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what is Ebionites?

what is Ebionites?


School: Concordia University
Department: OTHER
Course: Introduction to New Testament
Term: Fall 2019
Tags: gospels, Synoptic, matthew, MARK, Luke, john, and source
Cost: 50
Name: Study Guide Midterm THEO 203
Description: This is the study guide for the midterm of Introduction to the New Testament, THEO 203.
Uploaded: 10/02/2019
14 Pages 7 Views 22 Unlocks

Study Guide for Midterm in THEO 203 

what is Ebionites?

Monday, October 7th, worth 30%

*Because I want you to be successful in your exam, I am going to be honest  and admit that I only started taking detailed notes starting week 3 (you will  not find notes from me from weeks 1 and 2). Thus, the first part of this study  guide (Early Christian Groups) is not as complete as it could be. My apologies  for the inconvenience; I suggest you consult your own notes, or other notes  from Study Soup from this same class.

Early Christian Groups


Ebionites were a group of Jewish Christians who believed that the only thing  that separated Jesus from the mass was his high virtue and wisdom; they  did not believe in Jesus’ divinity.

They also rejected the idea of the virgin birth; they believed he was born of normal intercourse between Mary and a man.  

They, nevertheless, believed strongly in following Jesus’ teachings. Gnostics

what is The Nicene Creed?

Gnostics comes from an ancient Greek term which means “having  knowledge”. This is what Gnostics were all about; they believed salvation  was to be gained through knowledge (contrary to the more popular, later  Christian idea that salvation is a gift from God) Don't forget about the age old question of expresses the minimum and maximum number of entity occurrences associated with one occurrence of the related entity.

The way Gnostics saw Jesus is that they believed he was a man who got  possessed by Christ who was in Heaven.


Marcionites believed that the God of the Jews was an evil creator who  enjoys war and is the author of all evils on the planet.  

The only gospel they considered is Luke, but they twisted and interpreted it  in a way that was inacceptable to the Church, and ignored many teachings of  Jesus purposely, the Church assumes.

The Nicene Creed

All the beliefs above were considered heresies by the Church, and there  were many, many more in the early Christian world, where everybody is still  trying to decide who Jesus really was. A council was formed in 325, the  Council of Nicea, to decide what Christians need to believe once and for all. This is what the Nicene Creed is about; determining a correct,  orthodox statement of belief for Christians. The problems described  above were “solved” by this creed. Among many other things, the Creed  explicitly affirms the divinity of Jesus.

who are the gospels?

Proto-Orthodox Christians

The Proto-Orthodox Christians are the Christians after the Nicene Creed, who  decide to follow it. From then on, this is the only acceptable, orthodox belief  of Christianity.

The Gospels

According to the glossary of our textbook, a gospel is “The translation of a  Greek word that literally means “good news,” used of the first four books of  the New Testament (and books like them) that narrate the good news of  Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.”  We also discuss several other topics like computer science unt

In the New Testament, there are four gospels, in this order: Matthew, Mark,  Luke, and John.

The gospels were not necessarily written by the one who gave his name to it.  2nd century Greeks gave gospels authors because anonymous texts do not  have as much weight and authority. If you want to learn more check out phys 101 formula sheet

The three first gospels we focused on in this class are Matthew, Mark and  Luke. These are the synoptic gospels.

Synoptic comes from the Greek word sunoptikos, which means “seeing the  whole together”. These gospels were called as such because they are  extremely similar (similar stories, similar order, similar editorial  comments, and similar vocabulary), so much that scholars wondered how  it could be that they were so similar. This is known as the synoptic  problem. The most popular solution to this problem is:

