Early Christianity & the Greco-Roman World 27 B.C. - Early 400's A.D. - Album

SKU: 4352D-00-AL


Part 01: The Greco-Roman Ecumene

Dr. John Rao discusses the character of the Roman Empire under the so-called Principate, the form of government and social order established by the Emperor Augustus (27 B.C.-14 A.D.). This lasted until the late 100's and 200's A.D. It provides a crucial background for understanding the world in which Christianity was born and first spread. 

Part 02: Greeks, Romans, Jews: Education & Life in the Roman Empire

Greco-Roman culture on the one hand, and Jewish on the other, shaped their elites through a specific form of education (paideia). These could serve both as aids and obstacles to the spread of Christianity. Dr. John Rao describes their strengths, weaknesses and contradictions. 

Part 03: A Grand Tour of the Early Christian World: Part One

Christianity spread very quickly throughout the Mediterranean World. Here, Dr. John Rao discusses the varied ways in which this development took place, and the different character of Christian communities in the Holy Land, Egypt, Asia Minor, Africa, Greece and Rome.  

Part 04: A Grand Tour of the Early Christian World: Part Two

Dr. John Rao's explanation of the wide scope and distinctions of early Christian communities continues in this second lecture. Both of these discussions help to show how theological and pastoral emphases were different in Rome, Africa and points further east.  

Part 05: Early Heresies

Christ warned us that heresies would come. They were already alive in the First, Second and early Third Centuries. Dr. John Rao discusses here the problems caused both for the Christian community in and of itself as well as for its relationship with the Roman State by Gnostics, Mani, the Montanists and supporters of erroneous Trinitarian beliefs. 

Part 06: The School of Alexandria

 Christian theology in a sophisticated sense developed along with the foundation and growth of the Catechetical School of Alexandria and its greatest teacher, Origen. Dr. John Rao describes here the Neo-Platonic Alexandrian environment, Origen's brilliant achievement and the problems connected with the errors inevitably emerging from his innovative work.  

Part 07: From Alexandria to Antioch

Origen's profound theological influence extended into Palestine, Syria and Asia Minor. Here it also encountered many enemies who believed that he exaggerated his use of Platonic allegory. A more historical approach, deeply concerned for the literal meaning of Scripture and the proper use of words, with its most important center in the city of Antioch, began to contest the school of Alexandria.  

Part 08: Christian Life in the 200's A.D.

What was Christian life like by the 200's A.D.? What did Christians think and do regarding Penance? How had the liturgy developed? What were their attitudes towards marriage? How did their behavior match or differ from that of their pagan neighbors and what reactions did they experience from them as a result? Dr. John Rao discusses all these topics here. 

Part 09: The Church, the Roman State and Constantine the Great

The Roman State's relationship with Christianity was a peculiar one, combining certain benevolent features with assaults reflecting the hostility of the pagan elite and mob. Dr. John Rao discusses here the varied aspects of Church-State relations, Tertullian's critique, the intensification of the hostility due to the change of government/society in the so-called Dominate (200's A.D. onwards) and the extraordinary turn of events brought on by Constantine's legalization and support of Christianity. 

Part 10: The Development of Monasticism

One cannot understand the Fourth Century and the Church's reaction both to the Constantinian program and Arianism without exploring the massive growth of Monasticism. Here, Dr. John Rao treats of the different forms and centers of monasticism in Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor and Gaul.  

Part 11: Arianism: From the Beginnings Through Nicaea - Part 1 of 3

The Arian Crisis involved every single aspect of Christian life and growth: theology, philosophy, Church-State relations, pastoral organization and liturgy. Dr. John Rao discusses this complex Affair in three talks, the first of which covers the roots of the heresy, the work of Arius and the condemnation of his ideas at the Council of Nicaea.  

Part 12: Arianism: Post-Nicaean Arianism - Part 2 of 3

This lecture on the Arianist Crisis by Dr. John Rao treats of the indirect way in which men like Eusebius of Nicomedia managed to redeem the heresy and persecute all of the great men who had fought against it at Nicaea. The role of St. Athanasius and of the monks now becomes clear. 

Part 13: Arianism: Post-Nicaean Arianism - Part 3 of 3

A final discussion of Arianism concerns the work of the Emperor Constantius to replace the decision of Nicaea with an heretical or ambiguous definition of Catholic faith. The Papacy, St. Hilary of Poitiers and the West enter into the story, along with Cappadocian Fathers. Dr. John Rao continues the discussion until the return to Orthodoxy at the second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople.  

Part 14: Problems of the New Christian Order

There were many other problems that the emerging Christian order had to face besides Arianism. In this talk, Dr. John Rao discusses three of these of importance in the western part of the Empire---Donatism, Priscillianism and Pelagianism---and one revealing the kind of Church-State struggles which would follow the final condemnation of Arianism---the difficulties faced by St. John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople. 

Part 15: Building Christendom

Christian problems of the Fourth and early Fifth Centuries ought not to take our attention away from the fact that a new Catholic Order was everywhere being constructed. What did this mean for daily life? For architecture? For city planning? For daily work and entertainment? What affect did legalization have on Christian liturgy and sacramental life?  

Taken from the series: Dr. John Rao, "Early Christianity & the Greco-Roman World 27 B.C. - Early 400's A.D. - 2005 VonHildebrand Institute" 

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