General Epistles
Azusa Pacific University
Mr. Matt Hauge
February 5, 2004
"Greco-Roman World"

I.   1Peter is about Christian Identity in a Greco-Roman World (outside of Judaism)
II.   The church
A.   Started in Jerusalem (Acts 2)
B.   "Capital" eventually moved to Antioch
C.   The church did not grow fast (probably 1-2%)
1.   Spread amongst inner circles by intimate word of mouth
2.   There were no churches; they were held in their houses
3.   There was no mention of Christianity in secular writing until 2nd century (120 AD-ish)
III.   Greco-Roman World
A.   Population 60 million
B.   The church was growing 1%
C.   Constantine's conversion caused a 40% increase in Christians
D.   PAX Romana (think of it as the dark side in Lord of the Rings)
1.   Culture: Greek
2.   Political: Roman
3.   Physical: Sucky
4.   Social: Group
5.   Religious: Syncretistic
IV.   The Cultural World - a Greek World
A.   One word: Greek
B.   Alexander the Great (356-323 BC)
1.   Brilliant military leader
2.   Conquered the known world (by 21 YEARS OLD!!!)
C.   The Hellenistic Age (334-63 BC)
1.   Alexander the Great not only wanted to conquer the area militarily, but he also wanted to make it one world culturally
2.   Hellenism lit. means Greek
3.   He started with language, all business had to be done in Greek
V.   The Political World - a Roman World
A.   One word: Roman
B.   It was a brutal time
C.   The Roman Republic
1.   It was ruled by Senators, not democracy
2.   Until Julius Caesar takes over and wants to be a dictator
3.   Julius Caesar was assassinated
4.   Civil War breaks out
a.   Mark Anthony
b.   Octavian - who was renamed Augustus
D.   Julio-Claudian Dynasty (31 BC - 68 AD)
1.   The Dynasty
a.   Augustus (31 BC-14 AD)
i.   After wining the civil war he decides that he has ultimate power (veto the senate) for life: essentially he becomes an Emperor
ii.   Pretty peaceful reign
iii.   Peaceful because all he expected was two things
a.   Taxes
b.   Silence (no insurgence)
iv.   Jesus born during this time period
v.   Died of illness
b.   Tiberius (14-37 AD)
i.   Jesus ministered during this time
ii.   Probably had little to do with Jesus' death
iii.   Killed by the Praetorian Guard (Secret Service)
c.   Caligula (37-41 AD)
i.   Called "Little Boot" because he had small feet and the army didn't like him
ii.   Would ask his horse for political advice, referred to him as "Chief Council"
iii.   Assassinated by Praetorian Guard
d.   Claudius (41-54 AD)
i.   Was a kid when crowned emporer
ii.   Assassination attempt drove him into hiding; and his wife was emperor
iii.   His wife actually got married to someone else why he was gone
iv.   Claudius killed his wife and married her niece
v.   His new wife poisoned him
e.   Nero (54-68 AD)
i.   Nero was a nut ball
ii.   Burned part of Rome to expand his palace, but blamed the Christians and Jews
iii.   Nero committed suicide
f.   Civil War broke out - short lived Emporers
i.   Galba (68-69 AD) - Decapitated
ii.   Otho (69 AD) - Committed Suicide
iii.   Vitellius (69 AD) - Tortured & thrown in the Tiber
2.   Very unstable times - this is when the church is immerging
VI.   Physical World
A.   One word: sucky
B.   Average life span: 17-25 years (only 1% lived beyond 60)
1.   Male: 17.6 years
2.   Female: 19.2 years
3.   Aristocracy: 25 years
C.   90% infant mortality rate (practice of exporsure)
D.   Medicine
1.   No microbiology
2.   Two ways of healing
a.   Fire
b.   Venom
E.   "Short and miserable life" was a common phrase
F.   Water wasn't safe, no one would drink it
VII.   The Social World
A.   One word: Group (as appose to individual/private)
B.   Honor & shame (pivotal values)
1.   Males = honor
2.   Females = shame
a.   Shame is a good thing
b.   Shame is a sense of your reputation being the most important thing
c.   If lost, is gone forever
C.   Dyadic personality
1.   What matters is what people think of you
2.   What matters is the group, not the individual
D.   Perception of limited goods
1.   If someone is really rich, then somebody is real poor
2.   1% of the population owned everything
E.   Kinship & Marriage
1.   Marriage is about fusing two families resources
2.   It's about networking
3.   No choice in who you are marrying
F.   Rules of purity
1.   Sense of what's clean and what's unclean
2.   Purity laws have to deal with health issues
VIII.   The Religious World
A.   One word: syncretistic (multiple religions)
B.   Emperor cult
1.   Religion = politics
2.   Lack of participation means treason
3.   Everyone actually knew he wasn't God, but only Christians and Jews stood up to that
C.   Traditional gods & goddesses
1.   Usually they were Greek in origin and given Roman names later
2.   Usually associated with a city
D.   Mystery religions - they were mystery because if you joined them you didn't tell anyone
1.   The Cult of Dionysus - comprises of mostly women
2.   The Great Mother - engage in orgy & castration (mixed genders)
3.   The Mithras Cult -
a.   Comprised mostly of soldiers
b.   Sacrifice bulls and pour blood on themselves
E.   Practice of Magic
1.   "Magus" = magician
2.   Associated with astrology
3.   Astrology comes from the east
4.   Magical scrolls (deities & spells) - including in the name of Jesus Christ
F.   The religious world is very syncretistic