. Therefore not might occur beyond the BC 4, date of the death of the Tetrarch. According to Luke (2, 1), Jesus was born in the time of the Census ordered by Augustus and made by Quirinus, Governor of Syria. Tertullian attributed that census to Saturninus simple, legacy of Syria's 8-2 BC; This very well could have completed a census begun by Quirino. For this reason, is often accept that the birth of Jesus took place between 7 and 6 B.c.
The Gospel of Luke recounts the at the same time simple and extraordinary events that accompanied the birth of Jesus: the advertisement for the angels to some shepherds, who came to Bethlehem and were the first in "praise and give glory to God for all the things that they had seen and heard" (Lk. 2, 20). Matthew, recounts the visit of three mysterious Kings of the East, on the other hand, guided by a star, come to adore him and he offered gold, myrrh and frankincense. Previously, these "magicians" Kings had passed through Jerusalem asking "Where is the King of the Jews has been born?" Such a question was filled with fear to the King, who ordered a few days later a terrible massacre of boys, reminiscent of the Christian tradition every December 28 as the day of the Holy Innocents. Warned of the danger that lurked them, Joseph and Mary fled Bethlehem with his son and took refuge in Egypt, where they remained until the death of Herod.

The massacre of the innocents (c. 1611), Rubens
Back in Nazareth, Jesus learned the Scriptures and the Jewish oral tradition to the point of surprise with their knowledge to the doctors of the law, who heard it in the Temple when only was twelve years old. While "child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom" (Lk. 2, 40), led a normal life, working with his father. Up to thirty years nothing else returns to know of his life; only what fantastically narrated the apocryphal Gospels, i.e. those writings of origin unknown or incorrectly attributed, for the most part of Gnostic origin, dealing with the life of Jesus in the last years of his youth. Particularly striking the cluster of miraculous, often unpleasant, and abstruse elements in which history and fable are confused.


To date the beginning of the Public Ministry, Lucas puts special emphasis on presenting the exact data about the preaching of Juan Bautista, whom Jesus came to be baptized. However, only a fact is indeed useful: «the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar», the reign which began on August 19 14 d. C. The fifteenth year should be, according to the Roman system, on 19 August the 28 d. C. August 18 of 29 d. C. On the other hand, there is no unanimity about the duration of his public life. While the synoptic three speak a single Easter, Juan Evangelista clearly specifies three.
Juan Bautista began to preach the prompt arrival of the Messiah and to baptize those who heard it in the waters of the Jordan. When Jesus was baptized by John (who was his cousin), there was a heavenly sign which designated him as son of God according to the evangelists. Before beginning his own Ministry, Jesus withdrew to the desert a period "in forty days," during which, according to the Evangelical narration, fasted and put to the test their spiritual strength to the temptations of the devil.

The baptism of Christ (c. 1623), of Guido Reni
On his return from the wilderness, Jesus initiated the disclosure of his doctrine alone, giving unveiled at the synagogue, which used to go every Saturday. One day he did in his village. He chose a reading from the Prophet Isaiah that foreshadowed the Messiah, the anointed one of God that would announce to the poor have good news and that would give freedom to the oppressed. He told them that he was from whom the Prophet spoke. It was reviled by such arrogance (everyone knew that he was the son of Joseph) and tried to hurl him. It would be the fate of all his Ministry: the lack of understanding of their own, that would culminate with the treachery of one of his favorite disciples. But soon his preaching was convened at its around crowds who taught using parables, at work at the same time miracles that filled with amazement and fed the faith in their doctrine.
Thus earned the antipathies of scribes and Pharisees, who that upstart stole prominence and popularity among the people. The Pharisees complained that Jesus celebrated parties and banquets. Worse still, was with publicans, sinners, outlaw mob: why the Pharisees contending it drunk and binge. Meanwhile, Jesus chose twelve of his disciples: Simon (whom he called Peter) and his brother Andrew, Santiago and Juan, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, Santiago de Alphaeus and Simon (called zealots), Judas of James, and Judas Iscariot. They were simple men, most fishermen are earning livelihoods with fatigue. Men members that supported the Roman taxes and mass that rebelled against the privileged life of scribes, Sadducees and Pharisees. Jesus proposed a religious and even social order new, without hypocrisy, solidarity with the poor, vital.
The so-called "sermon on the mount" is perhaps the most significant of all those delivered, both for its doctrinal content as because it is preceded, according to Luke, by the choice of the twelve disciples and the realization of many miracles in the land of Galilee. In this Evangelical speech, called "The Beatitudes", in the biblical tradition Jesus greets the crowd with a "blessed are the poor, for yours is the Kingdom of heaven;" Blessed are those who you are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied; Blessed are you who weep now, for you amusing"(Lk. 6, 20-21), and then exposed the conditions that should be met by those who choose to follow him:"Blessed are ye when men hate you, when you expel, you insult and crises out your name as evil, because of the son of man..." The idea of the divine paternity is precisely the theme of your message, it is that reality from which emanates the love and generosity of the creator towards every human creature.
The sermon on the mount shows his deep understanding of human behavior, and reinterprets in addition the law mosaic clarifying its fundamental principles and adapting its precepts to human needs. Is in this sense that says, for example, "on Saturday has been instituted for man and not man for the Sabbath" (Mc. 2, 27), when the Pharisees him reproach his disciples have booted a few spikes or that it has done miracles and curing sick on that day sacred to Jews. Love your enemies ("love your enemies, do good to those who hate you"), mercy ("sed compassionate, as your father is compassionate. Judge not and you will not be judged, not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven") charity (" give and it will be [...], because the measure with which you measure will be measured ") or the well-ordered zeal ("there is no good tree yielding fruit bad and, conversely, there are no bad tree yielding good fruit") are different aspects of the same fundamental idea formulated in the phrase"love God and neighbor".

