When Jesus Became God: The Struggle to Define Christianity During the Last Days of Rome
- When Jesus Became God The Struggle to Define Christianity During the Last Days of Rome by Richard E.
- Rubenstein The following book review is provided by Matthew Johnson I just finished reading When Jesus Became God by Richard Rubenstein, and it is by far one of the best books I have read in regards to the historical issues surrounding the Trinity and the deity of Christ.
- Rubenstein not only does an excellent job in retelling history, but he does it from a very unbiased viewpoint.
- The book itself is a thrill to read, and he has an amazing ability to quickly engross you into a story in which you soon forget you are reading a very historical piece.
- So few people really understand all of this historical events that surround the Trinity, and even fewer people realize how many brave men and women opposed this pagan belief and were tortured or killed because of it.
The book retells all of the gross and startling details that surround the development of this doctrine.With an issue so crucial as the Trinity, it is imperative that we have a solid understanding of Scripture and history because both paint a very vivid picture that are quite contrary to what most of the Church is teaching today.If you want to have a better understanding about the historical aspects surrounding the Trinity, then take the time to read this book.
It is relatively short and will give you a lot of knowledge as you continue your search for Truth.The following are quotes from others who have read this amazing book!“Early church history has never been so fascinating… The author breathes life into the personalities that dominate this era in history.” “Rubenstein has taken one of the major religious controversies of the early Christian Church…and turned it into a flesh-and-blood encounter of real people that reads like an adventure story.” “After almost three hundred years of persecution, Christianity made an astonishing breakthrough in 324, when Constantine the Great became the emperor of Rome.No longer fearing for their own survival, Christians turned to the question of how to define what beliefs identified a “true” Christian.Led by two charismatic priests — Arius who preached that Jesus, though uniquely holy, is less than God, and Athanasius who argued that Jesus is God himself in human form — the debate over Jesus’ degree of divinity escalated from heated argument to violence and bloodshed.
- With vivid detail and METICULOUS research, Rubenstein re-creates the political intrigue, riots, and power struggles of one of the most critical moments in history — one with startling parallels to our own time.”
When Jesus Became God (Richard E. Rubenstein)
|When Jesus Became God The Struggle to Define Christianity during the Last Days of Rome Copyright © 1999 by Richard E. Rubenstein
|“When I was little, growing up in a mixed Jewish-Catholic neighborhood, most of my playmates were Italian-American boys. They were friends, but I learned to stay in my own house on Good Friday, since after hearing the sermon at St. Joseph’s Church, some of them would come looking for me to punish me for killing Christ. Once they caught me out on the street and knocked me down. ‘But Jesus was a Jew!’ I shouted through my tears. That idea, which they had never contemplated, infuriated them.”
|One reason the Arian controversy interests me, I remarked, is that because before it ended, Jews and Christians could talk to each other and argue among themselves about crucial issues like the divinity of Jesus, the meaning of salvation, basic ethical standards. . . everything. They disagreed strongly about many things, but there was still a closeness between them. They participated in the same moral culture. When the controversy ended—when Jesus became God—that closeness faded. To Christians God became a Trinity. Heresy became a crime. Judaism became a form of infidelity.
|OneAn Incident in Alexandria
|Note (Hal’s): Introduction and overview, with an account of the lynching of George of Cappadocia (in Alexandria, in 361) illustrating the violent intensity of the dispute as well as the degree of popular involvement. — end note
|Two factors, in particular, made the struggle over Christ’s divinity particularly intense. In the first place, it was a contest to decide a genuinely undecided issue. Given the growing intolerance of dissent within the church, its outcome would decide which belief would be sanctified as truth and which vilified as heresy. Furthermore, it deeply involved the Christian laity, including masses of urban workers and artisans with a strong propensity to express themselves by rioting.
|Christian bishops and theologians would not have gained the enormous power they wielded in the fourth century had they not operated on the assumption that people of normal intelligence and little formal education had the ability to comprehend complex religious doctrines, the judgment to distinguish true gods from false, and the will (with God’s help) to follow in Christ’s path. To a great extent, the active involvement of shopkeepers and bath attendants in thorny religious controversies was a result of the Church’s centuries-long campaign to turn the empire’s pagan subjects into Christians.It was not just Christ the evangelists and theologians were teaching, but a worldview derived originally from Judaism—a passionate monotheism fundamentally at odds with the premises of pagan thought.
|TwoThe Silence of Apollo
|Note (Hal’s): General background: the Roman Empire and Christianity. 299-311: Diocletian, Galerius, Maximian, Constantius; the Great Persecution; Peter of Alexandria, Melitius, and the Donatists. 312-324: Constantine’s rise and conversion; Licinius; martyrdom of Peter of Alexandria and Lucian of Antioch; the Edict of Milan; Constantine takes note of the controversy between Alexander and Arius. — end note
|What most pagan leaders—even those as far-seeing as Diocletian—could not comprehend was the fact that the Christians had not merely added another god to the pantheon. They had redefined religion itself. Their God was an infinitely righteous but merciful parent, His Son an eternally loving and faithful friend. To call a Christian fanatical for refusing to sacrifice to other gods was like calling a monogamous lover fanatical for refusing to pay court to other men or women.
|The willingness of many Roman bureaucrats and soldiers to look the other way while imperial edicts were violated reminds us that, for all its violence, the Great Persecution was not an attempt to exterminate the Christians en masse. One reason for this was that repression in premodern times was as inefficient as any other form of administration. While some local officials carried out their orders to the letter, others interpreted them idiosyncratically, allowed themselves to be bribed, or simply ignored them. The ancients were bloody-minded, but not genocidal; they did not ordinarily pursue systematic policies of extermination.
