Monday, June 04, 2012

Christianity and the Roman Empire – Part III The Second Century

So we arrive at the second century A.D. and find the Catholic Church's administrative apparatus in place and the new church flourishing. As mentioned in recent posts, the destruction of the temple by the Romans and the death of the Jerusalem Christians is a common marking point for the end of Jewish control of Christianity.  That is not to say that it marked the final split between the two religions, however. The separation actually took a couple of centuries.

One can understand this link between Judaism and Christianity by recalling the story of Jacob and Esau who, as brothers, fought each other in the womb. Both religions were variations of messianic philosophy. In the Jewish case, the belief was derived from second century B.C. apocalyptic literature. In the Christian case, Jesus was the messiah and his resurrection the foundation of the belief system. But the resurrected messiah was incomprehensible to the Jewish religion because it did not allow a kinship between man and God.
The Romans did not differentiate between Jews and Christians until 96 A.D. when the Fiscus Judiacus (tax on Jews) was implemented. This tax was imposed on all Jews of the empire as reparations for the revolt against Rome that resulted in the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. Christians were not required to pay the tax.