Supper at Emmaus (1606), by Caravaggio
A strictly secular vision puts Jesus in an exclusive human framework, but nevertheless his figure is less worthy of study and consideration. He offered master, defined themselves did not follow guidelines of the powerful Jewish class: it crossed the Sabbath rule, it was accompanied by women (Mary and Martha; Juana, wife of Cusa, a manager of Herod; Susanna, and many others) and was staying in their homes. His friends were plain and simple people who accompanied in their parties and weddings. The teachings of Jesus, who first spoke of new concepts like the neighbor and love to enemies, the mercy toward sinners and respect people above their condition, soon to come into collision with the Jewish clergy.
The Jewish priestly caste looked with fear the effects of the teachings of Jesus in the village and ordered that scribes and Pharisees to attend them to question their authority with trick questions. Jesus skillfully dodged all the traps that are tended him and the Sanhedrin unsuccessfully claimed the support of Roman authority to suppress the "agitator". But uneasiness spread not only among priests, but also in the same Herod, because that nazareno consented to King of the Jews, is called title that Herod had cost the adulation the foreign oppressor. Came a moment that Jesus spoke bluntly: "that it is not with me, is against me. Do not do as the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, vipers, bleached out and full of carrion inside graves... You do not amaséis fortunes, sell goods and give alms...» And the events ended up rushing.
Jesus sent to preach two by two to seventy-two disciples through the towns of Judea, where he began an intense religious movement as if they were conquering the Holy City. To her Jesus went from Galilee, aware that his time had come. Herod, whom Jesus had called Fox, was on the prowl; the priests, watchful eye to trap him. But Jesus not terrified is. On the contrary, entered Jerusalem in provocative attitude, becoming Enthrone as King by a crowd that filled the city on the occasion of Easter. And in the nerve centre of the Jewish world, the temple, asserted his authority: drove out to vendors to lashes because it repugnant to him that a place of prayer had become a lucrative market.

Passion and death of Jesus

Come the day of the unleavened bread, which is sacrificed the Passover lamb, Jesus is preparing what will be his last supper with his disciples and it announces them an end: "forward I have desired to eat this Passover with you before suffering; for I tell you that I will not eat it more until it is its fulfillment in the Kingdom of God"(Lk 22.16). In the Gospel story of the Passover supper, Jesus washes disciples feet and shares with them the bread and wine as an expression of the new Alliance of God with men. Then, warns them of what has happened in the next few days. Stupor and restlessness of the disciples, announces that one of them will come to betray him: "hand me that delivery is here with me on the table" (Lk. 22, 21) and that her beloved Pedro would deny him three times, but finally he would regret his action: "I can assure you [Peter]: today, this same night, before the cock crows twice" ", you've denied me three" (Mc. 14, 30).

The last supper, Juan de Juanes
After the dramatic revelations, once finished the Passover meal, Jesus and his disciples left the upper room and walked to the garden of Gethsemane. Then Jesus departed in the company of Peter, James and John, who said: "my soul is sad to the point of dying, stay here and watch" (Mc. 14, 33). And saying this went forth and, kneeling, began to pray: "father, if you want, remove from me this cup;" but not my will, but yours be done"(Lk. 22, 42). Shortly thereafter, the temple guard was present in the place and set on Jesus; the priests of the Sanhedrin had chosen to do so stop away from the crowd that followed him with fervor. In order to surprise helpless Jesus, the Sanhedrin had bought the Judas Iscariot will paying him thirty pieces of silver, apparently equivalent to hundred and twenty Denarii, which was the price that was paid then a slave or the rescue of a woman, in accordance with prescribed by law mosaic.
Pursued by the Sanhedrin, betrayed by his disciple Judas Iscariot and denied by Peter, Jesus faced only, and resolutely condemns the of the Sanhedrin, the rejection of Herod Antipas, who referred it back to Pontius Pilate, and the judgment that this pronounced after "wash your hands" and instead release Barabbas, apparently a ringleader of a seditious movement accused of murder. In vain the Roman Procurator had tried to avoid the crucifixion of Jesus, whom he considered actually innocent of the charges that are against him. Pressed by the priests of the Sanhedrin, which had excited the crowd so request the death of dangerous "agitator", he ended up condemning him to die crucified.

Christ carrying the cross (1580), by El Greco
The crimes that charged you the Sanhedrin were to announce the destruction of the temple ("what you see, coming days that it will not be stone upon stone";) LC. 21, 6) and recognized as the son of God. And, opposite the Roman laws, believing himself to be King of the Jews, which contributed to increasing political instability, according to the influential priests of the Sanhedrin. Once sentenced, Jesus was persecuted, tortured and forced to carry his own cross to Mount Calvary, where he was crucified.
The four evangelists are in agreement that Jesus died on Friday. The day of the death of Jesus was not a Sabbath day because the guards carried weapons and stores were open (José de Arimatea was able to buy a sheet and women scents to embalm the body). It is likely that Jesus anticipated the Passover supper one day. Gathered all the data (the Procurator Pilate governed between 26 and 36 A.d.), it can be ensured that Jesus died Friday 14th of Nisan (the first month of the Biblical Hebrew calendar) in 30 A.d., which equals 7 April 30 CE And on the third day according to the Scriptures, he rose and appeared to his disciples, encouraged them to preach the word of God.

