Jews, Church & Civilization
TimeLine Volume III
from Volume II
185 CE: “MISHNAH”
Completion of the “Mishnah”! (170–200 CE).
The embryonic discussions of the Mishnah started about 400 years earlier in Bavel (Babylon) and Jerusalem.
Exposition of the law by the scribes (Soferim)—particularly Hillel and Shamai (and their respective followings, noted above), and its elaboration by the Tannaim (high level sages) of the first and second centuries, particularly Akiva (noted above).
Final compilation was by Rabbi Yehudah Hanassi— Rabbi Judah, The Prince.
c. 195 CE: DE–LINKING EASTER FROM PASSOVER
The Christian controversy concerning the date for celebrating Easter (whether on the same day as the Jewish Passover or on a Sunday); St. Irenaeus mediates.
c. 200 CE: YEHUDA HA–NASSI: Focus
Rabbi Judah the Prince, born 135 CE, dies in 219 CE in Eretz Israel.
Rav Yehuda ha–Nassi is referred to as “Rebbe” and “Rabbeinu ha–Kodesh.” He was the son of Rebbe Gamaliel II, and his life was intertwined, according to lore, with that of Roman ruler Marcus Aurelius.
202 CE: ROMAN EMPEROR SEVERUS
Severus forbids conversion to both Judaism and Christianity. He reigns 193-211 CE.
219 CE: THE ERA OF (RABBI) RAV
After a long period of study in Palestine, the Babylonian sage Rav returns to Babylon. In the tradition of the Babylonian sages, this date inaugurates a new era, the period of the Talmud: “When Rav came to Babylon, we became there like the Land of Israel” (Babylonian Talmud, Gittin, 1:1). According to them this date also marks the creation of the two great Babylonian yeshivot – the Nehardea Academy (later transferred to Pumbedita) headed by Shmuel, and that of Sura, founded by Rav himself.
220 CE: THE AMORAIM PERIOD
Start of 280–year Amoraim Period (220–500 CE)
The Amoraim—the rabbis of the Talmud—redact the Mishnah (of the Tannaim) noted above. Their debates, discourses and discussions are eventually codified in
The Amoraim followed the Tannaim (10 CE–220 CE) both sequential–time–wise, and rabbinical “standing–wise.”
224 CE: PARTHIA FALLS
Fall of the Parthian kingdom and accession of the Sassanians who will rule over all of Persia. After a brief period of uncertainty, the Jews establish cordial relations with the new regime.
259 CE: NEHARDEA JEWISH ACADEMY DESTROYED
Destruction of Nehardea during a Palmyrene invasion. The academy is transferred to Pumbedita (Both locations are in Persia/Babylon).
c. 270 CE: MONASTICISM
(St.) Antony’s retirement to the Egyptian desert marks the beginning of monasticism.
276 CE: MANI
The theologian Mani is crucified by the Sassanids in Mesopotamia for (platonically) preaching the incorporation of Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism into one religion—to be known as “Manichaeism.”
c. 300 CE: CONSTANTINE!
Emperor Constantine morphs into a “force multiplier” for Christianity, in general—but also for the Canon Gospels, in particular. And the Canon Gospels carried within their corpus their intense toxicity towards the array of Jewish icons laced through their pages.
(b. 272 CE; d. 337 CE).
300–900 CE: MAYAN CIVILIZATION APEX
Primarily Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
Important sites include Chichen Itza, Uzmal, Edzna and Cordoba.
Late 3rd century: ZOROASTRIAN IMPACT
The Babylonian Jewish community feels the oppression of the Zoroastrian church during its expansion.
303 CE: DIOCLETIAN DECREES
Persecution of Christianity under Roman Emperor Diocletian (reigns 284–305 CE).
Destruction of Christian churches and texts. (See Roman Rulers chart at 63 BCE in the book).
311 CE: EDICT OF TOLERATION
Issued in the last days of the rule of Emperor Galerius. At that point there was a tetrarchy Galerius–Constantine–Licinius. Roman luminary Maxentius also a party to the edict. The edict grants universal religious toleration and restitution (306–313 CE). However, Constantine will later backtrack (see 312 CE, just below) on the universal aspect of the toleration.