|ThreeA Quarrel in God’s House
|Note (Hal’s): Background of the controversy: Hosius of Cordova investigates; the Council of Antioch; Origen’s influence. Arians: Arius, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Eusebius of Caesarea anti-Arians: Alexander of Alexandria, Athanasius — end note
|Faced with the problem that had confronted all Christians since St. Paul—how to be a monotheist believing in only one God, yet still worship Jesus Christ—Arius advanced the view that Jesus was a creature intermediary between man and God. Origen had been a subordinationist, too, but he insisted (even at the risk of calling Christ a “second God”) that the Son was with the Father eternally. Arius seemed to demote him even further, perhaps to the level of an angel. . . or, Alexander worried, a man! All Christians believed that Jesus’ sacrifice redeemed humanity. What God did for the Son by resurrecting him and granting him immortality He could do for us as well, provided that we became new people in Christ. But if Jesus was not God by nature—if he earned his deification by growing in wisdom and virtue—why, so can we all.How, then, is Christ essentially different from or superior to us? And if he is not, what does it mean to call ourselves Christians?
|Did Arius deny Christ’s divinity? He did not, since whether the Son was perfect by will or by nature, whether he was God’s subordinate or his equal, God had raised him up to rule by His side in heaven and there was none like him. Surely, considering the difficulty of understanding such matters with certainty, there was room in the Church for differences of opinion about the Son’s mysterious relationship to the Father!
|Either/or: either Jesus was really God or he was really human. The Arians could not really imagine that he might be both, and so the tendency of their thought (even though they denied it) was to turn him into a man—or into some sort of third creature, an angel or demigod. Yet he had to be both fully human and fully divine, argued Athanasius. Could the death of a mere human being redeem our sins, grant us immortality, and, eventually, resurrect our physical bodies? Of course not! But could Omnipotent God, the Beginning and the End, suffer for our sake without becoming human? The answer was equally plain. Therefore, whether or not it seemed “reasonable” to people schooled in Greek philosophy, Jesus Christ was both true man and true God.
|FourThe Great and Holy Council
|Note (Hal’s): The Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (325), and the original Nicene Creed. Unlike the one generally known by that name, this Creed anathematizes several alleged Arian teachings, including that the Father and Son have a different actual existence (hypostasis). Trinitarian doctrine (one ousios, three hypostases) eventually contradicted this. — end note
|Public discussion should not be avoided, of course, but acrimonious debate was as likely to harden positions as to change them. Working together on a proposed creed, however, might provide the bishops with the chance to listen more closely to each other, forge new connections, and, perhaps, discover language that they could agree on. Previous councils had promulgated statements of faith to bludgeon dissenters into submission. Perhaps creed-making at Nicaea could bring ecclesiastical harmony out of discord.
|One reason for the passions aroused by the Arian controversy—and by intense religious disputes to this day—was that the main doctrinal issue acted like a magnifying glass, focusing the heat of many related disputes, not all of them strictly “religious,” on one contested theological question.
|Constantine saw the Great Council as an opportunity to strengthen the Church’s position in this new world by unifying it doctrinally and helping to reorganize it internally. Christianity had inspired his army, redefined his own destiny, and held out new possibilities for uniting his people. Now he would return the favor by teaching the Church the Roman virtues of law, order, and efficient administration.
|Why did Eusebius agree to accept the homoousios? Certainly, the pressure exerted by Constantine had something to do with his decision. But another factor was in play: the key word was ambiguous. Though Hosius and Alexander went to great length to draft a document that would expose and isolate the Arians, their effort fell afoul of the fact that there are no truly unambiguous words. Homoousios could mean “of the same essence,” but it could also mean of the same “substance,” “reality,” “being,” or even “type.”In any case, by accepting the amendment, Eusebius put his enemies temporarily in check. They suspected that he was interpreting the word in an unorthodox fashion, but they could hardly accuse him of heresy without questioning Constantine’s judgment.
|But without consensus—an underlying general agreement on fundamental religious and political issues—legal rules tend to become weapons in the hands of opposed groups. For this reason virtually every rule adopted at Nicaea, no matter how commonsensical and apparently neutral, became a cause of conflict rather than a method of resolving it.
|A look into the future, then, shows us Nicaea as a watershed. While it looks forward to the ultimate resolution of the Arian controversy from the Catholic point of view—the identification of Jesus Christ as God—it also represents the last point at which Christians with strongly opposed theological views acted civilly towards each other. When the controversy began, Arius and his opponents were inclined to treat each other as fellow Christians with mistaken ideas. Constantine hoped that his Great and Holy Council would bring the opposing sides together on the basis of a mutual recognition and correction of erroneous ideas. When these hopes were shattered and the conflict continued to spread, the adversaries were drawn to attack each other not as colleagues in error but as unrepentant sinners: corrupt, malicious, even satanic individuals. From bad Christian to anti-Christian was a long step to take, since all men were considered sinners, even those baptized in Christ.Alexander and Athanasius had already compared the Arians to those who had crucified Christ and divided his garments between them. From anti-Christian to agent of the devil would prove a shorter step, and one pregnant with violence.
|FiveSins of the Body, Passions of the Mind
|Note (Hal’s): 325-330: Constantine’s son Crispus executed; Constantine’s mother Helena on pilgrimage; Arian victories at the Councils of Antioch and Nicomedia. On Alexander’s death, Athanasius succeeds as Bishop of Alexandria and begins violent oppression of the Melitians. — end note
|Roman subjects were accustomed to hear of sexual hijinks and tragedies among members of the imperial elite; at court, matters of state were often family matters. But the ruling class now included bishops and other zealous Christians dedicated to—or obsessed with—ideals of sexual purity. Almost inevitably, disputes over religious issues took on a sexual cast. It was not enough to call one’s opponent a bad Christian or a heretic; he must also be a seducer, a rapist, or a frequenter of prostitutes. This tendency to sexualize conflicts added an intensity (and potential for violence) that made them even more difficult to resolve.
