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?? Jesus’ World

Who was Jesus? Where was he born? When?

What religion/culture was Jesus raised in?

Where did he live most of his life?

What was Galilee like?

What type of job did Jesus likely have?

What happens at the end of Jesus’ life?

The Roman Empire: Religion, Society and Culture

What are some features of Roman Religion as it was practiced during Jesus’ life?

What was the status of Judaism in the Roman Empire during Jesus’ life?

What was the political unrest that was occurring in Judea before, during and after Jesus’ life?

Who was Herod the Great? Who was Herod Archelaus?

Who was Pontius Pilate? What was his role in Judea?

Who was Caligula? And what did he do in 37 CE?

What was the Jewish Revolt? What happened because of it?

Jewish Society and Religion in the First Century

Was Judaism a monolithic religion or community in Jesus’ life?

What were the four main sects of Judaism at this time? And what were some important characteristics of each?





However, which sect did most Jews at this time belong to?

What was common to all of these groups?

What are the “insider” and “outsider” perspective and why is it important to look at both when studying the life of Jesus?

What is the difference between a “historical” and “biblical” view of Jesus?

What are the criterion that historians look to when determining what information in the Gospels is historically reliable about Jesus’ life?





Who was Jesus baptized by?

What is an “apocalyptic prophet” and how does that term apply to Jesus?

Who did Jesus associate with?

Who did Jesus argue with?

How did Jesus die and who killed him?

What happened after his death?

part 2

Early Missionary Work

  1. What happened after Jesus was crucified by the Romans and buried?
  1. In what city was the first major Christian community centered?
  1. Did early Christians consider themselves part of a completely separate and new religion?
  1. Who was the leadership of the Jerusalem Church?
  1. Who are “God-Fearers?”
  1. Who are “Gentiles?”
  1. Who is Paul? Why did he want to take the message of Jesus to Gentiles?
  1. What was the controversy at the Council of Jerusalem? And how was it resolved?
  1. What was the relationship like between Jewish and Gentile Christians in the first few decades after Jesus’ death?

Becoming a Separate Religion

  1. What happens to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 70CE?
  1. Why did this encourage Jewish Christians to break away from the religion of Judaism?
  1. How were many Christians treated in the first few centuries of Christianity’s existence?
  1. What the Christian movement a highly organized religion in the first few centuries of its existence?
  1. At this time, was there universal agreement about who or what Jesus was among all who identified as Christians?

A Diversity of Texts about Jesus

What was the first step in creating a Christian Bible?

What are the “Gospels?” When were they written? How many gospels have been found?

What are the “epistles?” Who wrote them, and how many of them have been found?

What are the historical works? What do they cover? How many of them have been found?

What are “revelations” or prophecy texts? What do they talk about? How many have been found?

What are the documents about Mary’s life?

Did all Christian communities use the same exact texts about Jesus?

Forming a Christian Bible

What is the general timeline of the writings of the Epistles of Paul, canonical Gospels and the Book of Revelation?

What writings were used by the early Christian communities?

What is Marcion’s Canon? When did he write it?

What is the “Diatessaron?”

What are Irenaeus’ references and when did he write them?

What is Athanasius’ Letter? When did he write it?

What are the Synod of Hippo and Council of Carthage? And what did they decide?

Are all versions of the Christian Bible exactly the same?

What are the differences between the different versions of the Bible?

What texts does the Christian Bible contain?

part 3

Constantine and Christianity Becomes an Imperial Religion

Who was Constantine? When did he live? What roles did he play in the Roman Empire?

Why did Constantine convert to Christianity? What happened at the Battle of Milvian Bridge?

What was the Edict of Milan? How did it change the status of Christianity in the Roman Empire?

How did Constantine support the spreading of Christianity?

What was the Council of Nicaea?

What is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre? What is it built on top of?

How did Constantine’s mother, Helena, establish the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchure?

What happened to Christianity in 380CE? What was the Edict of Thessalonica?

Council of Nicaea and the Nicene Creed

In the early history of Christianity, did all people who followed Jesus believe the exact same thing about him? What were some beliefs that early Christians disagreed on?

Who was Arius? What did he believe about the relationship between Jesus and God?

Who was Athanasius? What did he believe about the relationship between Jesus and God?

Who convened the Council of Nicaea? Why did he convene it?

What happened at the Council of Nicaea? What was decided and how was it decided?

What is the Nicene Creed?

The Council of Chalcedon

Did the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople settle the differences between various Christians and their views of Jesus?

What new debate about Jesus did it lead to?