Jesus of Nazareth and the new testament

The new testament

In theological terms, New Testament means the new Covenant established by God with humanity in his son, Jesus Christ, continuation and fulfilment of that old first Covenant with his chosen people, the people of Israel in Mount Sinai. From the literary point of view, the set of books in which the disciples of Jesus left evidence of the establishment and early years of this new and definitive Covenant means New Testament . The New Testament is composed of 27 books, unanimously accepted by Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants: the four Gospels, the Book of the acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles of St. Paul, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the seven Catholic Epistles of Santiago, San Pedro, San Juan and St. Jude and the Apocalypse of St. John.
The four Gospels inform us about the way in which were received in the first Christian communities the life and teaching of Jesus. It is necessary to note that, at the time of the appropriation in writing of the Evangelical traditions transmitted in the first Christian communities, several of the Apostles still lived. The Acts of the Apostles (probably written by Lucas between 65-80 years) describe so vivid and detailed, even if only partially, the beginnings of the Church from the Ascension and Pentecost (towards the 30 year) until the arrival of Paul to Rome towards the year 61. Luke, the companion of Paul, was a witness at first hand in all that refers to the mission and travel of his master and the communities he founded.
Unlike the writings of the old testament, of the New Testament were composed in a short period of time; specifically, during the second half of the 1st century. All of them were born in Christian communities and had the aim of strengthening the faith of them and new ones that were founded. It is difficult to determine the date on which the various books of the New Testament were written; but, with the support of internal and external criteria, Yes can be determined a certain chronological order in their appearance and, in many cases, the time in which they were written.
Thus, for example, the Epistles of St. Paul were written between the years 50 and 67. The first of the Epistles of Peter was written shortly before the 64, while the second (written not by him but by a disciple) and Santiago are difficult to date. The Gospels and the book of the Acts of the Apostles were written between the years 65 and 100. At the end of the 1st century are the Epistles of John and Jude, and the Apocalypse and the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Saint Paul writing his Epistles
They were many Christians have proposed in their writings as had happened early on, as Luke warns us at the beginning of his Gospel (1.1). But not all those writings of the first century were accepted as inspired by God, and therefore admitted as part of Holy Scripture. A selection was made before including them in a Canyon. The criteria used to determine the canonicity of the writings were three: 1 °) the Apostolic origin of writing, i.e., that had been written by an apostle or a direct disciple of some Apostle; 2 °) full convergence of the writing with the living tradition of the Church, i.e. its orthodoxy; 3 °) the use of the writings in the reading public of a number of churches.
At the end of the 2nd century, Tatian, disciple of Justin apologist, merged in one the four Gospels, in the work called Diatesaron ("four in one"); This work was translated into several languages and adopted as the basis of catechesis for barbarian peoples who were arriving to the Roman Empire. This shows that the four Gospels had no yet the authority which then had, although they had already begun to be cited as such since the middle of the 2nd century. The oldest list of works that we know is called "gun Muratori", a text from the 2nd century discovered by researcher Muratori in 1740. This document, which is missing the initial part that certainly spoke of Matthew and mark, mentions the Gospels of Luke and John, the book of the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles of St. Paul, the Catholic Epistles , and the Apocalypse.
In the 3rd century began to give the name of the New Testament to the whole of the considered canonical writings. But the list was not fully defined. This first appears in the writings of the historian of the century IV Eusebius of Caesarea, which, however, reflects the doubt about the canonicity of revelation, which was rejected by several theologians, especially the Eastern. St. Athanasius would be who at the end of the same century IV got that book was also accepted by the Orientals. The first complete catalogue of the New Testament was promulgated, together with the current Catholic canon for the old testament, at the Council of Hippo (North Africa) in the year 393. It was then confirmed by the Council of Carthage by the Orientals and the 419 at the Council of Trullo (692). And also by the ecumenical councils of Florence (1441, against the Jacobites) and Trent (1546) to settle the issue before doubts uttered by Luther and other reformers about the authenticity of the Epistle to the Hebrews, of the Epistles of James and Luke and the Apocalypse. Today there is no divergence between Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants about the canon of the New Testament.
In the New Testament the word Gospel means "good news" and is used to express the content of the Mission of Jesus and the early preaching. On the lips of Jesus, Gospel means the good news that God's Kingdom has begun to be present among men (Mc 1, 14-15). In the Apostolic preaching, it means the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus, because in these events they discovered that Dios had started to fulfill his promises.
The Gospel and its message is one, but is expressed in different theologies or various approaches according to different writings. We have first and foremost the approach of the four Gospels and the book of the acts of the Apostles, which offer us a theology of the memory of Jesus; These books aim to show that the preaching of Jesus is something historic and not an abstract ideological system. Then theology kerygmatic, own most of the Epistles of St. Paul and the Epistle to the Hebrewsis: is the theology of the ad, by the proclamation of what the Apostles have lived and experienced, the resurrection of the crucified-focused expertise. Praxis theology consists of guidance on the practice of the Christian life; It is true that almost all of the cards contain some guidance in this respect, but some, like Santiago and Pedro first, do it with a particular emphasis. Others, such as the Judas, the second of Peter and John, focuses more specifically on guidelines for cases of internal divisions in communities. Finally we have the theology prophetic, revelation, which connects with the old testament prophetic and provides elements for an interpretation of the history in the light of the coming of Christ.

The Gospel of St. Matthew

Matthew was a beneficiary of tax at Capernaum, where passed the "sea road" which roamed the caravans which from inside Syria on their way to the commercial centers of the Mediterranean and Egypt. The calling of Matthew to the apostolate is known in some detail, as in general the main followers of Jesus. Their status as tax collector placed him morally regardless of Palestinian society, which considered the tax collectors as public sinners by reason of his hated office. Through Capernaum, Jesus saw Matthew on his desk and invited him to follow him. Matthew answered his call and invited his companions to a solemn farewell Banquet, which was attended by Jesus. It thus undertook the sublime adventure of the apostolate abandoning their records and their gold, that could not now return.

St. Matthew and the angel (c. 1635), of Guido Reni
Faithful witness of the life of Christ, first collected a considerable flow of "such" in Aramaic and acts (especially of speeches) of el Salvador, particularly in views to an apology of Christianity to Jews. The Gospel of St. Matthew is the first of the Gospels and was written in Jerusalem, originally in Aramaic language, then translated into Greek. The date of its composition is not exactly known. According to the testimony of Ireneo, which claims that he wrote it "while San Pedro y San Pablo reporting the good news of the Gospel in Rome", it may be assumed that it was around the year A.d. 63-67 along with the Gospels of St. mark and St. Luke is the Group of the three Gospels called "synoptic", similar to its lexicon, the selection of the stories and the order , and just different in some details.
The book is divided into three parts. The first recounts the childhood of Jesus and his life hidden (I, 11): the genealogy of Jesus, the Virgin conception and the birth of the Savior, the adoration of the Magi, the flight into Egypt and the return of this country. The second part describes the public life of Jesus (III-XXV). Some facts of his preaching, as well as the circumstances that come to show that Jesus, though rejected by the Sanhedrin, the Messiah, and to point out the true nature of the Kingdom of God are. Finally, the third part relates the passion and the triumph of Christ (XXVI-XXVII): preparations for the passion, the passion and death of Jesus, his glorification, resurrection and appearances. The connection between different episodes is using very basic procedures, and, at times, summarizing what has been previously said.
The story of San Mateo is not a historical Jesus biography, as neither are the stories of the other evangelists. San Mateo brings together and links the words and deeds of Jesus, pronounced or in different circumstances. The preaching of Jesus, the parables (at number eight), maxims and discourses maintain this close union. It has been possible to realize a distribution of stories and maxims in triads in San Mateo and syllables. Thus, the temptation has three episodes, and Jesus prays three times in Gethsemane. The number seven is of the virtues, the petitions of the Lord's prayer, the parables of chapter XIII, the curses of chapter XIII; It is also recommended to forgive seventy times seven (XVIII, 22).
Altogether it can be said that if the style of San Mateo offers some unique features, these not away from him, as to other writers sacred, classical language. Compared with the of San Marcos, the vocabulary of the Gospel of Matthew contains lower proportion of elements that are not in the classical language nor in the writers. On the other hand, the Narrator is shown completely strange to Graeco-Roman culture, habituated to the reading of the Greek Bible, which adopts the special wording. Long speeches break the monotony of the narration. The "Sermon on the mount", as high as penetrated content of true poetry is very famous among them. Also, the invective against the Pharisees recalls the passion of some prophetic fragments of Isaiah. Numerous maxims confer a characteristic originality on the Gospel of St. Matthew. Calm and objective in his story, Matthew reveals qualities of order and harmony that clearly respond to their Semitic mentality, and does not renounce to leave that pop out from time to time signs of his old profession, as you can see by their precise references to everything that has to do with trade and currency.
Concern over cementing the life of Jesus in the prophecies of the old testament gives his short book a solemn tone, with echoes that are lost in the remoteness of the millennia. First pagan opponents of Christianity, Celso, Porfirio, and Juliano, emphasised in the calling of Matthew to accuse the new religion of inhuman madness; But if the gesture of Matthew was the result of a mature meditation upon how much Jesus had said and done at Capernaum, not lost one iota of its courage, and reveals an audacity that the ancients had no example. The "sermon on the mount", that Matthew is the only widely transcribed (chapter V-VII), is one of the signs of his religious and poetic sensibility.