|The Arian strategy was brilliantly simple, bearing all the hallmarks of Eusebius of Nicomedia’s canny political judgment. Constantine wanted harmony in the Church above all else. He was convinced that the Council of Nicaea had been divinely inspired and that its creed could provide the basis for that harmony.They could demonstrate that their own interpretation of the Nicene Creed, homoousios and all, was shared by most of the bishops in the Eastern Empire. And they would offer to live in peace with those churchmen who disagreed with them.
|The problem that neither side in the controversy had yet grasped was this: whoever presented a detailed explanation of the relationship of the Father to the Son could fairly easily be accused of heresy. This is because it was difficult, perhaps impossibly so, to describe Jesus’ relationship to God in a way that did not seem either to deny his humanity (the Sabellian heresy) or to question his divinity (extreme Arianism). The real root of the difficulty was that Judeo-Christian monotheism posited an infinitely powerful, mysterious, single God who had created not only the world of people and things, but time and space itself. If Christ was actually this God, the human element in him seemed to dwindle into insignificance. But if he was other than God, then, unless one conceived of him as some sort of angel, he would be seen primarily as a man. For the parties in the Arian controversy, the result was to privilege negative statements and punish affirmative ones. While it was safe to criticize an opponent’s ideas, presenting one’s own theology in any detail was dangerous.
|The return of the Arians was not just a product of clever maneuvering by Eusebius and Arius; it was an indication that the apparent consensus reached at the Council of Nicaea was, in large part, an illusion produced by the bishops’ desire to please the emperor and to restore the unity of the Church. There were lessons to be drawn from this experience, but few had learned them. Consensus cannot be created by verbal formulas. Serious disputes are seldom resolved without a genuine change in the parties’ thinking. And a false consensus may be more productive of conflict than an honest disagreement.
|With the return of Athanasius to Alexandria, the history of the Arian controversy, and, with it, the history of the Catholic Church, takes a new turn. For if Constantine thought that Alexander was a stubborn “servant,” he can never have met Athanasius.For a similar combination of theoretical acumen, dogged adherence to principle, and political ruthlessness, one would have to await the advent of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Vladimir Lenin.
|SixThe Broken Chalice
|Note (Hal’s): 330-335:New Rome (Constantinople) dedicated; Council of Tyre excommunicates and exiles Athanasius. Constantine examines, and is swayed by, arguments on both sides. — end note
|To watch Constantine alternate between approval of the two enemies, Arius and Athanasius, gives one the impression of an unstable, vacillating man. The impression is not entirely accurate.The dispute itself also caused shifts of opinion, because each side seemed to have seized on an indispensable portion of the truth.
|In fact, Athanasius concludes, this is why the Arian doctrine is so unstable: without a solid center, it fluctuates back and forth between the Jewish and pagan positions. True Christianity, on the other hand, insists that Christ is man and God, simultaneously and eternally. The Arians hate the idea that God could have suffered on the Cross. But God can obviously do anything He wants to do. The essentially Christian idea—the idea that the Arians deny—is that He chose to become a human being and to suffer for our sake. He was a human being. But he was also God—and if this is hard to understand, it’s hard to understand! Who ever said that it was easy to understand God?
|The bishop ridicules the Arians for saying that Jesus, being a creature of God, had the power to grow or decline in virtue, and that he chose to be virtuous through the exercise of his uniquely powerful will. No, Athanasius says, Christ, being God, was perfect by nature and could not change as humans do. But how can Jesus be called virtuous if he had not the power to choose? The problem is not only that Athanasius’s theory mixes God with his creation, but that it removes Jesus entirely from human society, from the universe of moral turmoil, and places him in the unchangeable heavens. If Christ is not a changeable, choosing creature at least something like us, how can we hope to imitate him? And if he is God Himself, not our representative and intermediary, how can he intervene on our behalf?It substitutes the sacraments of the church for sacrificial action in the world.
|text checked (see note) Feb 2005
Religion Book Review: When Jesus Became God: The Epic Fight Over Christ’s Divinity in the Last Days of Rome by Richard E. Rubenstein, Author, Richard Rubenstein, Editor Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $30 (368p) ISBN 978-0-15-100368-6
- Richard E.
- Rubenstein is the author, and Richard Rubenstein is the editor of this work.
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers (HMH) a monetary amount of $30 (368p) 978-0-15-100368-6 is the ISBN for this book.
- The narrative of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, as told in the Gospels, are well-known in Western literature.
- But the Gospel accounts do not explicitly address or resolve the theological question of Jesus’ divinity, which is left to the imagination.
No one among the disciples becomes embroiled in a debate about whether Jesus is entirely God or totally human in the traditional sense.It took over 300 years for these issues to be brought up in such a serious fashion that Christianity was irreversibly altered by the discussion.After Auschwitz, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), Rubenstein, a Jew who famously declared that God died ″″after Auschwitz,″″ examines the details of a fractious period in early Christian history when Christianity was defining itself against other religious sects through a number of councils and creeds.
Rubenstein is the author of the book After Auschwitz, which became a bestseller.Rubenstein focuses his attention on the violent debate between Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria, and Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, despite the fact that he discusses numerous of the issues involving the divinity of Jesus.He claimed that Christ did not share God’s essence, but rather was the first creation created by the Father, and that this was sufficient evidence for his claim.As an alternative, Athanasius maintained that Christ was entirely God, saying that the incarnation of God in Jesus restored the image of God to fallen humanity via his death and resurrection.Rueben Rubenstein brings to life the lives and activities of these two figures, and he also explains how the Council of Nicea in A.D.
