History 104A, October 19: An Easter to Remember: The Beginnings of Christianity.


               Last time we talked about the fall and rise of Rome.  I'm not


          sure they fully fall unless they're eliminated.  Certainly their


          cultures continue.  In other words, did England fall during World War


          I or is England still there?  I think even in England, weren't


          there -- the English still exist in something called the United


          States, Australia, Canada.  They perverted the whole world, even in


          India.  However, the glory that was Rome is, as the story goes,


          certainly leaves a lot of curiosity as to why the greatness fell.  And


          as I indicated given, argued Christianity, and Pirrene argued Muslim,


          Islam nobody blames the Jews for that anyway, everything else maybe.


          In any case, other interpretations exist perhaps with a little more


          basis for them, if it fell.  And among those, with simply the


          expansion of the Germanic peoples into Rome, putting pressure on the


          empire, the bad administrative system which began to leave the city


          itself undefended as well as the inability financially to provide


          cleanup of the swamps.  And people began to leave because of the fact


          that the levy's didn't hold and therefore mosquitos began to expand


          again and malaria became prevalent.


               Another argument for decline and fall of Rome is the whole bread


          and circuses, the sense that people were not given productive


          employment.  And tied to that is a theory by a name named Wallbank who


          blamed it on slavery.  The Romans simply didn't have to work.  Slaves


          did everything for them.  While the Romans developed such technology


          including such things as the windmill, there was no need to.  You



          could push some of the grinding stones and waterwheels with slave


          labor and slaves abounded.  And it was during the medieval period when


          slavery began to totally decline, when Rome was no longer there, that


          we began to see some of that Roman technology being put to use.  So


          the invasion from without though, I think has a lot to say with it.


               Another argument is sort of the Sodom and Gomorrah argument.  I


          don't know in I touched on the whole issue of Sodom and Gomorrah and


          the differences in interpretation, for example, between Jewish


          scholars and Christian scholars.  Christian scholars blame the


          destruction on the immorality of sex.  That's all we ever see when we


          see pictures of Sodom and Gomorrah is the sexual activity going on.


          But the Jewish scholars blame it on the lack of hospitality.  They


          didn't take care of their neighbors.  They weren't neighborly.  They


          didn't provide health, education, and welfare.  And again, that same


          argument has been made for Rome.  That while they provided bread and


          circuses, they did not provide productive employment, a national


          healthcare program, or anything of that kind of a nature.  And of


          course, many ultra conservatives who see that make ties to the United


          States in its decline quote/unquote and fall often blame it on the


          homosexuality, the excessive heterosexuality, whatever that means, and


          often ignore the whole issue of health, education, and welfare.


          Others blame that ignoring of people and seeing people as people may


          well be the actual cause for a fall of the United States.  Again, it's


          hard to prove any of these factors.  Probably the best one was Bury


          who argued that it was a combination of factors.  I tend to like that.



          I tend to be somewhat eclectic in that I think all of the factors do


          play a role.


               I also mentioned the concept of the led in the pipes earlier and


          how that prevented the Roman purity from going on, because in Rome


          itself, they could not have a lot of children and reproduce, so


          whoever came into the society, all those barbarians, those Chinese and


          Indians, whoever came into your country and having a lot of kids while


          the white people just aren't having enough kids, which of course is


          not valid anyway.  You hear these kinds of arguments being made today


          certainly.  And so there is definitely a racist argument that was made


          for the decline of Rome by who else, Germanic scholars.  And one of


          the names of the scholars was a man named Frank.


               Either way, during this period of time, as people become


          frustrated as the money becomes inflated, as the coins become


          literally ugly and not worth a lot of money, there is the expansion of


          insecurity which breeds the need for security which breeds religion.