St. Mark's Gospel

In the history of the early Church, Marcos is a secondary, but full of grace and liveliness. Many authors places him in the Gospel story, identifying him with the young boy who, in Gethsemane, appeared wearing only a sheet, awakened by the noise of armed people who had come to capture Jesus. They were also put his hands on the unsuspecting spectator, who, abandoning his light clothes, however, managed to escape (Mark's Gospel, chapter XIV, 51).
Marcos was one of notable men who renounce highlight to be devoted to the service of a personality of major initiatives. Well-to-do family, he took his first steps in the apostolate with his cousin St. Barnabas and Paul, who served as "Minister" in the first journey missionary, reserving foreign functions to alleviate those. Unexpectedly, tempers lacked and he wanted to return back, and so, on the next trip, Paul refused him among his companions.
It appears then in Asia minor associated with the Ministry of St. Peter, who gave evidence of a paternal affection. In Rome was companion of Saint Paul, who told him particular estimate asking for it from Ephesus at the time of their last captive once again. In the eternal city was asked to gather the memories of San Pedro about the life of Jesus, and thus wrote the second Gospel, in which the divine figure of the teacher revives with a wealth of specific nuances and colors that make the tiny piece more quickly but also more agile and dramatic Jesus biography.

Mark the Evangelist (1605), of Gortzius Geldorp
A safe historical tradition places indeed the wording of this Gospel in close dependence with the Apostle Peter. Testimony to the respect of Papias, Justin and Irenaeus, at a time close to the author, are extremely important. Saint Clement of Alexandria adds: "some listeners of the preaching of Saint Peter in Rome asked Marcos to put to them in writing what he preached Peter... Marcos had pleased them. When Peter did, did not forbid to frames that publish him or encouraged him to do so. but after acknowledging the truth of what was there written, approved content. A confirmation that "Mark wrote his Gospel as he heard of the Apostle Peter" we have it in the same text. In effect, on it put highlight Pedro actions which lead to its dishonour and, is silent on the other hand, the stories by other evangelists, which lead to his glory. Thus, San Marcos more thoroughly than the other evangelists described the triple denial of Peter. Among the speeches of Peter in the Acts of the Apostles and the second Gospel warns in addition an analogy for conception and development of catechesis that makes plausible the existence of a relationship of dependency between the two works.
Written in Greek language in Rome, at uncertain date, St. Mark's Gospel is the shortest of the four. It dispenses with expose news of child life of Jesus, and has only his public life, beginning with the words "Beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ son of God". It can be divided into four parts. The first, that of the beginning of the Public Ministry, develop the preaching of Juan Bautista in the desert (I, 1-5) from where comes the Evangelist the lion symbol; the baptism of Jesus and his retirement in the desert (I, 9-13); the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God on in Capernaum and its environs (I, 14-III, 35), and teaching and the miracles around the Lake of Tiberias (IV, 1 - V, 43). The second part tells the Ministry of Jesus in Galilee; Jesus returns to his homeland, chooses his disciples, and with them is going beyond the sea of Tiberias (VI, 1 - VII, 23); from there to the northern Galilee, to tyre and Sidon; After having worked miracles happens by Filipo Cesarea, descends to Tabor and finally turns to find at Capernaum (VII, 24-IX, 50). In the third part, Jesus crosses Perea and goes to Judea (X). In the fourth and last are described the passion and Holy week (XI, 1 - XVI, 18). Appendix (XVI, 19 - 20th) trafficking in the Mission of Jesus and of the effectiveness of the Apostolic mission.
Regardless of the first part, which can be considered as a proem, in the second, dedicated to the Ministry of Jesus in Galilee, the order of the stories appears to be historical and geographical, as evidenced by the many spatial and temporal directions. However, cannot it be excluded that this order is a bit artificial; It is not, indeed, very likely that Jesus had not happened never twice for the same region. As in the Gospel of St. Matthew, also in this note the Messianic revelation slow progress. Jesus, at the beginning of his Ministry, does not make any indication his disciples of his mission; prepared gradually, and finally does proclaim Peter that he is the Messiah, the son of God. It progressively unveils what must be the Messianic Kingdom and becomes very late predict his passion, death and resurrection.
The story of San Marcos is, in general, identical to that of Matthew and Luke. Only contains five own pieces: two parables, two miracles and a historical piece in the third chapter (III, 20-21), which concerns the concern of the parents of Jesus. Two parables of San Marcos are the seed that grows (IV, 26-29) and the master that part of your home and do not know when will return (XIII-34). The two miracles are healing a deaf-mute (VII, 31-36) and the healing of the blind man of Bethsaida (VIII, 22-26). San Marcos has bequeathed us also phrases characteristic of Jesus, passed silently by other evangelists: "Saturday was made for man and not man for the Sabbath" (I, 27) or "all these evil things come from within" (VII, 22). The feelings of hatred that is manifested in the opponents of Jesus are expressed in the same way by the other two synoptic, but there is an important detail: the Herodianos had joined with the Pharisees and the scribes Jesus (III, 6).
San Marcos unveils the provisions of the disciples to the master, but concerns also the feelings and impressions of Jesus himself: "Jesus, returned the eyes towards them with anger" (II, 5); "he had compassion on the crowd that followed him, because they were like sheep that have no Shepherd, and began to instruct them at length" (VI, 34). Another feature of San Marcos is their procedure to dramatize the narration: does not expose the facts but that translates them into action and puts in the mouth of Jesus the direct speech.
Against the other evangelists, also appear as peculiarities of frames his perception of what is popular and his acute and literarily carefree style. Tradition speaks of the Levitical origin and indicates a physiological peculiarity of his own: had short fingers. Symbolized as the other evangelists, by one of the four rivers terminals and, subsequently, by the winged Lion of the Apocalypse, the medieval iconography represented it often accompanied by St. Peter, dictating him the Gospel.