What belief about Jesus did the Bishops of Alexandria promote?

What belief about Jesus did the Bishops of Antioch promote?

Who was Nestorius and why did he object to the title of “theotokos” for Mary, the mother of Jesus?

When was the Council of Ephesus? What was decided there? What is the “hypostasis?”

Who was Pope Leo? What was in his “tome” and why did he write it?

Who is Theodosius? Pulcheria? And Marcian? What did they believe about Jesus and how did they influence the development of orthodoxy?

When was the Council of Chalcedon convened? Who convened it?

What was decided at the Council of Chalcedon?

Non-Chalcedonian Churches

What is a “Monophysite Christian?” What did they believe about the nature of Jesus?

What churches are “Monophysite?”




Who are the “dyophysite Christians” or “Nestorians?” What do they believe about Jesus?

What was the Church of the East? And what happened to it?

What do some historical scholars believe about the consequences of these early divisions between the Christian churches?

part 4

What city is the Pope the Bishop of?

Who were the 5 original patriarchates?

What role did the city of Rome play in the Roman Empire? Why was Constantinople called the “New Rome?”

What are some reasons that the Bishop of Rome claimed to have a more prominent position than the other patriarchates?




What was the Great Schism? How did the Bishop of Rome’s role in the church change after the schism?

What are some of the Pope’s other titles?

What is the doctrine of “papal infallibility?” When was it instated?

How is a new pope chosen?

The Great Schism

What are some reasons that the Western and Eastern Churches drifted apart over the second half of the first millennium?

What are the main cultural differences between the Eastern and Western Churches?

What was the main theological difference between the Eastern and Western churches? (aka what is the filioque?)

Why were some of the actions taken by the Bishop of Rome seen as inappropriate by the Eastern patriarchs? And what were those actions?

What happened with Pope Leo IX’s legation to Constantinople? Who was involved? Why were they sent? And what was the result?

How did the Crusades cement the breakup between the Eastern and Western Churches?

What recent ecumenical actions have occurred that have helped the Orthodox Churches and the Catholic church overcome their differences?

The Seven Sacraments

What is a “sacrament” in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches?

What are the seven sacraments? And give a brief description of their meaning and how they’re administered?








What is “the sacramental life?”

How are the sacraments different in Protestant Christianity?

Characteristics of the Catholic Faith

What are the two categories of “authority” in the Catholic tradition?

What is “tradition?”

What is the veneration of the saints? And how does it play an important role in Catholic Christianity?

What is the doctrine of Original Sin? And who first fully developed the doctrine?

What does it mean that “salvation is a journey” in the Catholic tradition?

What is Catholic Mysticism and who are some of the most famous mystic authors?

What is monasticism? And how does it play an important role in the Catholic Church?

What is “purgatory?”

part 5

The Eastern Orthodox Church

Who are the leaders of the Orthodox Church?

How is their leadership structure different from that of the Catholic Church?

What is the title of the Patriarch of Constantinople?

How many ecumenical councils have occurred, according to the Orthodox Church?

Where are the most Orthodox Christians located?

Why did Orthodox Christianity become a minority in the Middle East and North Africa?

How did the rise of communism in Eastern Europe affect the Orthodox Church?

What is the Orthodox Church of America? How is it changing the religious landscape for Orthodox Christians in America?

Orthodox Theology

What is “theosis?”

How does the “image and likeness of God” play a role in salvation for Orthodox Christians?

For Orthodox Christians, how did Adam and the eating of the fruit affect the human condition?

Do Orthodox Christians believe in the doctrine of “original sin?”

For Orthodox Christians, what is Jesus and what role does he play in personal salvation?

What do Orthodox Christians believe will happen to everyone, eventually?

What will affect the individual’s experience of the eternal presence of God?

Orthodox Worship

What is the Divine Liturgy? Who is believed to be present there?

What are “icons” in the Orthodox Church? And how are they used?

What are some unique features of the traditional interior of Orthodox Churches?





What is the “hesychasm?” How is it done and what is the goal?

part 6

Europe Leading up to the Reformation:

How was “empire” giving way to “national identities” before the Protestant Reformation?

Why was there an erosion of respect for the Catholic Church?

What are some Renaissance ideas that helped pave the way for the Reformation?

What is the printing press? And why was its invention so crucial for the Protestant Reformation to be a success?

Who was some previous reformers that paved the way for Martin Luther? What were their ideas and why were they NOT successful?



Martin Luther and the 95 Theses

What was Martin Luther’s early life like? What was his family like?

What did Martin Luther’s father want him to be?