          Once again, Christianity was not the only religion that was expanding


          and offering salivation and offering a better life in the afterlife or


          in some form of continuation of life.  The question that of course


          arises is, why did Christianity prevail?  The answer for many of you


          and obviously we're not going to argue it, is that Christianity is a


          true faith, your true faith.  And obviously people recognized it and


          recognized the God.  However, as a historian, sociologist,


          anthropologist looking at it, we look at other perhaps causes,


          forgetting the religious response of truth.  And there were many



          religions, as I indicated, in Rome.  The Roman military followed the


          Mithra derivation which is part of the Zoroastrian, the trend of the


          male, the strength of fire, the strength of battle, very male oriented


          very military oriented.  It didn't seem to appeal to many outside the




               Then there was a Isis/Osiris cult coming out of Egypt, which of


          course emphasized the mother goddess.  While it had a heaven, it had a


          termination of life, accepted, there was no real hell.  Zoroastrianism


          itself had a hell to it, a burning fire.  They may not have called it


          hell.  The question is, what did Christianity offer people?  There was


          also the philosophical offer of Neoplatonism.  Ethical culture is also


          exists more on the East Coast.  I don't think I've met anybody from


          the ethical culture religion faith?  It's much more active along with


          Unitarians.  Again, while I've met one or two Unitarians, I haven't


          met many in California.  Anybody encounter Unitarians?  Those are


          religions that are more, shall we say, philosophical than they really


          emphasize a sense of faith and afterlife and death.


               The basis for the expansion of Christianity perhaps is one and


          perhaps most important of all, it's missionary zeal.  Christ said, do


          not leave your fire of life under a barrel; meaning, it is your job to


          spread that faith.  And Christians are militant almost in spreading


          the faith.  What that translates to is, many religions did not go out


          to convert.  Zoroastrians, as I indicated, you had to be basically


          born into.  Judaism, I guess we indicate an ego, believes you come to


          them and then you spend a year studying.  And that's a long time.  And



          most of all, for adult males to become a Jew and get that little piece


          cut off, it's kind of hard for them to adapt to.  Not very many men


          want an operation in that certain section at that age.  So this was a


          difficult faith to join, if you will.


               As I say, others dealt with female brains, male principles, but


          they may have gone out -- they were the mystics, mystical faiths, the


          Dionysian cults where wine, women, and song were celebrated, but it


          didn't give that sense of the missionary zeal.  The Christians had


          something else in that zeal.  They had a very simple story.  It wasn't


          like the secret cults where you joined and nobody else knew the secret


          of the cult, the Scientology or the Mason, secret handshakes of there


          was an openness to it.  There was a faith that had a story about a man


          who was God who died for everyone else's sins.  And one that did have


          some mystery, but that was not understandable.


               The sacrifice therefore for man's sins certainly had a major role


          to do with the expansion of Christianity.  The faith itself appeal


          today all classes of people, from slaves to the wealthy.  People


          adapted it because it gave them a sense of serenity.  I haven't seen


          the movie yet.  And in part it had good salespeople candidly.  The


          best of all was Paul or Saul as his name was or not.  It makes a


          difference how well something is advertised and sold and that


          missionary zeal went forth as well.  There are those who claim that


          Saul invented Christianity.  A man Homer Smith, in A Man and His Gods,


          using German historical research, argued that Paul, like many great


          leaders for some strange reason, was epileptic and the argument is



          that during certain epileptic fits people get visions and that Paul


          received that vision on the road to Tarsus, Damascus, on the road to


          Damascus, and there, who saw Christ which he had never met.  And with


          that, Saul who had been a persecutor of Christians previously, turned


          around, converted to a faith that was, in a sense, at that time, a


          cult of Judaism, and began the process of spreading the story of an


          individual who died for people's sins.  Of course the name Christ is a


          Greek word meaning the messiah.  And Saul himself, Paul, was living in


          the Greek world of Damascus, Antioch, and Tarsus.  The story I think


          we're all familiar with or most of us are familiar with.  And that is


          that Christ went around claiming to be the king of kings, the son of


          God, whether it was a capital S or a small S becomes questionable, but


          seemed to fulfill the predictions in the Bible Isaiah and others of


          the coming of the messiah of God on Earth.  And he was challenged as


          king of the Jews of the Sanhedrim.  This was the Jewish council who


          spoke to Herod as well to the Roman prefect Pontius Pilot who decided


          to execute him by crucifixion.  And a Roman soldier aided his death by


          slitting open which side?  The left side?