The Four-Source Hypothesis

It has been generally accepted that four sources exist for these three books: If you want to learn more check out stat 100 umd

i. Mark 

ii. Q 

iii. Special Matthew (M) 

iv. Special Luke (L) 

i. First, it is generally understood that Mark was the first of the three  gospels to be written. This perspective is called Markan Priority.  Scholars believe Mark must have been the first gospel written (even  though it is not the first one in the New Testament, it is approximated  to have been written between 65 and 70), for two main reasons: first,  it is shorter, and usually, as stories are rewritten, scribes add information, they do not take away from it. Thus, statistically, it is more probable that Mark was written before longer, similar gospels. Second,  a lot of what is in Matthew and Luke is also in Mark, about 41%  of Luke, and 46% of Matthew is also in Mark.  

ii. Q comes from the latin word Quelle¸ which literally means “source”. Q  is an hypothesis of a source that might have existed; scholars

“created” this source to explain what was in both Matthew in Luke, but  not in Mark. Q is just an idea, there is no proof that it existed. iii. Special Matthew is the source that scholars think must have existed,  which would the material that is only in Matthew, and not in the two  other gospels.

iv. Special Luke is the source that scholars think must have existed, which would the material that is only in Luke, and not in the two other  gospels.

The four-source hypothesis is derived from the Two-Source Hypothesis,  which included only Mark and Q.

Now, there are two main tradition (a tradition is “Any doctrine, idea, practice,  or custom that has been handed down from one person to another”)  pertaining to the synoptic gospel: the Triple Tradition, where the three  synoptic gospels are considered, and the Double Tradition, where only  Matthew and Luke are considered. We also discuss several other topics like msu email montclair

In the Triple Tradition, there is one source: Mark. 

In the Double Tradition, there is one source as well: Q. 


Matthew is the first gospel of the New Testament, but was not the first one  written: it is approximated to have been written around 80-85 C.E.  

The author was obviously very familiar with the Old Testament, he uses many quotes from it.

Separation of Matthew

There are two main theories about how Matthew should be split up;

i. Either in two main parts, both starting with the statement ‘’From that  time Jesus began’’ (4:17, 16:21);

ii. Or five main parts, separated by the statement “Now when Jesus had  finished saying these things’’ (7:28, 11:1, 13:53, 19:1, 26,1)

Theological Features of Matthew

These are the theological features of this gospel, important to know:

i. It is a theology of accomplishment

The author of Matthew applies prophecies that were predicted by ancient  prophets of the Old Testament to Jesus, as if they had been talking about  him (when that was not the case; each prediction had a context for  themselves).

ii. Jesus the new Moses

Jesus brought a new law to his people, just like Moses did with the  Hebrews he delivered from the Egyptians.

iii. Jesus is the new Israel

Just like the Hebrews were tested in the desert for 40 years after their  escape, Jesus was tested in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.  However, he succeeded where Israel failed (they did not always have faith in God in the desert). We also discuss several other topics like used mis 200

iv. Kingdom of Heaven

Jesus is an eschatological teacher (eschatology = the doctrine of the end times). He teaches that the day where God would come down to earth and establish his kingdom is near, and that it is important that people repent  before that day.

 People often interpret Matthew 24 (it is worth to go read, it is a  short chapter) as a predilection of the end of the world, but this is  not what Jesus is talking about.  

First, he is talking about the destruction of the Temple specifically.  Second, when he talks about the end of the age¸ he does not mean  end of the world; he means end of the world as people of these  days know it, more precisely, end of the Jewish world.

 As mentioned, the author of Matthew was very knowledgeable  about the Old Testament. Poetic apocalyptic language is found  in Isaiah 13:10 against the King of Babylon, and Ezekiel 32:7  against the Pharaoh, to cite only two examples. The author of  Matthew would have been familiar with those passages, which are  related to political issues. The author is doing the same thing.

 This is one of the many, many instances where the Bible is deeply  contextual and cannot be applied to today.

**What is most important to remember about the gospel of Matthew is that  the author did a retrospective reading of the Old Testament. He read  ancient texts, and applied them to his own, current context, the one of Jesus.


