The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great

By Henry Chadwick | Go to book overview

3 Jews and Christians Survive Rome's Crushing of Revolts

Hadrian Founds Aelia

Just as the eminent Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai escaped from the Roman siege of Jerusalem in a coffin to establish his school at Yavneh near Jaffa, so also the Christian Jewish community got out of Jerusalem and is reported by Eusebius of Caesarea to have moved across the Jordan to Pella. There is no good reason to doubt the veracity of these reports. Jewish anger against Roman imperial authority continued, with a second ferocious rebellion in Egypt and Cyrene in 112-115 and then a major revolt in Hadrian's reign, 132-5, led by Bar Cocheba 'son of a star' (in rabbinic texts called Ben Koziba, 'son of a lie', no doubt because the outcome was catastrophic). Bar Cocheba was strong for observing the prescriptions of the Torah and the traditions. Christian Jews, therefore, who had a Messiah already, felt unable to participate and are reported by Justin and Jerome to have suffered accordingly. The initially successful revolt seems to have been sparked off by Hadrian's wish to legislate against circumcision and also to rebuild the ruined city of Jerusalem, mainly inhabited by a camp of Roman soldiers. Some of Bar Cocheba's coins celebrate 'the liberation of Jerusalem' and evidence, admittedly uncertain, suggests that plans to rebuild the Temple were initiated. The early Christian letter of 'Barnabas' shows that this aspiration had not died. Hadrian's builders replanned the old city, incidentally confirming the bringing of the hill of Golgotha inside the new town wall (a fact implicit in a Good Friday sermon 'On the Pascha' by Melito bishop of Sardis about thirty years later). On this site, already venerated by Christians, Hadrian erected a shrine to Aphrodite.

Hadrian called the new city after his own family name, Aelia Capitolina, which remained its official name until crusading times. It was to be strictly pagan in its cults. No Jew was to enter the city. The main temple dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus was put on the site of the old Jewish temple with an equestrian statue of the emperor where the Holy of Holies had been.

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The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Church in Ancient Society iii
  • Prefatory Note vi
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: The First Followers of Jesus 5
  • 2: The Jewish Matrix 13
  • 3: Jews and Christians Survive Rome's Crushing of Revolts 21
  • 4: The Hebrew Scriptures in the Church 27
  • 5: Interpreting Scripture 32
  • 6: Apostles and Evangelists 43
  • 7: Women Among Jesus' Followers 53
  • 8: 'Barnabas', Jewish Christianity, Trouble at Corinth 56
  • 9: Ignatius of Antioch 65
  • 10: Didache 84
  • 11: Marcion 89
  • 12: Justin 93
  • 13: Irenaeus of Lyon 100
  • 14: The New Testament Text 108
  • 15: Celsus: A Platonist Attack 110
  • 16: Montanism: Perpetua 114
  • 17: Tertullian, Minucius Felix 118
  • 18: Clement of Alexandria 124
  • 19: Julius Africanus 130
  • 20: Hippolytus and Liturgy 132
  • 21: Origen 135
  • 22: Cyprian of Carthage 145
  • 23: Dionysius of Alexandria 161
  • 24: Paul of Samosata 166
  • 25: Mani 170
  • 26: Plotinus, Porphyry 173
  • 27: Diocletian and the Great Persecution; Rise of Constantine 176
  • 28: Constantine 190
  • 29: The Seeds of Reaction 201
  • 30: The Church at Prayer 212
  • 31: Athanasius, Marcellus, and the Gathering Storm 226
  • 32: A Fiasco at Serdica 240
  • 33: Religious Division 254
  • 34: Athanasius' Return 260
  • 35: Constantius' Double Council of Unity 279
  • 36: Julian and the Church 295
  • 37: Damasus, Siricius, Papal Authority, Synesius of Cyrene 314
  • 38: Basil of Caesarea (Cappadocia) 331
  • 39: Ambrose 348
  • 40: Ambrosiaster 379
  • 41: Donatism 382
  • 42: Monks: The Ascetic Life 394
  • 43: Messalians 411
  • 44: Schism at Antioch 415
  • 45: Jerome and Rufinus 433
  • 46: Pelagius, Caelestius, and the Roman See in Gaul and North Africa 446
  • 47: Julian of Eclanum 464
  • 48: Augustine 473
  • 49: John Chrysostom 479
  • 50: Innocent I and John Chrysostom's Honour 499
  • 51: The Christological Debate, I 515
  • 52: The Christological Debate, Ii 538
  • 53: The Christological Debate, Iii 557
  • 54: The Aftermath of the Council of Chalcedon 592
  • 55: Justinian, Origen, and the 'Three Chapters' 612
  • 56: The Ancient Oriental Churches 628
  • 57: The Church and the Barbarian Invasions in the West 633
  • 58: Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) 658
  • 59: Worship After Constantine 675
  • 60: Pilgrims 684
  • 61: Penance 688
  • Further Reading 694
  • Dates of Roman Emperors 714
  • Index 721
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