Posts Tagged ‘Hellenism’

Spread of Christianity
outline: waves of diaspora create hubs to facilitate spread of new religion, merchants and missionaries, St. Paul-religion mixed with gentile ideas and worship

Christianity spread through the Roman empire. Via Appia made it easier. St. Paul as a Roman citizen( he was from Tarsus in South- Central Anatolia) was free to move freely through the extent of the Empire. The Roman Empire was then comparatively at peace, The wide sovereignty of Rome gave the apostles of Christ access to different nations, many of whom had become civilized under Roman influence.
Since emperor Theodosius I (379-395 AD) the official state religion of the Roman Empire was Christianity. Subsequently, former Roman territories became Christian states which exported their religion to other parts of the world, through colonization and missionaries.
We may need to look back even before the Jews were expelled from Jerusalem in 70 AD. Under the Assyrian and Babylonian empires saw diaspora of Jews and were many hubs of Hebrew faith with local synagogues. Each group carried traditions of their fathers. Early Jewish Christians carried the new religion to these congregation of Jews. These early Christians were merchants and others who had practical reasons for traveling to northern Africa, Asia Minor, Arabia, Greece, and other places. But in the missionary zeal and sustained effort to spread the gospel of good news none would match Paul. St. Paul was converted from his Hebrew belief and had set himself to be an Apostle for Christ. His success partly owed to the groundwork laid by others before him.

Antioch was a major centre of Hellenistic Greece then part of Syria province. It was here the sect was called Christians for the first time. Bishop Irenaeus of Lyons in the second century believed that Paul and Peter had been the founders the Church of Rome. Despite of persecutions under many Caesars the Christians thrived and during the reign of Constantine the Great Christianity became the state religion. Influence of Greece was already in the cities such as Alexandria, Antioch, Rome, Caesarea, Paphos and Anatolia. These in turn would serve as hubs of proselytism and pagan ideas in course of time will mingle with the new religion*. The earliest bishops of Rome were all Greek-speaking, the most notable of them being Pope Clement I. (* sun worship: prayers are offered while looking toward sunrise in the East” because the Orient represents the birth of light that “dispels the darkness of the night” and because of the orientation of “the ancient temples. Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 7, 7, 43, GCS 3, 32. or Origen (c. AD 185-254) whose view was that the East symbolizes the soul looking to the source of light. Origen,67 De oratione 32, GCS 2, 400, 23.)
One of the Church fathers of Catholicism Augustine of Hyppo ( 354-430AD) was converted from Manichaeism that had its origins in the heavily Gnostic area of the Persian Empire.
Manichaean ways of thinking had an influence on the development of some of Augustine’s Christian ideas, such as the nature of good and evil, the idea of Hell, the separation of groups into Elect, Hearers, and Sinners, the hostility to the flesh and sexual activity, and so on. Spread of religion whether along the Silk Road or via Appia followed more or less a similar pattern. Unconsciously the venerable Church father while systemizing Christian philosophy would add his own intellectual coloring to Christian belief-system.
While Church of Rome was established in the West of the empire the converts from the pagan world would bring their own practices and add to the many rites and symbols of the pagan world. This we see even in our times. In Mexico or in India Christianity would be colored by the beliefs of people. These would be a point of controversy during the Reformation period.


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The American Heritage dictionary defines gene pool as thus: The collective genetic information contained within a population of sexually reproducing organisms.
In terms of human genetic make up we can understand that experience of our ancestors is passed forward and it is something like a safety-line thrown across passage of time. This support is achieved within species and not from species to another.
Nine-tenths of our genes are identical to that of a mouse. It doesn’t tell much. Neither would this: sixty percent of DNA found in the humans is also found in a banana. Where lies the mystery then?
DNA in a molecule is a genetic universe. A difference of .1 in a molecule would make some 3 million genetic differences. From such numbers Nature can give a mouse its own uniqueness as a man.
Yet Nature underwrites wellbeing of life forms on a standard that allows borrowing from species to species and from person to person.
That gene which makes a jellyfish glow can be implanted in another living thing to study its stress level.
We have organ donor programs by which organs from the brain dead can be used to replace the organs diseased and give new lease of life to the living. Like tissue match between persons so grafting a part of healthy skin onto replace the damaged skin by burns in another faulty heart valves of man can be replaced from animals as well. It would seem then for such procedures to succeed there must be a common ground?
Transfer factor is where a particular protein has the ability to recognize a disease and activate body’s immune system. So it will not catch it a second time. In Transfer factor we see how this immunity can be passed from person to another.

Outbreak of AIDS epidemic has been the scrouge of the present century. Yet is has a chilling parallel to the waves of Black Death that devastated Europe earlier. The strange case of Steve Crohn from California attests to the timelessness of experience. His lover Jerry succumbed to the epidemic and died on March 4,1982. He was the fourth victim to die of AIDS. Steve however remained immune to it, which seemed curious to the scientists. Steve’s blood carried HIV virus, 3000 times more than needed to infect a healthy cell and yet he remained healthy. Something was blocking the virus from getting in. He had a blocking system identified as Delta 32. It was traced out to his ancestry. His European ancestors carried this mutant gene as a result of the Black Death and they had brought it to the New World. Like Steve there are 1% of people in U.K and the U.S.A, carrying the gene.
In terms of use and experience transfer factor would indicate a long range view of things is Nature’s game plan. Old Medieval idea of God sending Attila the Hun as a scourge for persecuting Christians is not borne by facts. Rome had it coming and it took slow in maturing and from many chain of events connecting the fall of Rome was that of a power structure that could not handle a vast empire. But the excellence of Imperial Rome, its Law, literature, art, technology will travel further under many guises. Civic Architecture of Washington. DC is a telling example.
Imperial Rome riding the baggage train of other world powers was nothing new. But for Hellenism that Alexander the Great centered around Egypt (Alexandria) Syria,Persia and Macedon ancient Greece would not had such an impact on the West. . Rome in her ascendancy borrowed Greek ideals as her own. Just as Greece did in her days.
Archaeological evidences show assimilation of influences from Syro- Hittite, Assyrian, Phoenician and Egyptian cultures. The Archaic Greece came into focus with the sudden end of the Mycenaean culture. Cosmos as one will make both human excellence and evil go under many guises according the necessities of the age and change shapes. Thus if war did glorify might of kingdoms and added prestige to the bandit-kings who led the plunder it would another time will be waged for ‘the king and country’.


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