[As regards Galerius, the Edict of Toleration represented an about–face in his posture towards Christianity.]
312 CE: ROMAN EMPEROR CONSTANTINE DE FACTO CONVERTS!
Constantine at least informally converts to Christianity. He also folds paganism into a morphed Christianity. This new pagan–infused Christianity speedily spreads across the empire.
Meaning, therefore, that Rome converts to the religion whose de facto progenitor it had originally condemned to death and executed by crucifixion 300 years earlier.
Constantine I enacts restrictive legislation against the Jews
– conversion of Jews to Christianity is banned
– non–Christian congregations for religious purposes are curtailed
The morphing of the Roman Empire to Christendom, under the aegis of the Church Fathers, will radically negatively impact the Jews scattered throughout the Roman Empire—for centuries to come.
The Christians controlling the empire will promulgate an intensely negative portrayal of the Jews, and will promulgate the “Passion” (saga)—constructed selectively from most intense vignettes of the Canon Gospels—revolving around the last several days of Jesus.
As the Passion Saga is easily transmitted both to the small educated elite of Christendom—as well as to its millions of masses—a toxic view of the Jew is disseminated ongoing through Europe, for seventeen centuries through the Nazi era in mid–1900s.
This demonization of the Jews will set them up to be the scapegoat of choice for any demagogue making an appearance on the European stage for seventeen centuries. As the Jews declined to disappear as a distinct entity, they remained time and again, as a prime–and–easily–identified target.
313 CE: BYZANTINE RULE OF JERUSALEM commences
323–year Byzantine rule 313–636 CE, followed by 463–year Arab rule 636–1099 CE.
324 CE: CONSTANTINE’S EMPERORSHIP EXTENDS EASTWARD
Constantine’s victory over Licinius gives him possession of the eastern provinces of the empire. For the first time Palestine comes under the rule of a Christian monarch.
325 CE onwards: CONSTRUCTION OF CHURCHES IN PALESTINE
Construction of churches in Palestine: Constantine and his mother Helena order churches to be built in the most important Christian sites: Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Mount of Olives (inaugurated in 326), and Allon–Moreh near Hebron.
330 CE: CONSTANTINOPLE
Re–founding of Constantinople on the site of an already existing city, Byzantium, settled in the early days of the Greek colonial expansion around 671–662 BCE. The new walled capital of the Roman Empire is built–up by Constantine I and named after him.
Constantinople is astride the Bosporus and the Marmara Sea. The western side of Constantinople (the walled part) on the Bosporus is Europe, and the eastern side, Asia. The city is astride the route from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. The sequential sea route north to south is: Black Sea > Bosporus Strait > Sea of Marmara > Dardanelles Strait > Aegean Sea in the Mediterranean.
Constantinople was renamed “Istanbul” in 1930 by Ataturk.
335 CE: PALESTINE HAPPENINGS
Inauguration of the basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on the site identified by Christian tradition as Jesus’ burial place; the probable renewal of the interdict on Jews to reside in Jerusalem which has been in force since Hadrian’s days; about the same time, an attempt was made by a converted Jew known as Joseph the Apostate to build churches in the Galilee; his failure demonstrates that the Galilee is still a predominantly Jewish region where, unlike Judea and the center of Palestine, Christianity has not yet taken root.
– A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People
347 CE: JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
“The paramount tasks of the emerging Christianity were to overthrow the theological dominance of Judaism, to establish itself as a separate and self–sustaining religion, and to situate Christians as the new and authentic chosen people. The Christian Fathers believed that they were fighting a war with the Jews in which only the victor would reap the reward of eternal life; Judaism was a standing insult and threat to Christianity’s image of itself. Jerome once wrote to Augustine that if converted Jews were allowed to practice even one fragment of their former religion, “they will not become Christians, but they will make us Jews… The ceremonies of the Jews are pernicious and deadly; and whoever observes them, whether Jew or Gentile, has fallen into the pit of the devil. For Christ is the end of the Torah…” John Chrysostom was blunt about it, “Don’t you realize, if the Jewish rites are holy and venerable, our way of life must be false… The Jews… pay honor to the avenging demons, the foes of out life.”
