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The History of Christianity Ch. 1-3 Vocabulary


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The region of Northern Palestine west of the Jordan River where Jesus carried out most of his public ministry.
The first five books of the Old Testament, also known as the Pentateuch and Law of Moses.
Torah (law)
The list of biblical books recognized as authoritative. Also, a member of a chapter of priests serving in a cathedral or other church.
Belief in the existence of only one God.
The relationship established between God and Israel at Sinai. Christians believe that a new covenant exists between God and the church.
thought or action in disobedience to the divine will.
The culture and ideas of ancient Greece.
hellenism (greek culture)
A Greek term meaning “word” and, in philosophical and theological usage, “reason” or “divine reason.”
Logos (“word” or “reason”)
The dispersion of the Jews outside their Palestinian homeland.
Diaspora (“Dispersion”)
Having to do with the end of the age or the last things.
A teaching carefully defined and established on the basis of described principles.
The divine spirit, understood by Christianity as the Third Person of the Trinity.
Holy Spirit
revelation of spiritual realities or truths that are normally hidden
In Judaism, a holiday celebrated 50 days after Passover. In Christianity, a celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ disciples
The divine assumption of human nature in the person of Jesus Christ.
Any system of thought that explains events with reference to two opposing principles, such as light vs. darkness, or good vs. evil.
The branch of Christian theology that deals with the identity and work of Christ.
Christian writers of the first four centuries who defended Christianity against attacks on Christian doctrine, morals, and practices. From Greek “apologia” for “defense.”
An ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of the bishop.
1. A ceremony of religious cleansing associated with John the Baptist and performed within the early Church as a rite of initiation. Baptism is regarded as a sacrament by all major Christian traditions.
An outward sign or invisible grace. Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy recognize seven sacraments- baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, holy orders, holy matrimony, reconciliation, and extreme unction. Protestants recognize only baptism and the Euc
An opinion, teaching, or doctrine at variance with established doctrine.
Site of modern Istanbul, formerly Constantinople. The term is also used to refer to the Byzantine Empire. Eastern portion of Rome.
A sacrament that commemorates the Last Supper shared by Jesus and his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion. It is also known as “The Lord’s Supper” and “Holy Communion” and is considered a sacrament in all major Christian traditions.
Jesus’ final meal with his disciples, described as a Passover seder (ritual meal) in the Synoptic Gospels. It was the occasion on which Jesus instituted the Eucharist.
Last Supper
A servant or minister, usually among the lower-ranking clergy.
Persons ordained for religious service such as priests and bishops.
Second-century critic of Christianity and author of True Doctrine, preserved in Origen’s Against Celsus.
From the Greek word for “witness,” one who has died for the sake of the faith.
Martyrs (witnesses)
In the age of persecution, those who refused to deny their faith under pressure from Roman authorities.
The physical remains of a saint, usually body parts but sometimes artifacts, often thought to have miraculous power.
(ca. 655- ca. 750) Greek monk and theologian, author of the Fount of Wisdom.
John of Damascus
Bishop of Carthage (249-58), he write extensively in defense of the unity of the Church and important of bishops.
“One who is sent.” A title given originally to the disciples sent out by Jesus to preach the gospel (The Twelve Apostles). Through he was not one of the disciples, Paul also claimed to be an apostle.
In the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions, a sacrament of forgiveness involving contrition, confession, the performance of an act of penance (punishment), and absolution.
The leader of a rigorist faction in the Roman Church in the mid third century, he sought to exclude apostates. His faction was ultimately defeated by Cyprian of Carthage and others who urged a more moderate policy.
The Christian doctrine that the one God consists of three divine and consubstantial “persons”
(354-430) Bishop of Hippo in North Africa, leading Latin theologian, and founder of the Augustinian order of monks.
The attribution of human characteristics to gods, inanimate objects, or natural phenomena.
(ca. 100- ca. 165) Author of two Apologies, he is noted for being among the first Christian thinkers to point to common features linking Christianity and Greek philosophy.
Justin Martyr
(ca. 160- ca. 225) A resident of North Africa; one of the first great Latin theologians noted particularly for apologetic writings.
(ca. 150- ca. 215) An Alexandrian theologian, he was especially concerned with establishing links between Christianity and Greek philosophy.
(ca. 185- ca. 254) An influential leader of the Alexandrian school of theology, he called for the allegorical interpretation of scripture and made extensive use of ideas from Platonism and Neo-Platonism.
Rigorous denial of the body or the purpose of spiritual growth.
A form of Platonism originating with the philosopher Plotinus (205-70), who taught that all things are derived from the One, the highest reality.
A clerical office in the Church since early times.
Presbyter (Elder)
The version of Platonic through current in the first two centuries CE; it has a strong interest in religion.
Middle Platonism
Having or pertaining to the gifts of the Spirit.
An individual who withdraws from society to lead a solitary life of prayer and contemplation.
The state of being unmarried, especially in the case of a priest, monk, or nun who has taken a vow not to marry.
(ca. 290-346) The founder of the Egyptian cenobitic (communal) monasticism.
(ca. 345- ca. 420) Bible scholar, polemicist, and translator of the Vulgate, the standard Latin version of the Bible from the fifth century to the present.
(“The Great,” ca. 330-79) Bishop of Cappadocian Caesarea, theologian, and one of the founders of eastern monasticism.
Basil of Caesarea
A sixth-century monk whose Benedictine Rule became the basis of western monasticism.
Benedict of Nursia
The times of daily prayer that make up the daily public prayer, or Divine Office, of the Church.
Canonical Hours
Christian writers up to Isidore of Seville (d. 636), whose texts are widely regarded as having a special authority. Most were bishops. Unlike Doctor of the Church, the title church fathers is not for formally conferred by the church.
Church Fathers

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