- 325 formed the Christian orthodoxy that was eventually used to condemn and expel Arius as a heretic.
- According to the author, as a result of the Council of Nicea, ″″God became a Trinity to Christians.″″ Heresy was elevated to the level of a felony.
- Judaism has become synonymous with infidelity.″″ As early Christianity formed against the backdrop of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, Rubenstein’s vivid historical drama provides a panoramic vision.
When Jesus Became God: The Struggle to Define Christianity during the Last Days of Rome – Kindle edition by Rubenstein, Richard E. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
- Early Christianity as it grew against the backdrop of the Roman Empire in the fourth century is described as ″a panoramic picture of early Christianity as it developed against the backdrop of Rome in the fourth century″ (Publishers Weekly).
- The tale of Jesus, as well as the account of Christian persecutions throughout the Roman Empire, are well known to most people.
- But the history of intense discussion, civil war, and murderous riots inside the Christian community as it was forming is a side of ancient history that is rarely discussed in academic circles.
- When the fourth century comes around, Richard E.
- Rubenstein transports readers to the streets of the Roman Empire, where a pivotal argument about the divinity of Jesus Christ is being contested.
Following the rule of a Christian emperor, followers of Jesus no longer had reason to be concerned about the survival of their monotheistic faith.As time passes, however, they begin to divide into two camps about the direction of their worship: Is Jesus the son of God, and therefore not the same as God?Alternatively, is Jesus precisely God on earth and, as such, equal to Him?
Two charismatic clergymen are at the front of this savage argument.Jesus, according to Arius, an Alexandrian priest and poet, is a lesser being than God, notwithstanding his holiness.Bishop Athanasius, a smart but angry man, believes that any reduction of Jesus’ divine status is the work of the devil.There stands Alexander, the strong Bishop of Alexandria, who is responsible for finding a solution that would keep the empire intact while also keeping the Christian faith alive in Alexandria.The author, Rubenstein, has meticulously researched the historical, theological, and social contexts of one of the most pivotal times in the history of religion, and has created a realistic recreation of that period.
- As the New York Times put it, ″A beautifully dramatic novel…
- Rubenstein has transformed one of the great battles of history into an absorbing story.″ “God: A Biography,” by Jack Miles, from the Boston Globe.
Jesus Many Faces – He Was Born, Lived And Died As A Jew
- Jesus’ identity is inextricably linked to his Jewishness, which cannot be understood in isolation.
- Harold W.
- Attridge is the Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament at the University of Southern California.
- Yale Divinity School is located in New Haven, Connecticut.
- What was the most significant religious impact in your life?
There is no question that Jesus was influenced by the traditions of Israel, and that he was exposed to their influence.However, it is unknown in what form such tales were transmitted to him in Galilee at the beginning of the first century.He would almost surely have been aware of the Temple in Jerusalem, and, according to legend, he would almost certainly have traveled up to Jerusalem for the main pilgrimage festivals.
He would have been familiar with the Temple’s rites and the significance of its atoning sacrifices.I believe he would have celebrated Passover with his family, and he would have been aware of the aspirations for divine rescue that are inherent in the celebration.He was most likely aware of the emerging Pharisaic movement, which promoted a notion of purity that was available to all Jews, not only those who were performing at the Temple worship, and which was gaining popularity.He would very definitely have been familiar with Jewish scripture.And we can see in several of his parables how he uses images from the Bible to make a point.
- For example, the big Cedar of Lebanon from Ezekial is likely to have a part in his portrayal of the mustard seed, which grows into a tree, and there is likely to be an element of parody in his account of the mustard seed.
- Consequently, his connection with the biblical legacy is complicated, but it is undoubtedly significant in his development.
- Shaye I.D.
Cohen is the Samuel Ungerleider Professor of Judaic Studies at Brown University as well as a Professor of Religious Studies.Is Jesus a Jew, and if so, how would his upbringing in Galilee as a young man have been impacted by his religious beliefs and practices?Was Jesus a Jew or a non-Jew?Of course, Jesus was born into a Jewish family.
- He was born in Galilee, a Jewish region of the globe, to a Jewish mother and a Jewish father.
- All of his friends, companions, coworkers, and disciples were Jews, and he had no problem with it.
- He was a regular attendee of Jewish community worship services, which we refer to as synagogues.
- He preached from Jewish scripture, as well as from the Bible.
- On Jewish holidays, he observed the customs.
- A trip to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, where he was under the control of priests, was the next stop on his journey.
- He lived, was born, lived, died, and taught as a Jew throughout his life.
- Any casual reader of the gospel text will immediately recognize this.
- That he was a Jew is not so remarkable as the fact that the gospels make no pretense that he was anything other than a Jew.
- The gospel writers had no idea that Jesus was anything other than a Jew when they wrote their accounts.
The gospels don’t even give the impression that he came to create a new religion, which is a concept that is entirely alien to the rest of the gospel text and completely alien to Paul himself.That is an idea that occurs to me much later in the game.Consequently, to claim that he was a Jew is to state an obvious fact, to state a notion that is so evident on the surface that one wonders if it really has to be said at all.Of course, it is necessary to say this because we all know what occurs later in the tale, when it is revealed that Christianity has evolved into something different than Judaism, and as a result, Jesus is no longer regarded as a Jew, but rather as the creator of Christianity, rather than a Jew.However, he was, of course, a Jew.Paula Fredriksen (Paula Fredriksen): Boston University’s William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of the Appreciation of Scripture is an expert in biblical interpretation.