          A    Right side.


               THE PROFESSOR:  His body was buried and disappeared, put in a


          cave and like a catacomb and then disappeared.  Translation, the


          belief being that he was resurrected.  He was then seen wandering by a


          number of witnesses afterwards for a short period of time.


               I got a call the other day from an individual -- this is


          absolutely off the subject but not totally -- who I hadn't seen in 20



          some odd years from power lifting.  They're making a movie like


          pumping iron and they want to get me interviewed and was going to


          propose that I be added to the hall of fame for some strange reason, I


          don't know why.  He was going back to stories, and I don't have good


          memories of these kinds of things.  One day we had a weight lifting


          test on a Saturday and we went into Sunday which happened to be Easter


          Sunday.  And the audience up there was mainly Mexican American.  And I


          was doing the announcing on the microphone.  And I got on the


          microphone and it was about 12:30, look folks, I know this is Easter


          Sunday and you're very concerned, but don't worry about it, they found


          the body and cancelled easter.  He was amazed that I wasn't hung by my


          cahones.  I was just out of it since '98.  But it sounds like


          something, as you all know, I can have said.  I never question things


          that people tell me I have done or said.


               In any case, with the resurrection of Christ, which by the way


          does not appear for whatever reason in Roman literature.  There are


          stories of a number of people who claim to be messiahs, if you will


          saviors at the time but nothing that seems to deal with the large


          impact that Christians today feel.  It was probably a small group;


          therefore, not the recognition that we tend to see.  But what came out


          of that group, a small group, a small cult if you will, was a mass


          movement and perhaps a true faith, through in many ways, martyrdom.


          Translation, Christians in their solid belief faced death openly


          quote/unquote turning the other cheek for their faith.  When people


          saw that willingness to put forth their lives much in many ways like



          Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi and a nonviolent civil disobedient


          way -- and I personally think that that's what's lost on some of our


          movements today, that sense of moral height an ethical height where


          you know you're right and you accept law or you die for your cause


          without crying or bitching or exchange or suing.


          A    And the Tibetans do.  They have done nonviolent protests for 53


          years now.


               THE PROFESSOR:  Well, maybe it's gotten them to a better


          afterlife -- I'm sorry, reincarnation, or maybe they went directly.  I


          don't know.  I wouldn't say it's gotten them nowhere.  And the Dali


          Llama has received a lot of respect throughout the world.  There's a


          lot of empathy for the cause.  It may not have gotten them their


          independence, but it's perhaps provided a salivation.  I have no doubt


          that if rebellion had broken out in Tibet, the Chinese communists


          would have done what they did on Tiennemen Square on the worse levels.


          I think that sense of the world's respect for the Tibetans was in many


          ways, the respect that was given for Christianity.  And not only that,


          I think that knowing all of these quote/unquote liberals in this


          country who have adopted the Dali Llama as a spiritual leader, I'm


          talking about white liberals who pay a fortune to hear him whenever he


          comes to this country, is an indication of a spread of the faith that


          we probably would have known nothing about except that they would have


          been wiped out except for that passive resistance.  But that's, you


          know, the way I view it.  Sorry.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm a violent


          person, so I could not function that way.  I go by George Bernard Shaw



          that says, martyrdom is the only way a man can become famous without


          ability.  I respect it, by all means.


               And again, if Christ were crucified and resurrected in 33 ADCE,


          it really wasn't until the fourth century that you really begin to see


          that spread of Christianity.  And here I don't know if you can see


          these pentagons or whatever they are -- five shaped figures.  If you


          look here, this is the spread in the fifth century.  In the first


          century of Christianity, you pretty much see it in a very small narrow


          area of the Middle East and partly into Egypt.  So you're talking


          about 300 years.  And so 50 years is nothing historically dealing with


          the Tibetans.  What we're talking about is a movement that takes


          hundreds of years for people to adapt to.  Of course part of that


          adaption comes about with the quote/unquote the decline and fall of


          Rome.  People see something else, a higher sect and join in; or again


          based, on your views, the true faith.