How did Martin Luther become a monk? And then a priest?

What events led up to Luther posting his 95 theses?

What are the 95 Theses?

When did Luther post them? Why did he post them on the Wittenburg Church?

What happened after Luther posted his Theses?

What was the Diet of Worms in 1521? What was Luther asked to do? Did he do it?

What happened to Martin Luther after he refused to recant his ideas?

Luther’s Theology of the Cross

What is “Sola Fide?” For Luther, why is it important for one’s salvation?

What is “sola Scriptura?” How does it change Protestants’ attitude towards the Bible?

What is the “priesthood of all believers” in Protestant theology?

What happens to the Sacraments in Protestantism?

What is “predestination?”

What do Protestants, in general, believe about the authority to interpret Scripture?

From Reforming the Western Church to Creating Many Protestant Churches

How did Luther’s “protest” against the Catholic Church inspire other voices and other breakaway groups?

How did the Church of England begin?

What is the Episcopalian Church?

What are the Reformed Churches? Who was involved in their establishment?

What are the Anabaptists? What do they believe about baptism?

part 7

What was the Catholic Reformation?

Why is it sometimes called the “Counter-Reformation?”

What was the Council of Trent?

What was the Peasants’ War? How was it related to the Protestant Reformation?

What was the Thirty Years’ War? How was it related to the Protestant Reformation?

17th Century Protestants

Who were the Puritans?

What are some of unique characteristics of their understanding of the Christian faith?

What role did they play in the American Colonies?

What is Pietism? What are some unique characteristics of their understanding of the Christian faith?

Who are the Quakers? What are some unique characteristics of their understanding of the Christian faith?

Exporting the Faith and Reshaping the World

Who are the Jesuits?

Where did they try to bring the Christian religion to? What questions about Christianity did these missions raise?

Who was the first country to missionize to India and Africa?

How were these missionary efforts linked to the slave trade?

What was the Romanus Pontifex?

What monastic orders first missionized to the Americas?

Who were Francisco de Vitoria and Bartolome de las Casas? What did they attempt to do?

Further Protestant Diversity

What is Methodism? Who started it and what are some unique characteristics of their understanding of the Christian religion?

What is the African Methodist Episcopal Church? Who started it and what were the circumstances of their origin?

Who are the Adventists? Who started it and what were the circumstances of their origin?

Who are the Seventh-Day Adventists? And why/how did they split from the Adventists?

What is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Who started it and what are some unique characteristics of their understanding of the Christian religion?

part 8

What is the Second Vatican Council?

Who calls it and when does it take place?

What are the results and consequences of the Council?

What is Pope John Paul II known for?

What is the Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal?

What has been the fallout from this scandal?

Who is the current pope? Why and how did he “break the mold” of previous popes?

What are some of the thoughts/opinions about Pope Francis today?

Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy

What is “biblical inerrancy?”

What were two challenges to Biblical Inerrancy that gained prominence during the 1800s? How did each of them challenge the inerrancy of the Bible?



Who was Charles Briggs? And what was the Briggs Affair?

What was “The Fundamentals” pamphlet? Who published it and when? For what reason?

Who gave the speech “Shall the Fundamentalists Win?” What was he arguing for in that speech?

What was the name of the counter speech? And what was Macartney (the man who gave this speech) arguing in it?

What was the Scopes Trial? When was it? How did it come about? And what was the result of it?

Where did most of the mainline Protestant churches end up after this controversy?

Where did most Evangelical Protestant churches end up after this controversy?

What happened in most of the major denominations in the US (in regards to intra-denominational conflict)?

What are the Moral Majority and the Christian Right? How did these organizations unite conservative Christians around political issues?

20th and 21st Century Challenges

Are there female pastors/ministers in some Protestant churches? What are some denominations that allow women to become ordained?

Are there female Catholic priests? Are there Catholic women who have become ordained in parallel Catholic organizations?

What are some arguments in favor of women’s ordination?

What are some arguments against women’s ordination?

What is the LGBTQ Challenge that many churches have faced?

What is an “open and affirming” church?

What is currently happening to the United Methodist Church?

What is the racial makeup of most churches in the US?

How and why did the Black Lives Matter cause Christians to question this reality?

Why has there been a recent push for multiracial congregations?

Future of Christianity

What are some denominations of Christianity that have been recently rising in numbers? And what are some unique characteristics of them?




What is a “non-denominational” church?

What is a mega-church?

Where is the center of the Christian world shifting to?

How is that likely to change the global Christian community?

In what ways may the Pandemic affect the future of Christianity?


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