The Gospel of Luke

The evangelist Luke, disciple and companion of Saint Paul in his recent travels and his imprisonment in Rome, is attributed to the third Gospel; the authenticity of the book was accredited by the patristic testimony and the Muratorian canon. Medical profession and Antioquia, San Lucas is the most erudite of the authors of the New Testament. Doctisimo writer and scrupulous historian, sometimes used a Greek of refined elegance, and in some cases not flees from the imitation of Semitic models. Dante defined him as "the chronicler of the magnanimity of Christ", and indeed, Lucas is sensitive to many such and facts of the teacher express to living the spirit of charity of the Gospel.
Endowed with a delicate sensibility, it highlights carefully the role of the women in the story of Jesus, and with inimitable grace narrates episodes of childhood in el Salvador. Art owes all more valued and frequent Evangelical inspiration issues. A tradition makes painter. this profession was, if not the technique, at least the art of an essential and dramatic representation of the events. San Lucas picked up the parables of Jesus more expressive and supreme value not only religious and humane, but also literary (for example, the prodigal son, the good Samaritan, Lazarus and rich glutton or the Pharisee and the publican).

St. Luke painting the Virgin Mary (1602),
of Marten de Vos
Also author of the Acts of the Apostles, Luke became aware of being the first historian of Christianity, and produced two works with secure intuition and rigorous method. The presence of his personality is only glimpsed through taste and measure that has and concerns material that had been collecting incontrovertible sources through long inquiries. He said Renan St. Luke's Gospel is the best book ever written; and I would have been able to add that the personality of its author is one of the most vivid and friendly of few gravitate in the orbit of the main protagonists of the history of early Christianity. In addition to being the first Christian historian, it is also the first artist of the new religion. In the proximity of San Pablo, Lucas lived a profound Christianity, whose origins and early developments expressed under the seal of the poetry and the truth.
Written in Greek between years 60-63 d. c., the Gospel of Luke was perhaps composed in the same Roman capital. In your organization, admirable even from the literary point of view, it can be seen, after a preface (I, 1-4), five parts. Part one: infancy; announcement of the predecessor and the birth of Jesus; visit of Maria Santa. Isabel; birth of the Precursor and Jesus; presentation in the temple; Jesus among the doctors (I, 5 - II, 52). Part two: preparing for public life; preaching of San Juan Bautista; (genealogy) baptism and temptation of Jesus (III-IV, 13); Ministry of Jesus in Galilee; miracles and preaching, as in the other synoptic (IV, 14 - IX, 50). Third part: last journey of Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem; miracles and preaching, as in the other synoptic (IX, 51 - XIX, 28). Fourth part: history of the passion and death of Jesus, as in the other synoptic (19th, 29 - XXIII, 55). Fifth: Resurrection of Jesus, his appearance, his ascension (XXIV, 1-52).
The episodes that appear exclusively in the Gospel of Luke are very numerous. From the linguistic point of view, the vocabulary is richer than that of the other evangelists and authors sacred; and while the book should include among the vulgar Greek productions, it has yet a superiority which approximates to the classics. Lucas avoids hebraismos, aramaismos and latinisms; you know compose with art and their narrations give a character at once simple and grandiose, express different feelings of people who enter in scene with grace and portray them in a perfect way.
Evangelist warns in the preface that intends to make a historical work. In his foreword imitates the great Greek historians (Herodotus, Thucydides and Polybius), and, like them, his book begins by pointing out the sources that are inspired by their stories, how composed them and the objective pursued. Relates his chronological data with the profane history (II, 13-III, 1), but, like the other synoptic, is not a simple chronicler of the life of Jesus; Sometimes, as San Mateo and San Marcos, it contains speeches and miracles in different circumstances. From the doctrinal point of view, the Gospel of Luke is called "ebionita", i.e., the Gospel of the poor. Poverty trumps the earthly wealth, and, in the middle of a wonderful light, appears the doctrine of universal salvation: Jewish individualism is expired.

The Gospel of St. John

Author in addition to the revelation and three Epistles, St. John clearly prevails over the other evangelists in the iconography, thanks to the important place which corresponds to John in all representations of the supper and the crucifixion. Among the twelve disciples that followed Jesus Christ, San Juan is the character most clearly drawn by the Gospels. Already the three synoptic give your figure a special relief, but the writings of John himself add abundant personal memories and reveal, in a subtle, humble language the innermost folds of his soul. The same periphrasis that Juan timidly designates himself as "the beloved disciple of Jesus", collect completely, summarizing them, the characteristics of his personality and spiritual adventure that this was intended. Indeed, only thanks to the predilection of Jesus becomes manifest your inner wealth.
Born into a well-to-do family of fishermen of Capernaum and the neighboring Bethsaida, St. John was one of the first followers of Jesus and was part of the triumvirate of intimate who had the privilege of attending the most significant episodes of the life of the master, as the resurrection of Jairus's daughter or the agony of Gethsemane. At the last supper, St. John rested his head in the chest of Christ (if John is identified with the anonymous beloved disciple of the fourth Gospel) and was the only one of the Apostles who was present at the crucifixion.
The Evangelist was welcomed in the fleshly Jesus family, becoming the faithful guardian of Maria, and became the most sublime singer of Christian love. His is the phrase "God is love", and, before being banished to Patmos, and after having suffered, according to legend, immersion in a cauldron of oil boiling without feeling any damage, advised the disciples: "my children, love one another." This is the great precept which Christ has taught us." The last words Jesucristo addressed to you on earth are almost a doubt, an allusion symbolic and certainly the sign of a singular destination: "and if I want to make this run until my return?..." (John, XXI, 21-22). That is why, in his old age, spread the rumor that would not die until the return of Christ. He died in Ephesus, apparently at very advanced age.