               In dealing with that expansion itself, the first -- I pointed out


          that while Christianity is expanding, it really doesn't get its depth


          in Rome until that's fourth century or in the Mediterranean when


          Constantine allows after the edict of Milan, the ability of Christians


          to worship freely in the Roman empire both East and West.  And then


          with Theodosus at around the end of the fourth century, making it the


          faith of the Roman empire.


                I know what else I forget to mention.  Another element of


          Christianity at that time, not so perhaps today, but certainly of the


          early Christian faith, salivation came through only seven sacraments.



          You didn't have to read, study, but there were seven sacraments which


          are an outward signs of an inward gains.  They include such things as


          baptism, picked up perhaps from John the Baptist, confirmation,


          marriage, holy blessed rights they used to be called.  There's seven.


          And the acceptance of those became the basis of the passing on of


          salivation itself.  In any case, the other faiths are still there.


               And we begin to see some organism of the church and certainly


          taking up the posts in the Roman cities where they begin to set up the


          bishops and Rome itself is emptied by the Romans.  And as I indicate,


          they head off as a capital to Ravenna which is better defended and


          Rome is left under the administration of the Pope and certainly Leo


          who some may have said is the first of the Popes having and convincing


          Attila of the Hun to leave that area in the fifth century in 451.  And


          as we can see here, it replaces Rome around the Mediterranean sea.


          This area does become Christian by the fifth century.  And within this


          base and within the faith they pick up on some other religious


          elements, one of which is being hermits, hermitage.  It was pretty


          common in the orient for people to go out in the wilderness and live


          in a cave, much like Mohammed did, to find religion, to find God.  And


          the weather there allows for it.  And of course they followed the


          sense of Christ going out in the dessert for 40 days.  And that sense


          of being creates some very strange actions on the faith.


               One guy, Simon Stylus was the name given to him because he lived


          on the poll, literally on top of the poll for 40 years.  Food was


          brought up to me.  We've had some strange tree huggers go up in the



          trees and live up there for a long period of time too.  Others went


          off to caves, and again, showed their dedication which spread to




               And then in the north because the weather wasn't quite as


          favorable to individuals going out and living on their own, it needs


          more community, we develop what's known as the monastic movements.


          And monasteries begin to clear the land.  They worked together as part


          of the faith.  And we create monastic orders.  Of course perhaps the


          most famous was the Benediction, the sense of work, faith, celibacy.


          By the way, a monk is someone who lives under an order.  And they are


          usually not priests in that they cannot give the sacraments.  They are


          cloistered, meaning they live within the monastery.  They can teach


          but people come to the monastery where their main element is working


          for Christ.  And a lot of the innovations, especially in agriculture,


          came out of these northern monasteries.  And of course we continue


          that tradition, not just from fourth century, fifth century on, but


          some of you may remember from your genetics, Mendel and his work with


          chick peas as a monk and the whole basis of genetics at the end of the


          19th century.  So it is not something that just stays and -- you know.


               It is also argued that because of the spread of monasticism and


          the spread of Christianity that is less of a reverence for nature,


          that primitive people lived with nature and feared it.  They feared


          those little trolls and elves and fairies and, you know, in the


          forests, the gargoyles, scare them away.  Did you read about those


          people found in Indonesia that was only about 12,000 years old and



          they were apparently only about 3 feet tall?  They were now calling


          them Lord of the Rings or something.  How many people read about that?


          Interesting little tidbits that maybe there is some truth to.  Oh


          well -- with big feet.  We don't know if they were hairy or not.


               It is argued that the lack of reverence for nature because


          Christianity had one God, allowed for the devastation of the forests


          and the lands and that the hard work interfered with environmentalism.


          We'll let you go from there on that one.