Interestingly, Mark is the only book which uses the word “gospel” (e.g.  Matthew starts with “the book”)

Like Matthew, Mark pretends Jesus is the realization of old prophecies. John the Baptist

An important part of Mark is John the Baptist. John proclaimed he could  perform a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins in the waters of  the Jordan, in the desert. This was unusual, because at the time, people  went to the Temple to get baptized, which religious authorities liked because  it brought them money. John the Baptist was a religious competitor to  these authorities.

However, John the Baptist said that “the one who is more powerful than I” was coming, and that he would baptize people with the Holy Spirit.

The story of the baptism was a big problem for the early Christians, because usually, someone who gets baptized is inferior to the one baptizing them.  Thus, Jesus would have been inferior to John the Baptist, which was  unacceptable for early Christians.

Scholars believe that Jesus (the man) was initially a follower of John the  Baptist, and eventually broke off from him and started his own minister.

The Voice from God, and What it Means

When Jesus gets baptized, a voice from God comes down from Heaven, which says; “You are my son, the beloved; with you I am well pleased.” 

This quote can be traced down to Psalm 2:7, where God addresses the King  David. Thus, both Jesus and David are sons of God. What does this mean  exactly?

In the Ancient Near East, Kings were designated as such. It is equivalent to  the expression Christ, which means anointed, messiah also means  anointed. Prophets, in that time, were sent by God to pour holy oil on that  individual’s forehead. Kings were also messiah. Thus, this term, Son of God,  speaks of a function/role. 

Thus, what God says to Jesus on his baptism, calling him his son, has  nothing to do with divinity. It only speaks of him being God’s  representative on earth, just like Kings were. 

 This does not mean Mark did not think of Jesus as divine; it only means that the terms “Son of God” are not the proof of that.

Writing History

This will be important for later.

There are 10 rules historians of ancient times followed when writing history:

 The choice of a noble subject

 You have to choose an interesting, noble main character.  The usefulness of the subject for the readers.

 The reader needs to learn, get a lesson from what they read.  The absence of partiality.

 Have to be impartial.

 The good construction of the narrative.

 The narrative has to make sense.

 The adequate collection of preparatory material.

 Sources matter.

 The selection and variety in the treatment of the information.  You filter through your sources.

 The correct ordering of the account.

 Write in an order that makes sense.

 The liveliness of the narration.

 Give details.

 The moderation in topographic details.

 Conservative in topographic details.

 The composition of speeches adapted to the rhetorical situation.  The authors of that time admit that they weren’t always there, but  when they write, they write dialogues which make sense for the time  and context they are writing about. (E.g. the authors of the gospels  probably weren’t there when Jesus was alive.)

Luke / Acts

The reason Luke and Acts are talked about together is because they share  similarities in their opening statements which may mean that they share the  same author. (Luke 1:1-4 & Acts 1:1-2) Here are the main similarities:

1. Both authors announce their intention with the book.

2. Both author address someone called Theophilus.

3. In Acts (which follows Luke directly, in the New Testament), the authors  says “In the first book”, which could talk about Luke.

An hypothesis could be that the author of Acts wanted to make the readers  believe he was the same author as Luke’s, to give authority to his work.

However, there are some reasons why the author of Acts could not be the one of Luke:

 Scholars believe that Acts (which refers to the actions of the apostles) was probably part of a collection of Acts (e.g. Acts of Peter), which was in  circulation in the 2nd century, which would mean that the author could  not be the same as Luke’s.

 The two messiahship are different; in Luke, Jesus is presented as a  prophetic messiah, whereas in Acts, it is more of a kingly messiahship.  This will be talked about more later.

 Jesus does a lot of miracles in Luke, whereas in Acts, Jesus gives the power to his disciples, which do the miracles themselves.

 In Luke 24, Jesus appears to his disciples many times after his  resurrection, to give them instructions, teach them about the kingdom of  God, etc. After all his apparitions, he goes on a mountain and goes to  Heaven. All the apparitions happen in one day. In the book of Acts, his  apparitions last 40 days.

o However, there are many versions as to how much time Jesus came  back, going up to many years.

o Also, in Acts, the 40 could very much be symbolic, and not mean a  literal 40 days. The number 40 is highly symbolic in the Bible; the  Hebrews were in the desert for 40 years, Jesus was in the desert for 40  days and 40 nights, etc.