Was Jesus of Nazareth a Jew?Why is it so essential to us, and why do you think it would have influenced his perspective of things?When I read the accounts about Jesus in the New Testament, I am struck by how fully he is assimilated into the culture of the first century.Religious observance and piety in the Jewish tradition.We have a tendency to become sidetracked by the principal plot thread of the gospels, since we are waiting for the tale to progress up to and including the crucifixion and resurrection.Jesus is, however, always shown as entering the synagogue on the Sabbath throughout that account, as well as the stories provided by the evangelists to fill in the gaps between Galilee and Jerusalem, as well as other stories.
According to the synoptic gospels, he travels to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage holidays, notably for Passover (in John), but also for any number of other pilgrimage festivals (in the other gospels).At Passover, Jerusalem is not the kind of location you’d want to be unless you’re very dedicated to participating in a great deal of ritual activity with a great deal of historical relevance.What we’ve learnt from the gospel accounts isn’t that Jesus was not a Jew in the traditional sense.Quite the contrary, in fact.
As a result, he is thoroughly immersed in the Judaism of his day.From the gospels, we learn that he is not a member of any of the groups whose distinguishing qualities Josephus provided us with information on.He is not a Sadducee in any way.
He is not a follower of the Pharisees.He’s usually in a heated debate with the Pharisees.He is not a member of the Essene sect.He is not a member of the insurrectionist movement.Moreover, because all of these Jews were always disputing with one another, the fact that he is arguing with other individuals who may be members of these other groups is simply indicative of his being a Jew, as was the case with these other groups of people.More information about Jesus’ Judaism may be found in Jaroslav Pelikan’s novel The Rabbi.
Who Was the First Disciple to Be Called by Jesus?
- ‘As he was wandering along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he happened to notice two brothers working in the fishing industry: Simon (also known as Peter) and Andrew (also known as Andrew).
- ″Come after me, and I will create you men who fish for men,″ he instructed them to do.
- They immediately abandoned their nets and followed him.″ – Matthew 4:18 – Matthew 4:18-20 It is the Feast of St.
- Andrew the Apostle, who was the first disciple to be called by Jesus, that we celebrate on November 30.
- Andrew was the first person to meet Jesus, despite the fact that we know more about his brother Peter.
Andrew was with John the Baptist as they came face to face with Jesus, whom John declared to be ″the Lamb of God.″ Andrew was with John at the time.Andrew returned to his home after spending time with Jesus to inform Peter of his discoveries.According to John 1:40-42, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two men who heard John’s message and followed him to the cross.
He immediately tracked down his own brother Simon and informed him that ″we have discovered the Messiah″ (which is translated Anointed).Then he took him to Jesus and baptized him.″You are Simon the son of John; you will be known as Cephas,″ Jesus remarked as he looked him in the eyes (which is translated Peter).
- As we can see from Matthew’s story, Andrew made no reservations about following Jesus, even if it meant abandoning his father in the process.
- They were fishing for fish one moment, and the next they were with Jesus, preaching the gospel and performing miracles as ″fishers of men″ in the name of Jesus.
- Andrew was commissioned by Jesus together with the other eleven apostles, and he was given the following tools to teach and cure in His name: The twelve were sent out after Jesus gave them the following instructions: ″Do not travel into heathen land or enter a Samaritan village.″ Instead, direct your attention to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
- Make the following statement as you proceed: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the ill, revive the dead, cleanse lepers, and expel demons from your sphere.
- You have received without incurring any expense; you will also give without incurring any expense.
(Matthew 10:5-8; Mark 10:5-8)
Andrew’s Role in the Miracle of Loaves and Fishes
- It is Andrew who draws the crowd’s attention to the child with the five loaves and two fishes, who is then used by Jesus to execute the miracle of feeding the five thousand.
- When Jesus lifted his eyes and saw that a great throng was approaching him, he said to Philip, ″Where can we go to get enough food for everyone to eat?″ (Matthew 26:35).
- He stated this to put him to the test, because he himself was well aware of what he was about to do.
- Philip replied him, “Two hundred days’ salaries worth of food would not be enough for everyone of them to eat a little.” He was approached by one of his followers, Andrew, who was the brother of Simon Peter, who said, ″There is a child here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many people?″ Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and divided them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wished.
- (See also John 6:5-9,11)
“Go and Make Disciples of All Nations”
- Andrew remained at Christ’s side throughout his career, and he was there at the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, among other events.
- During the early years of the church’s growth, Andrew moved on to share the gospel with people in Scythia and Greece, carrying out the Great Commission to ″Go, therefore, and make disciples of all countries, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…″ (See Matthew 28:19 for further information.) Andrew’s example of steadfast discipleship might serve as a motivation for us as we walk with Christ on our own.
- Allow him to use us for his glory without hesitation as we follow him, communicate the truth of his gospel, and are willing to be used for his glory.
- Andrew is commemorated at the Basilica in the West Buttress of the South Entrance, the Mary Memorial Altar, and the St.
- Anne Chapel, among other places.
Butler’s Lives of the Saints is a collection of biographies of saints (ed. by Bernard Bangley) The Way of the Saints by Cowan
Light a Candle
- We cordially welcome you to Light a Candle at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in honor of this great and venerable saint.
- Vigil candles are lit in the chapels located throughout the Upper Church and Crypt levels of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
- In each candle, we see a symbol of the supplicants’ faith and the intensity of their prayers, which are entrusted to the loving intercession of the Blessed Mother.
What was the real date of Jesus’ birth?
