The history of western civilization, though viewed to have begun around 400 A.D. after the collapse of the Roman Empire, can vary depending with the era in question and the historical circumstances. However in this context, it is apparent it dates back in the Greco-Roman civilization, whose influence is greatly attributed to the advent of Christianity as well as the great schism witnessed in the 11th century which saw the split of the western and eastern into halves.
Christianity, who’s roots are from the teachings of Jesus Christ, believed by Christians, his followers, to have been the son of God, and to most others as a prophet, has come to impact all other faiths and change man’s history, has had a long and rich history since its inception. In the rich history are writings by Fagan, Origen and Tertullian, who are greatly accredited for their expansive knowledge in the topic. Origen and Tertullian, having lived the days of martyrdom, at time been in the centre of them knew what it meant to be an early Christian at a time when those ascribed to the faith were greatly opposed.
The western history is by fact of great importance to the study of early Christianity. Christianity began in the 1st century and spread across the entire Greco-Roman empire and beyond. It comprised initially of the apostolic and post apostolic phases of the church. Prior to 313 AD during the reign of Constantine the Great, the Christians were subjected to a lot of persecutions by the Romans. The apostolic period had the apostles of Jesus and his relatives lead the church predominantly (Gerberding et.al.51).
As earlier stated, Constantine ended the persecution of Christians, though this had been started by his predecessor, 2 years earlier, Galerius, who issued an edict ending the Diocletian persecution of Christians (Lactantius, Ch. 34-35). Christianity was to be ultimately being declared as the roman’s state religion on February 27, 380 (Ferguson et.al. 1126).
Medieval Christian times of between 476 – 799 AD, saw Christianity start its initial spread from the East, Greek world to the West, Latin world (Gerberding et.al.33). With the collapse of the Roman Empire and rise of Foederati and Germanic kingdoms, there were great attempts to spread Christianity to areas not controlled by the Empire. This later led to the period of schism, which was witnessed in the fourth century. This was due to the growing tension between the east and west Christians. Such tensions were greatly attributed by cultural, political, and linguistic differences which were at the time a great influence to theology leading to the schism (Joseph).
To this point of discussion, it’s thus apparent that the western history is of great importance in the study and understanding of Christianity as a faith. From the history we have gathered, Christianity as we know it today has gained its popularity and dominance due to the influence and acceptance in the west after the decline and ultimate fall of the Roman Empire and theological feuds with the east (Cross). Though the same would have been greatly thwarted had the persecutions continued to thrive, the opening up of the west, was of great importance which led to a lot of influence in latter theological understanding and spread of Christianity to the world at large.
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