               In any case, that expansion itself that faith that isolation


          later leads to a different kind of monastic order which is basically


          the development of convents, and that is friars and sisters rather


          than nuns.  Friars live under an order but they go out and they


          preach.  They go out and they teach.  They work in the community, the


          dominions certainly 13th century AD right next door here are sisters.


          They are not totally cloistered.  They spend some time in the


          cloisters in the convent, but they can go forth and work in the


          community.  The nuns and the monks today also get out into the


          communities as well.  And of course there are individuals besides,


          during this period of time, whose names become important for their


          teaching such as St. Augustine and his City of God coming out of the


          Alexandria area here.  And certainly the stories of other teachers


          from mostly the areas in here that begin to develop some of the


          theory; St. Augustine the City of God, famous work dealing with the


          concept of church and honor and to some extent perhaps the identity


          with Rome.  That's certainly a questionable level.



               The primacy of Rome coming out of it, if you will, meaning how


          come Rome becomes the center of the church.  And of course, as I


          indicated before, by the seventh century, the other major cities with


          their Popes, disputes over who was in control or their bishops --


          Alexandria, Antioch, Rome, Damascus, and Constantinople.  What happens


          is Constantinople becomes very isolated and develops a different what,


          we call the eastern religion, the Aryan faith.  And of course by 1453


          disappears as a Christian city.  And so Rome is pretty much left to


          dominate the center of Christianity and remains the center of western


          Christianity until the year 1517 when a man by the name of Martin


          Luther, not Martin Luther King Junior please, Martin Luther, posted on


          Halloween, all hallows night, October 31st they have arguments against


          what he believed the Catholic church was preaching, which started what


          we know as the Protestant reformation.  It succeeded.  Many of the


          theories and ideas that we presented previously as philosophy had been


          presented previously.  His sunk in because of the times and because of


          the age itself.


               I've got the seven sacraments here:  Baptism; confirmation;


          matrimony; the Eucharist, where the bread and wine enters into a


          mystic communication as the blood and body of the Christ; extreme


          angst, which as I indicated, are the last rights; and ordination, a


          Christian becoming a priest.  I mentioned St. Jerome and St.




               What I would like to do is some of you have your packets with you


          and in the back of your packet, the one that has the booklet on it, if



          you have it, if not, it's okay, you can follow me.  On page 23 there


          is a cross to bear, if you will.  We have a group meeting on Friday --


          as the Roman citizen in the first or second century, would you have


          converted to Christianity, why or why not.  For those that have the


          cross, it's one of those nice little gimmicks for aiding you in


          understanding perhaps, to have some of the power of the church and the


          reasons for that power.  I want to go around and explain it in part.


               We'll start at the top and go to the left.  Tithe -- what is the




          A    It's a tax.


               THE PROFESSOR:  It's a tax placed on people who are members of


          the church.  10 percent of a person's income was given, collected for


          the church.  That is still part and parcel of some faiths today,


          certainly the Mormon faith is one.  The World Church of God not only


          collects 10 percent of year, but on the third year collects an extra


          10 percent.  Many churches, including like Jewish temples, base a


          percentage on your income to become a member.  Obviously, the power it


          wields is wealth.  The money that went to the church can be used for


          church preachings, buildings, teaching, education, et cetera.


               Sacraments -- gave people a belief that they could achieve


          salivation.  And following basically six rules, not a lot of


          complexity to it.  But the power of the church, it was only the


          priests and the church that could issue those sacraments.  If you were


          not a member of the church and the sacraments were cut off, you were


          doomed at least for God knows how long.  And I guess that's literal,



          in purgatory, meaning between hell and heaven.  One of the things that


          Catholic Church, by the way, eliminated back in 1963 was something


          known as limbo, not the dance under the bar.  That was the place where


          people who did not know Christianity would wait until judgment day.


          They were outside of hell, purgatory, and Heaven.  Somehow it was


          decided that was not a proper interpretation of Biblical teaching.