Through anti–Jewish theological myths and defamations, the Church Fathers pictured the Jews no longer as the chosen people, no longer heroes of holiness and moral living; they were instead the earthly representatives of the powers of evil.”
–Robert Michael, Holy Hatred, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 21
It is not clear how a religion gets away with venerating with “sainthood” – over seventeen centuries ongoing – demagogues in clerical robes who promulgate hatred and demonization as core tenets.
Presumably, different morality rules apply to the Church.
351–352 CE: JEWISH REVOLT IV
a.k.a. War Against Gallus
A Jewish uprising in the Galilee under the command of a certain Patricius; provoked by local conflicts with the representatives of the Roman regime (of Emperor Constantius Gallus) rather than by a desire to overthrow the foreign yoke, the revolt broke out at Sepphoris and spread to other towns (Acre, Tiberias, Bet She’arim, and Lydda); it was crushed by an experienced commander Ursicinus, dispatched especially for this purpose. Ursinicus meets with Jewish sages, and he is mentioned, not unfavorably, in the Jerusalem Talmud.
– A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People
354 CE: (SAINT) AUGUSTINE
Augustine of Hippo. Pillar of Catholic Church. Frames the concept of “original sin.”
Canonized by Christian popular acclaim. In the Greek Orthodox Church he is called the Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed.
358 CE: HILLEL II
Creates a mathematical calendar for calculating the lunar months.
Hillel ha–Nassi, Hillel the Prince.
Nassi can be translated as President/Prince/Leader. An amalgam of the three English terms probably best communicates its intent.
Hillel II was preceded as Nassi by Judah II, and was succeeded as Nassi by Gamliel V.
Hillel held the position of Head of the Sanhedrin between 320–385 CE.
The Sanhedrin was the supreme rabbinical assembly, which had different morphings and levels–of–authority over the ages. When Judea/Israel was autonomous, the Sanhedrin would tend to have (far greater) judicial and political power. When Judea/Israel was under foreign domination, it had consequently generally dramatically less judicial and political power, if any. For instance, under Rome in 33 CE, when Jesus was executed by Pontius Pilate, it had no substantive judicial power whatsoever. Its halachic power (power of adjudicating Jewish religious doctrine and related) over the centuries depended on many factors, including primarily its prestige at the moment.
In 33 CE, again, as an example, at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus, the Sanhedrin’s authority and influence was at a nadir, as one of the key players in the related Jewish religious hierarchy, Caiaphas the High Priest, was a co–opted appointee of Rome, instead of by the Jewish scholarly/religious elite. The Sanhedrin was consequently delegitimized in Jewish eyes, undermining its prestige and remaining authority.
361–363 CE: ROMAN EMPEROR JULIAN
–allows the Jews to return to Jerusalem (361–363 CE)
–and gives permission (not exercised by the Jews) to rebuild the Temple.
Emperor Julian the Apostate: In his enterprise of anti–Christian restoration, the philosopher–emperor proposes to make Jerusalem a Jewish city and to rebuild the Temple; in a letter to the Jews he asks them to pray to their God for his success in the war against the Persians, “So that I should restore the holy city of Jerusalem with my own money”; but Julian is killed during his Persian campaign and the reconstruction of Jerusalem is brought to a halt, probably also because of an earthquake which the Christians see as a manifestation of God’s wrath at the apostate emperor.
375 CE: APOGEE OF RAV ASHI
Rav Ashi [b. 352; d. 427], head of the Sura Academy (till 424), is one of the principal redactors of the Babylonian Talmud.
380 CE: OFFICIAL RELIGION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE
Shortly before his “division of the Roman Empire,” Emperor Theodosius codifies the legacy of Constantine, and makes Christianity the official religion of the empire February 27, 380 CE.