Since the early twentieth century, many Mormons have believed that they had discovered the precise date of the first Christmas celebration.An apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints named James E.Talmage declared in a book titled ″Jesus the Christ″ (1915) that ″We believe that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea on April 6, B.C.1,″ and that ″Jesus Christ was crucified in Bethlehem of Judea.″ Elder Talmage did not come up with this date on the spur of the moment.His inspiration for the phrase came from Section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which is a series of revelations received primarily through the Mormon founding prophet, Joseph Smith Jr.
- As a result of his book, many Mormons, from church officials to members of the congregation, now acknowledge April 6 as the true date of Jesus’ birth.
- Although Elder Talmage’s reading of Doctrine and Covenants 20 was widely accepted, not every member of the LDS Church did.
- Jeffrey R.
- Chadwick, an associate professor of church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University, published an article in the latest issue of BYU Studies on ″Dating the Birth of Jesus Christ″ in which he challenges the popular but not universal Mormon dating of Jesus’ birth to April 6, which is contested by many Christians.
- And he’s in good company to boot.
President J.Reuben Clark Jr., a counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS Church, wrote in 1954 that Christ was born in December of 5 B.C.or early 4 B.C., according to the LDS Church.Elder Bruce R.McConkie, who was also an apostle at the time, preferred the date of December 5, B.C., as well as several dates in 4 B.C.The date of April 6 is derived from the day on which the LDS Church was first formed in 1830, which is April 6.
″The rise of The Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it (the church) being regularly organized and established in accordance with the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April,″ says the first verse of D&C 20.Some people, including Elder Talmage, have read this verse as if it is the Lord speaking and revealing precisely that Christ was born on April 6, 1830, and that the revelation was given on that day.Steven C.Harper, an assistant professor of church history at Brigham Young University and a volume editor of the Joseph Smith Papers, said in a phone interview that this is a common interpretation of the verse.
- The discovery of a previously unknown D&C 20 manuscript, however, revealed that the verse was actually an introductory head note written by early church historian and scribe John Whitmer — something Whitmer did for many of the revelations, according to Harper — rather than a verse in the book of Mormon.
- ″As a result, they are distinct from the scriptures that Joseph generates by revelation.″ Another interesting point to note about the paper, which was disclosed as part of the Joseph Smith Papers, is that the revelation was delivered on April 10 – not April 6.
- Accordingly, despite the fact that it refers to the organization of the church just a few days earlier, the revelation — which, according to Harper, has nothing to do with the birth date of Christ — and its introductory verses ″shouldn’t be read as if it is a revelation of the birth date of Jesus Christ,″ he added.
- ″It is a revelation of the birth date of Jesus Christ.″ This is all I’m going to say about it: ″The interpretation that has been the most accepted throughout time is very much up to criticism.″ And this wasn’t the first time that John Whitmer used a phrase like this to refer to a particular day in history.
- ″It is now June the twelfth, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-one years after the arrival of our Lord and Savior in the flesh,″ he wrote at another point in his writing career.
- This style of terminology, in other words, was simply a sophisticated 19th-century means of expressing the date.
- If one adopts the interpretation of the verse in D&C 20 given by Chadwick, Harper, Elder McConkie, and President Clark, when did Jesus Christ come into the world?
- When it comes to the date of Jesus’ birth, Chadwick’s article goes into great length about the different indicators that the Bible and the Book of Mormon provide.
- The death of King Herod the Great appears to be the single most important piece of evidence.
- According to the Bible, Jesus was born before Herod’s death.
According to Chadwick, Herod’s death was recorded as occurring around the end of March or the beginning of April in 4 B.C.In addition to the reference of a lunar eclipse occurring before Herod’s death, the date on which his son was ousted by Caesar Augustus both validate this date.Both of those predetermined occurrences came together to confirm Herod’s demise in a seamless manner.
- It goes without saying that if Herod was killed in 4 B.C., a Christ birthdate in 1 B.C.
- seems implausible.
- So, since Jesus had to be born before April 4, B.C., is it possible to reduce the time frame even further?
- For pages and pages, Chadwick’s work in BYU Studies uses set dates to estimate other dates, and it is a fascinating read.
As an example, he examined the time of Jesus’ death in detail, comparing it to the length of Jesus’ life as recorded in the Book of Mormon, and factoring in events such as Jesus’ circumcision, which took place eight days after his birth, Mary’s 40-day ritual purification, the visit of wise men from the east, and a two-week journey to Egypt into the equation.As a result of all of these occurrences, ″at the very least, Jesus would have had to be born eight weeks before Herod’s death, which occurred at the beginning of April (4 B.C.).″ Chadwick then considers the Annunciation to Mary, in which she is informed that she will bear a son called Jesus.Luke 1:26 places this incident within the sixth month, which corresponded to the period between mid-to-late February and mid-to-late March at the time.What month was it in 5 B.C.?
- Add nine months to the end.
- The evidence from the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and Josephus’ history, together with input from archaeological and astronomical studies, all lead to a day in December of 5 B.C.
- (late in the Jewish month of Kislev) as the date of Jesus’ birth, according to Chadwick.
- As a result, it is possible that the true date of Christmas was on December 25, as previously believed.
- As Chadwick stated, ″it is just as likely that Jesus was born on the calendar day we call Dec.
- 25 as it is that he was born on any other date in the few weeks preceding or after that date.″ In those December weeks that we now call to as the Christmas season, ″his birth took place.″ [email protected] is the e-mail address.
Why is Christmas on Dec. 25? (It wasn’t always.)
There are a variety of various narratives as to how and when the date of December 25 came to be regarded as Jesus’ birthday as a consequence.According to most sources, the birth was initially considered to have occurred on January 6, approximately 200 A.D., when the Roman calendar was in use.Why?Although no one knows for certain, religionfacts.com speculates that it may have been the consequence of ″a computation based on an anticipated date of crucifixion of April 6 combined with the ancient idea that prophets died on the same day as their conception,″ among other factors.During the middle of the fourth century, the birthday celebration had been changed to the 25th of December.