               Missionary zeal -- the spreading of the gospel.  Perhaps the Pope


          that was most active in pushing missionaries was Gregory the Great as


          a Pope in the end of the sixth century and the beginning of the


          seventh century.  Perhaps the strongest of the Popes in medieval times


          in the early medieval times, famous also for the Gregorian chants, but


          sending out to the Germanic tribes, sending out to the Visigoths to


          the galls or franks and sending out visionaries as far as Ireland.  It


          is also believed that some of those missionaries may well have reached


          the new world.


               Church courts -- perhaps similar to the old military courts.


          People who were priests were tried not in civil courts but in church


          courts.  Anything dealing with the church was tried within special


          courts that were run by the priests, the bishops.  I haven't used the


          term cardinals because cardinals don't come into effect until later in


          the medieval period.  Perhaps the most infamous of those courts


          becomes the papal court, starting in the 13th century, which we know


          as the inquisition that reaches its full power in the 15th century,


          the Spanish inquisition, where people who's faith is questionable are


          brought before the court and forced to confess.  If they don't



          confess, they're crushed to death, beaten until they confess in some


          way.  And of course we know in Joan of Arch and others who are placed


          in the fires of purity that are called the auto de fe A-U-T-O D-E F-E,


          the testing of faith to purify.  And I think I talked about it


          earlier, didn't I, how if you confessed to your crime, to your sin,


          you were garreted, strangled before you were burned.  But if you


          refused to confess, you were burned alive.  Either way, you went to




               Education -- up until basically the 18th century, the church


          controlled what you learned, the knowledge you received.  I pointed


          out that people got their education by going to the monasteries and


          often what we might call elementary schools were held within the


          monasteries.  Priests taught philosophy, learning, education of


          various forms, and people came to them.  And by the 13th century,


          1200, we began to see the formation of a higher educational system


          called the universities that were under the cathedrals.  And the


          cathedrals, the bishops appointed a rector, a president rather, a


          chancellor to run those universities who was a member of the clergy.


          And we'll talk further about some of those individuals.  Obviously


          knowledge is power.  And if the church controlled the knowledge, it


          had the power over people's lives.


               Anointing of kings -- kings claimed to be God given.  And prove


          that they were God directed, God driven, they received their crown


          from the hands of the bishop.  The bishops placed the crown on the


          king's head literally.  Much like -- we mentioned Charlemaigne who had



          the Pope come to Aachen in Germany or the holy Roman empire and crown


          him holy Roman emperor.  Therefore, the church, when it didn't like a


          king, could take that power away by removing their sanction of that


          king.  We'll talk more about that under excommunication and interdict.


               I also identified the power and strength and role of the church


          came from its technological advances in farming.  It developed such


          things as the three field system of agriculture where one field was


          left fallow, not to be grown to help the land.  What's the word I'm


          looking for?  Re-fertilize itself.  That's not the world.  And of


          course from these monasteries there created a whole system of


          excessive wealth because they began to sell their goods and they began


          to invest it in the land.  And some of the monasteries became


          extremely wealthy from their farming and farming innovations.  In the


          ninth century or in the tenth century, 900s, the Cistercians were very


          much involved in also creating bookkeeping that later is going to be


          used in the development of capitalism.  That's getting ahead of the




               Excommunication -- church didn't like you, felt you were a


          heretic, you spoke out, you were removed from the church,


          excommunicated.  You became an outcast.  You were ostracized.  What it


          meant was, you could not get the sacraments.  If you were not


          receiving any of the sacraments, communion, baptism, confirmation,


          whatever, then you were doomed for damnation.  And you said who gives


          a shit?  The answer is, people did because they believed it.  It was


          an absolute faith.  Many of you wouldn't in a sense being concerned.



          Maybe even being kicked out of America couldn't concern you.  But when


          people had a sincere faith, this was damage to their existence.  And


          so the threat of excommunication, which by the way still goes on


          today, as you know, not just the Catholic church, but other churches


          use excommunication, was the means of removing people who are heretics


          or in opposition to the church philosophy.


               I'll pick up for the second half and then go into the group


          meeting.  If you don't bring it with you, you might want to bring it


          with you next time.  See you on Friday.  Group meeting Friday.