Rosemary Ruether describes the Christian Roman Emperors as follows:
“In the laws of the Christian emperors enforcing a status of reprobation on the Jewish community, one notes a language of clerical vituperation. The synagogue is referred to in one early law of the Theodosian Code by a Latin slang word meaning “brothel,” a word which never before had been used for a place of religious worship in Roman law.*A The Jews are referred to constantly in the laws as a group hated by God, to be regarded by Christian society as contemptible and even demonic. The laws bristle with negative and theologically loaded epithets. Judaism is called a feralis secta and a Synagoga Satanae. Their meetings are sacrilegi coetus.*B The very name of Jew is “foul and degrading.” To marry a Jew is adultery and to be under their authority is “an insult to our faith.” It becomes common to speak of Judaism in the language of pollution, contagion, and disease. The Third Novella, which promulgated the Theodosian Code, calls it a “desperate illness” that is beyond curing. Judaism is called “dangerous,” “abominable,” “evil teachings,” “madness,” while Jews themselves are described by such terms as “sly,” “shameful,” “foul,” “insolent,” “detestible,” “blind,” and “perverse.”*C Jews are said to be the “enemies of the Heavenly Majesty and the Roman Laws,” and to break the laws against judaizing is equivalent to a crime of lèse majesté. In short, the Christian emperors do not legislate as secular rulers…. Rather, the emperors speak here as exponents of the Christian theological view of the Jews, acting in their own right as priest–kings of the Christian theocratic empire.”
*A CTh. 16, 8, 1 (13/8/339).
*B Seaver, Persecution of the Jews, p. 54
*C See the summary of Theodosian laws printed in Marcus, Jew in the Medieval World, pp. 4–6.
– Rosemary Ruether, Faith and Fratricide, Oregon: WS Publishers, © 1995, Chapter 3, pp. 194–195.
Rosemary Radford Ruether (b. 1936) is an American feminist scholar and theologian.
380 CE: THE EASTERN CHURCH FATHERS PILE–ON
Vitriolic slander and demonizations of the (minority) Jews ratchet–up significantly via Christian luminaries and would be luminaries, across the Roman Empire, as Christianity is now “official.”
The book, Holy Hatred, p. 20, by Robert Michael, notes–
“Christian writings were part of a theological war to the death, and beyond. Although several Church Fathers knew individual Jews, they portrayed Jews as satanic adversaries. They imagined that Jews insulted Christ and the Blessed Virgin each day in their synagogue prayers. For these crimes, Christian theologians argued, Jews must suffer continual punishment on earth and eternal damnation in the afterlife, unless they sought salvation through the one true faith, Christianity. They proclaimed that the Jews are, have always been, and will always be, paragons of evil.
Christian theologians depicted the Jews as hateful to make Judaism repulsive to the Christian faithful or pagans. The stubborn persistence of Judaism and Jews constantly questioned Christian claims of earthly and spiritual triumph.”
382 CE: VULGATE
–Latin translation of the Bible (directly from the Hebrew) commissioned by Pope Damasus I.
Completed early in the 400s largely due to the efforts of Church Father Jerome.
The Vulgate became the official Bible (translation) of the Roman Catholic Church.
c. 383 CE: (SAINT) JEROME LEAVES FOR PALESTINE
He leaves Rome for Palestine and begins translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate). From 385 to 420 CE he lives in Bethlehem and takes an active part in religious controversies and in the development of monasticism in Palestine, mainly in the Judean desert.
c. 400 CE (Saint) Jerome (374–419 CE), Catholic Saint (the patron of Catholic theological learning) and Doctor of the Church, joins the newly emboldened Jew-baiters, demonizing via public diatribe:
“Judaic serpents of whom Judas was the model”
Jerome commissioned the “horned Moses” statue, as well (exhibit later).
387 CE: ADVERSUS JUDAEOS SERMONS
–by (SAINT) JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
“Against the Judaizers”: Eight homilies by Chrysostom, The homilies are quite virulently anti–Semitic.