- Who was the one who made the decision?
- Some reports state that it was the Pope, while others state that it was not.
- When Sir James George Frazer wrote ″The Golden Bough,″ a highly influential 19th century comparative study of religion and mythology written by the anthropologist Sir James George Frazer and first published in 1890, he laid out one of the most popular theories about why Christmas is celebrated on December 25.
- It was published in two editions: the first was titled ″The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion,″ and the second was titled ″The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion.″ (There are abbreviated one-volume editions of the book available.) It was published in 12 volumes by the third printing, which took place in the early twentieth century.
- Frazer addressed the subject of religion from a cultural — rather than a theological — standpoint, and he connected the celebration of Christmas to ancient pagan rites in his work.
According to the 1922 edition of ″The Golden Bough,″ which was available on Bartleby.com, the roots of Christmas may be traced back to the following: An illuminating legacy of the protracted fight is preserved in our celebration of Christmas, which the Church appears to have directly appropriated from its pagan adversary.Observers of the Julian calendar observed the winter solstice on December 25th, which was celebrated as the Nativity of the Sun, since the days begin to lengthen and the strength of the sun begins to rise from that point in the year’s cycle.The nativity ceremony, as it appears to have been conducted in Syria and Egypt, was a spectacular spectacle to witness.The celebrants withdrew into certain inner sanctuaries, from which they emerged at midnight with a resounding cry: ″The Virgin has given birth!″The light is becoming brighter!″ The Egyptians even symbolized the new-born sun in the form of a newborn, which they brought forth and displayed to his followers on his birthday, the winter solstice, to commemorate his arrival.No doubt the Virgin who conceived and gave birth to a son on December 25th was the great Oriental deity whom the Semites dubbed the Heavenly Virgin or simply the Heavenly Goddess; in Semitic regions, she was known as Astarte, or the Goddess of the Heavens.
His devotees constantly associated Mithra with the Sun, or ″the Unconquered Sun,″ as they referred to him, and as a result, Mithra’s nativity was celebrated on the twenty-fifth of December as well.Due to the fact that the Gospels make no mention of the day of Christ’s birth, the early Church did not observe it.The Christians of Egypt eventually came to regard the sixth of January as a day of celebration for the Nativity, and the practice of commemorating the birth of the Saviour on that day gradually spread throughout the region until it was universally established by the fourth century in the Eastern Mediterranean.In contrast, at the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth century, the Western Church, which had never recognized the sixth of January as the day of the Nativity, came to recognize the twenty-fifth of December as the correct date, and over time, the Eastern Church came to accept the Western Church’s decision as well.
- When it came to Antioch, the transformation didn’t happen until about the year 375 A.D.
- What factors influenced the decision of the church authority to initiate the Christmas celebration?
- The reasons for the invention are articulated with great candor by a Syrian writer, who is also a Christian, in his book.
- His explanation for why the celebration of the sixth of January was moved from the sixth of January to the twenty-fifth of December is as follows: The heathens had a tradition of celebrating the birthday of the Sun on the same twenty-fifth of December, at which time they would burn candles as a symbol of celebration.
- At these solemnities and celebrations, Christians were also invited to participate.
- As a result, when the Church’s physicians saw that Christians were gravitating toward this holiday, they convened a council and decided that the genuine Nativity would be celebrated on that day, with the feast of the Epiphany falling on the sixth of January.
- As a result, along with this tradition, the habit of starting fires has persisted till the sixth.″ In his exhortation to his Christian brethren not to celebrate that solemn day like the heathens on account of the sun, but rather on account of the one who created the sun, Augustine clearly alludes to, if not outright acknowledges, the pagan origins of Christmas, if without explicitly admitting them.
- Similar to this, Leo the Great reprimanded the widespread notion that Christmas was celebrated because of the birth of the new sun, as it was termed, rather than the nativity of Christ, as it had been done previously.
- The Christian Church seems to have chosen December 25th as the date for its Founder’s birthday in order to redirect pagan adoration away from the Sun and onto him, who was referred to as the Sun of Righteousness…….
- Despite its widespread acceptance today, this idea about the origins of Christmas is not without flaws.
For starters, it is not contained in any of the ancient Christian literature that I am aware of.Christian authors of the time period did make a connection between the solstice and the birth of Jesus: the church patriarch Ambrose (c.339–397), for example, depicted Christ as the genuine sun, who outshone the fallen gods of the old order in his description of Christ.
- Early Christian writers, on the other hand, make no mention of any recent calendrical engineering, indicating that they do not believe the date was picked by the church.
- As a result, they consider the synchronicity to be a providential sign, as well as natural proof that God chose Jesus over the false pagan deities.
- Furthermore, the first citations of a date for Christmas, which occurred about 200 A.D., occurred during a period when ″Christians were not significantly adopting extensively from pagan rituals of such an evident type,″ according to the book.
- According to legend, it was in the 12th century that the first connection was drawn between the date of Jesus’ birth and pagan festivals.
Among its many conclusions are the following:″Clearly, there was a tremendous deal of doubt, but also a great deal of interest, in timing Jesus’ birth in the late second century.″ When we get to the fourth century, however, we discover references to two dates that were generally acknowledged as Jesus’ birthday, and which are currently also honored as such: December 25 in the western Roman Empire and January 6 in the Eastern Roman Empire (especially in Egypt and Asia Minor).Despite the fact that the contemporary Armenian church continues to celebrate Christmas on January 6, most Christians observe the holiday on December 25, with January 6 becoming known as the Feast of the Epiphany, in honor of the entrance of the magi in Bethlehem.The time between became known as the holiday season, which was ultimately shortened to the ″12 Days of Christmas.″ The oldest known reference to December 25 as Jesus’ birthday comes from a Roman almanac from the mid-fourth century, which includes the death dates of numerous Christian bishops and martyrs, among other things.Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea on December 25, according to the first date listed: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae: ″Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea…
- ″ As a result, some 300 years after Jesus’ birth, we eventually find people commemorating his birth in the middle of winter.″ The bottom truth is that no one knows for certain why the 25th of December is celebrated as Christmas.