St. John the Evangelist (c. 1600), by El Greco
Written in Greek language (and undoubtedly in Ephesus,) according to authorized Ireneo, the Gospel of St. John gave rise to long disputes about the exact date of its composition. Taking into account, however, the fact that the apostle wrote it in old age (as Epiphanius and Eusebius), returning from his banishment under emperor Nerva (96-98), and that, according to concerns Jerome, its author died 68 years after the passion of Jesus, can be established almost with certainty the date of writing around the years 96-98 d. c.
Two Papyri Ryland's and Egerton, respectively discovered in 1920 and 1934 in Egypt, do us know that this Gospel was recognized and even went together with the synoptic Gospels from the first half of the 2nd century. The book begins with a prologue wherein is contained, even more than in the pages of San Pablo, much of Christian theology. In it (I, 1-18) is presented to the person of the word of God, light and life, which manifests itself by means of the creation and the incarnation and giving, receive that believing in him, divine sonship. Already in these initial statements are the three truths preached throughout the book: Jesus is substantially United with Dios the Padre; It is light (truth) and life (Grace) men; Finally, it is true God.
In the first part (I, 19-XII, 50) Jesucristo is revealed to the world; It shines in the darkness who do not want to receive him. This manifestation of Jesus is prepared through the testimony of Juan Bautista, the calling of the disciples and a first miracle in which shines the glory of Christ. It follows the first public demonstration in Judea, after which is received first by the Samaritans and then by the Galileans as Savior of the world. A new demonstration in Jerusalem, with the miracle of the Bethesda pool, aroused hatred of Jews. In Galilee, Christ reveals himself as the bread of life and responds with the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves; the town does not believe, nor his disciples; only Peter expresses his faith in the words of the Savior.
In chapters VII, VIII, IX and X Jesus much more accurately its doctrine, with the consequent increase of animosity by the Pharisees. It is light of the world, and shows him with the cure of the man born blind. The miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus reveals all its power and confirms its mission. Jesus goes to Ephraim, then to Bethany in the home of Lazarus, triumphantly enters Jerusalem and last, speaks of its greatness and its future exaltation. At this point, the Evangelist appears to make a compilation of the above talking about the causes of unbelief and claiming a categorical affirmation of Christ.
In the second part (XIII-XXI, 25), shines the charity of Christ to his disciples. Given at the last supper the Supreme examples of charity and humility, and in a last speech comforts them and confirm them in their faith. In his last prayer to the father, Jesus asks his glorification, protection and sanctification to his Apostles and charity and the union to all those who shall believe on it. From Chapter XVIII to XXI, 24 gets manifest the charity of Christ, and his messianic status in the passion and the resurrection. The last two verses give us indications about the author of the Gospel and inform us of that in it are contained as much as Jesus did.
The most outstanding character of this Gospel, if it is confronted with the synoptic, is its richness in speeches and his poverty in stories. This above all doctrinal trend does not exclude a historical exhibition. But chronology is limited to the main lines, the distribution of the life of Christ within the Easter. Evangelist set out three objectives. The first, dogmatic, prove that Jesus is the Messiah predicted by the prophets, the true son of God (II, 17; III, 14; III, 18; XIX, 24, 28, 36; XX, 31). Jesus is constantly described as the true promised by the prophets, and his divinity is clearly attested throughout the book.
The second objective intends to San Juan is apologetic: refute the mistake of Cerinthus, which denied the divinity of Christ; also disprove to the ebionitas, prisoners of the same heresy. You might not think of Gnostic heresies and of Marcion, which emerged later, but it can be said that it destroyed them in advance. His third goal is historic: is evident in San Juan the intention of completing the narrative of the synoptic. Saint Clement of Alexandria noted that the earthly mission of Jesus had been confirmed in the other three Gospels, and that was the responsibility of San Juan narrate the facts that witnessing the divine Ministry of Jesus Christ. And the Evangelist himself confirmed it (XX, 31).
This discards many facts which is known by the other Gospels; does not concern all the moral precepts of the Sermon on the mount, not review more than five miracles of Jesus, does not mention the Jesus trip to Galilee; just remember the miracles and admirable discourses of Jesus in Judea and Jerusalem, which the others were silent. If you recorded two unique facts prior to the passion, already concerned by the synoptic (the multiplication of the loaves and the passage of Jesus over the waves) is to better explain the words of the Savior in Judea and Jerusalem. Add, moreover, episode of the washing of the feet at dinner, fixed the time of the imprisonment of Juan Bautista, precise place of Peter's three denials, determines four Easter and provides the means for coordinating all the events narrated by the other three evangelists and establish an exact match.
The Gospel of St. John comes by theological statements presented with authority and solemnity and high literary form; the episode of Jesus and the Samaritan woman and the story of the resurrection of Lazarus can be compared with the best pages of San Lucas. Some story, such as the healing of the man born blind, has instead a color more Semitic, closer to the style of San Marcos. San Juan is dogmatic and theologian par excellence: is the poet and philosopher of the Catholic spirituality. Sources said: "If the synoptic are the scoop and the part best of Sacred Scripture, the Gospel of John is the scoop of the synoptic and the entire New Testament". San Juan possesses in itself something sweeter and more affectionate than the other evangelists: is pleased to tell candidly the love that Jesus felt for him, and to formulate the theology of Christianity, emphasizes the values of full of love and mercy that would not already be separated from religion.

Jesus of Nazareth and the new testament

Christianity today is the religion with the largest number of followers around the world: almost one-third of humanity is Christian (around two billion people) and by their ability to adapt is present on all continents. Over the two thousand years of its history, they appeared in their midst of differences and divisions that have given rise to a plurality of churches. All of them agree on some fundamental beliefs (the unity of God and the messiahship and divinity of Jesus), but differ in the institutional structure, the valuation of certain biblical and ecclesiastical traditions and management of community rituals.
Three large blocks can be set to that, irrespective of differences under within each group, may be called Eastern and Protestant or reformed Catholic, Orthodox Christianity. These three large churches (Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant) essentially share the same sacred scripture (the Bible) and arise after a first millennium of Christianity undivided, though not free from heresies that suffered marginalization and persecution.

The origins

We know the origins and formation of the Christianity by, first of all, the books of the New Testament, which concern life and death of Jesus and some facts relating to the establishment of the Church. Still being written for believers in the Christian message, and not treated, impartial witnesses, therefore, many of their reports respond perfectly to the ideology and practices of the Jewish and the helenistico-romano world in which the facts are. On the other hand, although they represent a defence of the Christian reality, constitute a pulsating and sincere testimony more than an apology at all costs. Just think in little airy paper again and again making the first leaders of the community, the Apostles of Jesus: obtuse, selfish, cowardly and disloyal to the master. The portrait of Jesus himself is brimming with humanity even in the same activity supernatural cure sick and expel demons.
The Gospel of Luke tries to connect the Christian fact with some events of universal history: "in the fifteenth year of the Empire of Tiberius Caesar with Pontius Pilate Procurator of Judea..." (Lucas 3, l) Juan Bautista started his activity of preacher, exhorting the people to the conversion of their sins and receive a baptism of penance, which he ran in the waters of the Jordan.