The Eastern Orthodox Church honors him as a saint and counts him among the Three Holy Hierarchs. The Roman Catholic Church regards him as a saint and as a “Doctor of the Church” (see exhibit for sample excerpts).
According to James Carroll in Constantine’s Sword, p. 191:
“Chrysostom, (c. 349–407), the bishop of Antioch, still revered as the patron saint of preachers, was the master of the sermon genre known as Adversus Judaeos. Such words inevitably led to actions: assaults on synagogues, the exclusion of Jews from public office, expulsions.”
After his death, the bishop of Antioch was named by the Church as Chrysostom, derived from the Greek, which means “golden–mouthed.”
It should be clearly understood that (only) at this point in time, with the Jews, exiled, dispersed and disenfranchised, and symbolically, already “down on the mat,” “down for the count,” isolated in pockets across the Roman Empire, that the “Church Fathers” become most virulent. Only at the point that the Jews are totally defenseless.
It is (only) at this point that these “Church Fathers,” emboldened by their own new–found protection within the totalitarian state alliance of the newly consolidated Church–State morphing of the Roman Empire, now ramp-up the vitriol.
It is at this point, that they now open wide the faucet and the engines full–throttle of unfiltered raw and virulent anti–Semitism. Meaning, the Early Church Fathers theologically embrace virulent race–baiting proportional to their power to get away with it risk–free.
Post–Holocaust, with outright anti–Semitism no longer “politically correct,” a massive Church effort to whitewash the records of many of the Church Fathers is ongoing. Vituperative sermons of various Doctors of the Church seem to be magically disappearing from the online record….
388 CE: (SAINT) AMBROSE
Bishop of Milan, defends synagogue burning.
392 CE: THEODOSIUS I
Division of the Roman Empire by Theodosius I…
Theodosius, Emperor of Rome, bequeaths –
- the eastern half of the Roman Empire to his son,
Arcadius, with its capital in Constantinople, and
- the eastern half of the Roman Empire to his son,
- the western half of the empire to his son Honorius,
with its capital in Milan, and later Ravenna.
393 CE: THE ANCIENT OLYMPIC GAMES SUPPRESSED
Roman Emperor Theodosius I ends the Olympic Games, as part of his campaign to impose Christianity as the state religion. The Olympics were viewed by the Church as neo–pagan.
The consensus is that the quadrennial Olympics had commenced c. 786 BCE in Olympia, Greece, and apparently lasted in this phase for almost 1200 years. Olympia, Greece was not a classic town or city, but rather a religious sanctuary site dedicated to the Greek gods, Zeus in particular.
The normative guideline over the 1200 year tenure of the games was that only free men who spoke Greek were allowed to compete. All competitors were male. Competition was generally nude subsequent to c. 720 BCE.
[Another view on the endpoint of the Ancient Olympics is that an earthquake – either in 393 CE or in the sixth century – destroyed Olympia and effectively terminated the Ancient Olympics.]
399 CE: ROMAN INJUNCTION v. APOSTOLI
April 11: A Roman law (under Theodosius) prohibiting sending emissaries (apostoli) to collect donations on behalf of the nassi: [the (Jewish) Sanhedrin President back in Judea] “That the Jews should know that we have delivered them from this iniquitous tribute” (C. Th.XV, 8, 14).
End of 4th century: TOSEFTA CLOSED
The final editing of the Tosefta (compilation commenced c. 200 CE by Rabbis Chiya and Oshaiah) probably in Palestine. This is a collection of commentaries containing material excluded from the Mishnah, mostly unedited “raw material.”
400 CE: “EXCALIBUR”
Legendary sword—of legendary King Arthur (Celtic)
in legendary Camelot—in Fifth–Sixth century CE
400 CE: SACKING of ROME by ALARIC, King of the Visigoths
Some historians mark the beginning of the Middle Ages, a.k.a. The Dark Ages, with this 400 CE point. Others demarcate the commencement of the Middle Ages with the deposing of Romulus Augustus as Emperor of Rome (76 years later) in 476 CE, which marked the end of the Western Roman Empire, the “fall of Ancient Rome.”