- —- Here’s a bit additional background on the non-religious character of Santa Claus, which you might find interesting.
- According to the St.
- Nicolas Center (whose Web site has the subtitle ″Discovering the Truth About Santa Claus″), the character known today as Santa Claus originated with a man named Nicolas, who is said to have been born in the 3rd century A.D.
- in the village of Patara, which was then Greek and is now Turkish, and who is said to have died in the 3rd century A.D.
- in the village of Patara, which was then Greek and is now Turkish.
- It is reported that his parents died while he was a child and that the pious Nicolas, who was reared by his uncle, inherited a large sum of money from his father.
- He was ordained as a priest and used his wealth to serve others, eventually rising to the position of guardian of children, performing miracles to aid them.
- It is claimed by the center that he was persecuted by Roman Emperor Diocletian and buried in a church in the year 343 A.D., where a material with healing properties known as manna developed in his tomb.
The day of his death, December 6, was marked by a festive atmosphere.How did this man, who was revered as a saint, come to be known as Santa Claus, the man with the red suit and white beard?Throughout history, Europeans have revered him as a saint, according to the St.Nicolas Center, while St.
- Nicolas was carried to the New World by Christopher Columbus, who named a Haitian port after him in 1492.
- New Yorkers recalled with pleasure their colony’s largely forgotten Dutch beginnings after the American Revolution, according to the center for historical studies.
- Saint Nicholas was championed as patron saint of both society and the city by John Pintard, a prominent patriot and antiquarian who formed the New York Historical Society in 1804, and he continues to do so today.
- Washington Irving became a member of the club in January 1809, and on St.
- Nicholas Day of the same year, he released the satirical novel Knickerbocker’s History of New York, which had various allusions to a jovial St.
- Nicholas persona.
Not the holy bishop, but an elfin Dutch burgher with a clay pipe, rather than the saintly bishop.St.Nicholas legends in New Amsterdam have their origins in these delightful flights of fancy: the first Dutch emigrant ship had a figurehead of St.Nicholas on it; St.
Nicholas Day was observed in the colony; the first church was dedicated to him; and St.Nicholas descends chimneys to bring gifts to the children of the colony.According to Irving’s own words, his work was ″the first notable work of imagination in the New World.″ On December 6, 1810, the New York Historical Society held its first St.Nicholas anniversary dinner, which was attended by over 200 people.The artist Alexander Anderson was commissioned by John Pintard to paint the first American depiction of Nicholas to commemorate the occasion.Nicholas was depicted in a gift-giving role, with toys and other goodies for children displayed in stockings hung above a fireplace.
″Saint Nicholas, my dear good friend!″ concludes the poem that goes with it.It was my intention to serve you for the rest of my life.If you’ll only offer me something, I’ll serve you for the rest of my days.″ ….With the publishing of the Children’s Friend, the first lithographed book in America, the year 1821 brought with it some novel characteristics.A flying reindeer pulled the sleigh that carried this ″Sante Claus″ from the North Pole to the South Pole.The anonymous poem and drawings were significant in moving iconography away from the notion of a holy bishop.
Traditionally, Santa Claus operated in a didactic style, rewarding good conduct and punishing evil, leaving behind a ″long, black birchen rod…guides a Parent’s hand to use when virtue’s road is refused by his sons.″ A safe toy was ″a lovely doll…peg-top or a ball;″ there were no crackers, cannons, squibs, or rockets to blow their eyes out or their pockets full of money as part of the gift.
- ″There will be no drums to startle their Mother’s ear, nor swords to scare their sisters; but there will be beautiful books to store their minds with knowledge of every variety.″ Even the sleigh itself was equipped with a bookcase for storing ″beautiful books.″ In addition, the book marked S.
- Claus’ first appearance on Christmas Eve, rather than on December 6th, as had previously been the case.
- It wasn’t until the 1823 publication of the poem ″A Visit from St.
- Nicholas,″ which would later become known as ″The Night Before Christmas,″ that a modern version of the plump Santa began to take hold, complete with reindeer pulling his sleigh and chimney as his delivery system.
- As early as the 1920s, illustrations by Norman Rockwell and other illustrators depicted a jolly red-suited Santa Claus; as late as the 1950s, Santa Claus was depicted as a gentle gift-giving character.
- Eventually, that Santa became the one that children in the United States and other areas of the globe are familiar with today, but St.
Nicholas — not Santa — is still widely recognized in many other nations as well.Was Nicolas the genuine deal?The bottom line from the Santa Web site is as follows: Some believe that St.Nicholas only existed in legend, and that there is no reliable historical record of him.Legends are frequently formed as a result of true, historical occurrences, yet they may be exaggerated in order to create more fascinating tales.
Many of the legends about St.Nicholas appear to be true stories with a dash of fantasy thrown in for good measure.However, the facts of St.
Nicholas’ life may include a grain of historical truth in some instances.In addition, they give an accurate depiction of his personal features, which are further developed in subsequent stories.(You can read more about those ″facts″ in an article titled ″Was St.Nicolas a Real Person?″ which may be found here.) That’s all there is to it.You may not have been aware of some of the history of Christmas until now.If you’ve made it this far, you’ve earned it.