The baptism of Christ (1723), of Francesco Trevisani
There was Jesus to be baptized by John. And, after retiring to the desert for a period of forty day meditation, Jesus began his public Ministry, that would last about three years, according to the most probable computation. Among the first followers chose twelve, which he called "Apostles", or emissaries, because it would soon send them to preach his message, saying in essence: "be fulfilled time;" the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel"(Mark 1: 15). All in a language that was only accessible to the faithful of Israel, for they were expressions and ideas of the old testament.
Jesus taught in synagogues, squares, fields and banks of galileo Genezaret Lake, commenting on passages from the prophets and precepts of the law, with great acceptance of the simple public and first misgivings and hostility after by religious leaders and the official priesthood, represented by the sect of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. His message of the Kingdom of God is enveloped in parables or comparisons made of agricultural and domestic life that captured the attention of the listeners by its vivid and familiar tone.
Jesus and his first disciples saw its activity mission as the fulfillment of the predictions of the prophets announcing the liberation of the poor, the oppressed and the sick. From the moment he took the party of the people and of the sinners and outcasts with openness and humanity that irritated the legalistic mentality of the other. Irritation came up tone to the personal authority that Jesus exposed his ideas without resorting to the authority of teachers. The cry of the people was that nobody had spoken as he or anyone had had its miraculous powers to heal the sick.
The Sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7; Luke 6, 20-49) sums up the religious and ethical message of Jesus, the passage that defines its way of acting, which had nothing to do with a violent and warlike, messianism as they hoped and longed for the zelotas in their hatred of Rome. After that has been called "galilaica crisis", by which the disillusioned of their pacifism people returned back to Jesus, it was not difficult to foresee a tragic outcome. Jesus was aware of this and announced again and again his passion and death to the disciples, as they testify in unison the first three Gospels.

Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (c. 1620),
of Pedro Orrente
With its festive and peaceful entry into Jerusalem riding a donkey, Jesus let down completely to the violent, although the sympathy of the people further exacerbated the envy and fears of Jewish leaders. On the eve of the great religious festival of spring, he celebrated the Passover supper with his disciples, giving his death a sacrificial character of Atonement, who had already previously suggested. The rite was going to repeat itself with its essential elements of bread and wine in the supper of the Lord or Christian Eucharist.
The servants of the high priest Caiaphas and other hierarchs apprehended him in the Mount of olives, East of Jerusalem. Jewish leaders was condemned for blasphemous, pointing out that it was passing by Messiah and son of God, and accused him before the Roman Procurator of rebellion against Rome. And Pilate condemned him to death on a cross. The sentence was executed probably on 7 April of the year 30 of the Christian era.

The spread of Christianity

Everything seemed to have ended in the most pitiful way: the hero nailed to a cross and his disciples disillusioned in their hopes, fled and hidden for fear of reprisals by the leaders of the people. But on the third day some believing women, with Magdalena María head, startled Peter and other disciples announcing that the Lord had risen and that had seen it live. Own disciples found the event and soon met and took to the streets proclaiming the portentous fact undaunted. The testimony of Jesus, which they had accepted, decided, and personal testimony that many accepted entering the new religious community by means of the confession of believer in Jesus and through the rite of baptism in his name is now added.
Early followers were Jewish monotheistic, which did not see any difficulty in reconciling their monotheism with faith in Jesus as davidic Messiah and son of God. Soon joined the group people from the pagan, Jewish proselytism had approached the Israelite faith that that is called and "proselytes" or "God-fearing". For reasons of pilgrimage and trade had many in Jerusalem, and soon their number equalising the of Christians descended from Abraham.
Jesus had limited their activity preacher and healing "to the sheep of the House of Israel", with just a brief foray into the pagan territory of Phoenicia. However, his message of universal love, of the Kingdom of God who welcomed everyone and Heavenly Father that it was all men, breaking any nationalist border. It was the tiny germ that would end in a broad-leaved tree to shade all. But the Apostles, Jews all birth and mentality, had their doubts about the Christian message recipients: If single or Jews and gentiles, Jews matched all by faith in Jesus and baptism. The so-called "Council of Jerusalem", celebrated the year 49, echoed the problem looking for a consensual solution.

San Pedro y San Pablo (c. 1605), by El Greco
But took the big step forward a Jew named Paul, who was born in Tarsus (Asia minor). Roman citizen, had studied with the famous rabbi Gamaliel in Jerusalem, and deployed a great zeal in the armada of Judaism and verbal defense, reaching violently persecuting the followers of Jesus. A strong personal experience completely changed his way of thinking and became Christian in Damascus, capital of Syria, taking the Roman name of Paulus, Paul. No one in history, with the exception of Jesus, would be more decisive for the fate of Christianity.
In his tireless travels missionaries throughout the Roman Empire, Pablo founded numerous local churches, whose faith was encouraged with his letters, which constitute the first written testimony of the new religion and a substantial part of the New Testament. Still Holy and blessed being the law of Moses, says Paul, does not justify or sanctifying the man: that faith, makes it as stated by the text of Genesis 15, 6, which also ensured that all Nations would be blessed by the great Patriarch Abraham (Genesis 12: 3). The death of Jesus, interpreted in the light of his resurrection, was a universal value of rescue and reconciliation for everyone, any that were their nationality, social status, and sex: "there is no longer Jew nor Greek; There is no longer slave or free; There is no male or female, as all of you are one in Christ Jesus"(Galatians 3: 28). It was conjured a schism or initial rupture. There would be no more than a Church universal and unique, sheltering Jews and gentiles, combined in the one faith in Jesus Christ. That was the decisive fact that erased all the inequalities and differences.

The institutionalization

All the local Christian communities shared the same faith in Jesus and his spirit's mysterious action; all practised the same rites, consisting essentially of the reception of baptism as initiatory ceremony of admission and the celebration of the Lord's Supper. But until the end of the 1st century not constituted a true institutionalised partnership. Before that there was actual a priestly class equivalent to the Jewish Temple of Jerusalem or to which swarmed around the helenistico-romanos cults. The collegial management was in charge of the "priests" (elders), "deacons" (servers) and the "bishops" (supervisors), until the latter appear at the head of every ecclesial community. Until then the direction of the churches had been in the hands of special charismatic characters, as they were the Apostles, the prophets and doctors, counting the spiritual endowments more than administrative. End of the 1st century he named "monarchical episcopate", with a single Bishop at the head of each community, begins.
The word "Bishop" comes from the Greek episkopos, "inspector", "vigilant". A text of the acts of the Apostles understood them in the sense of people who remain "vigilant" to Pastor the Church of the Lord. In the New Testament literature or their State or their functions are not defined clearly. You can admit that early Christian communities were governed by a Council of elders and that in a second stage there was already a single old man as the leader of each community. In the last years of the first century or in the early years of the second century was already widespread establishment of a Bishop to the front and as head of each one of the local churches.
In the early days, judging from what Paul says, the great core of believers in churches people of low social and economic status were it: "there are not many rich, there are not many wise..." If disinherited the Christian message represented a hope of salvation (as the mystery cults of the hellenized Rome had represented it), for the wealthy and "prudent", the ignominious origins of a Jewish "cult" which was also subject to persecution could not be too attractive.
From Nero to Diocletian, there was two and a half centuries of bloody persecution, motivated by the refusal of the Christians to the deified Emperor worship: looked them like rebels to the Empire, as traitors of lèse-majesté. But the abundance of witnesses of blood, as they were martyrs, gave a heroic tone to the Christian existence and fueled their sense of identity: the true Christians were those who suffered violent as his master and Lord's passion and death. Tertullian, a theologian from North Africa, saw the blood of the martyrs fruitful Christian seed.

