The World's Religions

By Stewart Sutherland; Leslie Houlden et al. | Go to book overview

7

The First-Century Crisis: Christian Origins

John Muddiman

The period covered in this chapter, from the death of Herod the Great, King of the Jews, in 4 BCE to the end of the second Jewish war with Rome in 135 CE, is a period of lingering and terminal crisis in the history of Israel. Within it and from it arose two of the world’s religions, Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. Both had, in a sense, foreseen what was to come; and both responded in different ways to the same basic problem, of how a people who believed themselves to be specially chosen by God could live with a past but with no earthly future.

A few days before his death, Herod altered his will. He nominated Archelaus to the throne, the son most like his father in brutality, but ensured that even in the grave he would not be outshone by making provision for other possible claimants, his sons Herod Antipas and Philip. Amid threatened rebellion in Palestine, the Roman Emperor on appeal partitioned the kingdom between them. The northern territories were secure, but in Judea, Archelaus lasted only ten years. At the request of the Jews themselves, Rome deposed him and annexed his territory to the Empire as a third-rate and underfunded province.

The tax census which followed sparked off a new movement of uncompromising opposition. The rebellion of Judas in 6 CE, though unsuccessful, was to inspire a succession of Zealot uprisings. From a Roman perspective, the Judean problem at first appeared settled. ‘Under Tiberius, all was quiet’ commented one historian. But the local perception was rather different. Pontius Pilate, the fifth and one of the longer serving prefects in charge of the province, deliberately offended Jewish scruples by a

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The World's Religions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • General Introduction ix
  • Part 1 - Religion and the Study of Religions 1
  • 1 - Religion and the Religions 3
  • 2 - The Study of Religion and Religions 29
  • 3 - Religion and Ideology 41
  • 4 - Atheism and Agnosticism 52
  • Notes 60
  • Part 2 - Judaism and Christianity 61
  • 5 - Introduction 63
  • 6 - Israel Before Christianity 68
  • 7 - The First-Century Crisis: Christian Origins 91
  • Further Reading 110
  • 8 - Judaism 111
  • Notes 141
  • 9 - Christianity in the First Five Centuries 142
  • 10 - Eastern Christianity Since 451 167
  • 11 - Christianity in the West to the Reformation 193
  • 12 - Christianity in Europe: Reformation to Today 216
  • Further Reading 242
  • 13 - Christianity in Africa from 1450 to Today 243
  • 14 - Christianity in North America from the Sixteenth Century 257
  • 15 - Christianity in Latin America from the Sixteenth Century 265
  • Further Reading 271
  • 16 - Christianity in India from the Sixteenth Century 272
  • 17 - Christianity in China from the Sixteenth Century 279
  • 18 - Christianity Today 287
  • Further Reading 304
  • Part 3 - Islam 305
  • 19 - Introduction 307
  • 20 - Early Islam 313
  • Further Reading 328
  • 21 - Islam in North Africa 329
  • Further Reading 352
  • 22 - Islam in Iran 354
  • Further Reading 367
  • 23 - Islam in the Indian Sub-Continent 368
  • 24 - The Turks and Islam 390
  • 25 - China’s Muslims 408
  • 26 - Islam in Indonesia 425
  • 27 - Islam in the Middle East 456
  • Further Reading 469
  • 28 - Islam in Tropical Africa to C. 1900 470
  • Further Reading 485
  • 29 - Islam in Tropical Africa in the 20th Century 486
  • 30 - Islam in Contemporary Europe 498
  • 31 - Islam in North America 520
  • Part 4 - The Religions of Asia 531
  • 32 - Introduction 533
  • 33 - Philosophical and Religious Taoism 542
  • Bibliography 551
  • 34 - Mazdaism (‘zoroastrianism’) 552
  • 35 - The Classical Religions of India 569
  • General Remarks on the Religious History of India 571
  • Vedic Religion 575
  • The Renouncer Traditions 582
  • Religion 604
  • Mahāyāna Buddhism and Buddhist Philosophy 627
  • Hindu Philosophies and Theologies 637
  • Later Jainism 646
  • The Esoteric Traditions and Antinomian Movements 649
  • 36 - Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions 660
  • 37 - Modern Hinduism 705
  • 38 - Sikhism 714
  • 39 - Theravāda Buddhism in South-East Asia 726
  • Further Reading 738
  • 40 - Buddhism and Hinduism in the Nepal Valley 739
  • Further Reading 755
  • 41 - Buddhism in China 756
  • Further Reading 767
  • 42 - Buddhism in Japan 768
  • Further Reading 778
  • 43 - The Religions of Tibet 779
  • 44 - Buddhism in Mongolia 811
  • Part 5 - Traditional Religions 819
  • 45 - Introduction 821
  • 46 - Shamanism 825
  • 47 - Australian Aboriginal Religion 836
  • Further Reading 842
  • 48 - Melanesian Religions 843
  • 49 - Maori Religion 854
  • 50 - African Traditional Religion 864
  • 51 - North American Traditional Religion 873
  • Further Reading 882
  • 52 - Latin American Traditional Religion: Three Orders of Service 883
  • Part 6 - New Religious Movements 905
  • 53 - Introduction 907
  • 54 - North America 912
  • 55 - Western Europe: Self-Religions 925
  • 56 - Japan 932
  • 57 - Africa 945
  • 58 - ‘secularisation’: Religion in the Modern World 953
  • Further Reading 966
  • Index 967
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