Robin Derricourt
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Rural Galilee to imperial cities
The beginnings and spread of Christianity
in Creating God
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From the middle of the 1st century ce, a new religious movement emerged in parts of the Roman Empire. Those who would be called Christians included members of the widespread Jewish diaspora and non-Jews, responding to travelling evangelists, of whom Paulos (Paul) was a leading figure. At the core of the new religion was a narrative of salvation through Yeshua (Jesus), a preacher from Galilee who was executed in Jerusalem, was said to have returned to life before ascending to heaven, and who was now considered to have divine status as the Son of God. Paulos had never met Yeshua or even heard him speak, nor had he joined the disciples who followed him in his lifetime, but he shared their beliefs in Yeshua’s resurrection and role in personal salvation for those who believed in him. Yeshua’s direct followers had initially considered the movement as specifically for Jews and were expecting an imminent apocalyptic change, but they achieved only modest success within Judaea itself. In his native Galilee, Yeshua’s message inspired a following which attracted Jewish people from outside that region. He travelled to the religious centre of Jerusalem in Judaea, where he was executed by the Romans after about 30 ce with support from Jewish religious authorities. By the later 1st century, a set of traditions had been recorded about Yeshua. The archaeological record begins to show the existence of Christian communities within the Roman Empire only from the late 2nd century, suggesting the growth of Christianity was both gradual and widely dispersed.

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Creating God

The birth and growth of major religions


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