The Development of Christian
Problem: How did a religion whose original emphasis was on simple faith and
moral behaviour come to assign such a crucial role to doctrine and correct
1) External factors:
- Typical of Greek and Roman reverence for philosophy.
- Apologetics--Need to defend Christianity against opposing ideas. Rationalist
philosophy used as neutral frame of reference.
2) Internal factors:
- Conflicting messages from different Christian documents:
Need to determine which view was correct? Was Jesus human or divine? (Or: Was
his humanity real or illusory?)
- Synoptic Gospels emphasized Jesus' humanity.
- John emphasized Jesus' divinity.
- Problems with Monotheism--
- If Jesus was divine, then is he distinct from God ("the Father" "the
- How is the belief in Jesus' divinity to be reconciled with the principle of
Some Different Solutions that Were Proposed:
- There is no difference between the Father and the Son (Three names
attached to one substance).
- Jesus only appeared human (Docetists)
- The Son was a created being (Arianism).
- Jesus was the true spiritual God. The Jewish god was the imperfect "demiurge."