Constantine I
The political decision of the Emperor Constantino I el Grande declare lawful religion Christianity through the edict of Milan (313) and within a few years become the official religion of the State resulted in a radical change for the Church. The bishops became in fact officials with spiritual and administrative powers, accentuating the pyramid nature of urban communities, while they contributed to the strengthening of civil institutions and, ultimately, to the stability of the Roman Empire, with one God, one Christ and a single Emperor.
The cities of Antioch, Alexandria and Byzantium in the Empire of the East, and Rome, in the West, were centres of political and economic power and headquarters Christian Episcopal with vague but real authority over the others. Along with Jerusalem, they formed the five Patriarchates. To Constantine move the capital to Byzantium, which since then called Constantinople, the Bishop of Rome enjoyed autonomy and power far superior to any other. The prestigious historic Rome evangelized by Paul and by Pedro (whose bodies lay there), have been reinforced the privileged position of the Roman diocese, without competition in the West.

Christian doctrine

The cessation of persecution and prestige that represented its official religion status facilitated the spread of Christianity to the boundaries of the Empire. But at the same time, communities are multiply with people of all social strata, it was more difficult to maintain the unity of beliefs. So much more that the addition to the Christianity of thinkers with personality introduced the critical reflection on traditional beliefs.
Since the 2nd century deviations had been given by work, above all, of Gnostic heresies. But it was in the fourth century when felt the need to give a very precise deposit of indisputable truths, which relied on the Apostolic tradition and which were accepted by all or most of the local churches of most prestigious to the ecclesiastical institution. These truths were called dogmas, made synthetically in the symbols or creeds. In principle was intended to explain concepts of the existing Greek philosophy realities appearing in a concrete way in the New Testament. Thus, joined concepts like nature, substance, essence and person, that were not included in the Bible but that could contribute to its better clarification.
Councils and ecclesiastical synods were oriented to the fixing of such fundamental postulates. "Council" is a Latin word and 'Synod' Greek word, and both mean Assembly or meeting. In ecclesiastical language designate the assemblies of bishops, usually convened by the Emperor, who discussed and defined truths and formulas of the Christian creed. Within that same language, the Council went on to designate the assemblies in Ecumenical (Universal) theory, or at least with the participation of bishops from various regions, while the Synod was more local and small.

The Emperor Contantino and the
Bishops at the Council of Nicaea
The first of the ecumenical councils of Nicea (325), which defined the divinity of the son, putting it in the same plane as that of the father, against the doctrine of the Alexandrian priest Arius. The first eight ecumenical councils intended to clarify concepts related to the Trinity of God and the personality of Christ, true God and true man. She was held at the first nine centuries and his authority is being recognized by Catholics, Orthodox and many of the reformed churches.
Due to the position of the Church from the 4th century in the Roman Empire and the V in the Byzantine Empire, the councils were supervised and sometimes manipulated by State power (all were held in the East and four in the capital, Constantinople) and had sometimes deep political and social repercussions. The proclamation of the divine maternity of Mary at the Council of Ephesus (431), against the opinion of constantinopolitano Patriarch Nestorius, was the subject of popular riots.
Throughout its first millennium of existence, Christianity was developing differently in the Empires of West and East, and the power struggle between the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople led to the schism of the two churches (1050). In the Empire of the East was formed the Eastern Orthodox Church, which was expanded to the North and evangelized to the Slavic peoples. In Rome, the Catholic Church was established and its area of influence covered central and Western Europe. The Catholic Church developed a centralized Church Government and established an immutable dogmas system. In the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation broke the power of the Church and, despite the Counter-Reformation, in Northern Europe flourished the reformed churches, which broke in numerous sects. Today the ecumenical movement is uniting all Christian churches again.

Theological reflection and the monastic religiosity

Apologists, cultivated the first form of systematic thinking with Justino Mártir to head, already in the same end of the century I: imposed the need to defend himself against Jewish and pagan attacks and to improve the image of Christianity before the thinking kind of the Empire. Controversial tone not never completely disappeared, given the persistent bloom of deviations or heresies within the Church; but the accent loaded in the deepening of the Christian mystery for the instruction of the faithful.
This work called the church fathers, with such illustrious names as Origen, Tertullian, Irenaeus, Anastasio, the two Cirilos, of Alexandria and Jerusalem, the three capadocios (Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregorio Niseno and Basil), took her to term Milan Ambrosio, the Antioquia Juan Crisóstomo, León y Gregorio Magno, dads who unified from dogma to music (Gregorian chant), the polyglot Jerome who worked that no one in the Bible, the Isidoro of Seville, first "encyclopedist" of the West with their etymologies, and, above all because of their mental depth, its psychological penetration and his enormous influence, Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, and author of works as famous as the confessions and the city of God.

Agustín de Hipona in a fresco by Botticelli (c. 1480)
Next to institutionalized religion, in the Egyptian churches began to break through a desire to religiousness more intimate and away from family and social obligations. It aspired to an escape from the "world" of men, that already in the New Testament (notably in Paul and John) appeared as a power contrary to God and Christ. Thus was born the monks, first in total isolation and then in communities of anchorites or withdrawn, devoted to penance and fasting, the physical work and spiritual meditation. In the West spread this form of ascetic life Benito of Nursia (Italy), ordering it with its sensible and measured, rule that summarized in the binomial ora et labora (pray and work). It was the standard accepted by all western monasticism, which, with the branches of Cluny (10th century) and the Cistercian (15th century), became the main focus of religion, art and culture in the middle ages Christian until the introduction of the universities and the emergence of the mendicant orders.
Extracted from the website: Biografías y Vidas
Biographies of historical figures and personalities

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