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Facts about the Birth of Christianity in Palestine

MIT
1/12/2017
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Yeshua (Jesus’ real Aramaic name) was born in Bethlehem, a Palestinian city in the West Bank. The Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest churches in the world, marks the birthplace of Jesus and is sacred to both Christians and Muslims. ( https://theuglytruth.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/jesus-was-palestinian-and-why-it-matters/)

From historical perspective

The Christian religion was born in Palestine, a small stretch of land on the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The Jews considered Palestine their Promised Land, but because of its desirable location, it had been ruled by a succession of foreign powers for most of its history.

Egypt and Assyria fought over it for centuries, and then Babylon conquered Assyria and Palestine with it. Next came the Persians led by Cyrus, who allowed the Jews to return to Palestine from exile, then the Greeks under Alexander the Great around 400 BC. Rome took Jerusalem in 63 BC, and Palestine was still under Roman rule at the time of Jesus' birth.

Despite the centuries of conflict in the region, Christianity developed in an atmosphere very conducive to the spread of religion. The earliest Christians noticed this, affirming that God had sent his Son "in the fullness of time." The Pax Romana initiated by Caesar Augustus quelled crime, allowed for the development of roads throughout the Empire, and gave citizens the leisure to think about religious matters.

Christianity entered an environment already rich with religious diversity. First-century Roman Palestine offered the ancient religion of Judaism, the political religion of the Roman state, the personal religion of the mystery cults, and the intellectual and ethical schools of Greek philosophy.

The immediate religious context of Christianity was Judaism. Jesus, the apostles, and the earliest converts to Christianity were Jews and their teachings were presented in a Jewish context. The Judaism of Jesus' time was characterized by strict monotheism, a gradual shift from temple ritual to personal ethics, restlessness under foreign domination, a strong sense of community, and expectations of the coming of a messiah.

Christianity began as a movement within Judaism at a period when the Jews had long been under foreign influence and rule and had found in their religion (rather than in their politics or cultural achievements) the linchpin of their community. In Palestinian Judaism the predominant note was separation and exclusiveness. {1} Several Jewish groups had formed by the time of Christ that held varying views on religious authority, certain theological issues, and the response to the Roman occupation. The Sadduccees were the most conservative group. They rejected the Oral Torah (the Talmud and other Jewish tradition and commentary) along with the doctrine of bodily resurrection, much of the beliefs about angels and demons held by other groups, and the doctrine of predestination. They focused on the temple ritual that had been practiced for centuries and tended to be on friendly terms with Roman authorities.( http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/history)

Palestinian Christians are among the longest established Christian communities in the world. Hailing from the birthplace of Christ, they have a great history and are regarded by many as being the guardians of ancient Christianity. The following facts help clarify this:

1-Palestinian Christians are part of the oldest Christian communities in the world. The Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, where Jesus was born is in their homeland. 

2. Palestinian Christians belong to 15 different denominations. The majority are Greek Orthodox, with the rest made up of Roman Catholics, Armenian Orthodox, Copts, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and other Christian faiths. 

3. The Romans made Palestine a Christian country in the fourth century with Jerusalem as its capital. It was only with the spread of Islam in the seventh century that Christianity declined in the area. (palestinian-christians/2015/05/11/id/643815/)






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