 You will notice that the number 40 is always linked to stories of  preparation, testing, new instructions, etc.


The prologue of Luke shows that its author was an historian who followed the  rules above. He also knows that people wrote about Jesus before (“Since  many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that  have been fulfilled among us”).  

The question is, why write about something that has already been told?  Probably because of the second rule: people need to get a lesson from what  they read. Perhaps the author of Luke wanted to teach a different lesson  than what had already been taught.

The goal of Luke is to make the readers understand that they need to open  their minds to understand the scripture; he, too, makes a retrospective  reading of the OT, by saying that Jesus was the one prophets predicted. He is  saying that readers need to read the Old Testament with that in mind.


The book of Acts is all about the power of the Holy Spirit through the  apostles.

The context of Acts is that it follows Jesus’ crucifixion directly; his disciples  are left without a leader and scared that the same will happen to them,  because of their faith.

Here are the important stories to know to understand the book of Acts:

 Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;  and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and it all Judea and Samaria,  and to the ends of the earth.”

 Acts 2:1-21: The establishment of the Jerusalem community of believers Under the orders of Jesus, all the believers go in one room, where a wind  blows, and they all receive power from God. They all start speaking in  tongues (languages they do not know).

 Acts 5:1-11: Discipline in the Jerusalem community

When Peter calls out a man for lying, he dies. Same happens for his wife,  who also lied. God was punishing the liars through the power He gave to  the apostles, which gave them authority.

 Acts 7:1-60: First Christian martyr (someone who dies for their beliefs) Stephen died by stoning, because he blamed people publicly for not  believing in Jesus when he came.

 Acts 9:1-19: Paul’s call

Paul was called Saul before. Saul was, at first, against Christ followers; he  persecuted them. One day he was on the road, going from Jerusalem to a  city in Syria, Damascus, and on that road he hears a voice and sees a  shining light. The voice says “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”  Saul asks who this is, and the voice says “I am Jesus, whom you are  persecuting”. From now on, Saul becomes Paul, and becomes one of the  most important Christian figure of the time.

 Acts 15:1-31: First Church council

At the beginning, all new Christians are Jews who, even though they start  being followers of Christ, still follow their old tradition. However, as Paul  starts travelling farther, outside of Israel, people who are non-Jewish start  to convert to. Thus, the Church assembled a council in Jerusalem to know  what to do with these new non-Jewish Christians; should they follow  Jewish traditions as well, like the others? The conclusion of the council was that no, they should not.

 Acts 27-28: Paul’s trip to Rome

Messiahship in Luke and Acts

*As talked about earlier, when we talk about anointed one, we mean anyone  anointed by God to represent Him on earth. This can represent three classes  of people: kings, prophets, and priests.  

In Luke, the first time Jesus is referred to as a king is in the infancy narrative (Luke 1:30-33: use of words such as throne, reign, and kingdom). When they  talk about throne, they talk about David’s throne. David, in the Old  Testament, is the representation of the perfect king, king according to  God’s heart.  

In 2 Samuel 7:12-13, David receives a promise from God that one of his descendants would be put on his throne. 

Plus, there is the quote from the baptism, explained earlier, which can be  traced back to what God says to the king David; thus, another link to kingship for Jesus.

This all points to Jesus being anointed as a kingly messiah.

However, an important passage is Luke 4:16-30, where Jesus affirms to the  people that God has anointed him to accomplish these things: “proclaim  release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free” - This is a quote from Isaiah, which Isaiah wrote about himself.  

In this same passage, Jesus explains that prophets are never accepted in  their hometown, and gives examples.  

When he dies, people do not understand. “He was the anointed one, how  could he die?) but Jesus explains that this is what prophets have to go  through (Luke 24:25-27):

“Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things  and then enter into his glory?”

Thus, the conclusion to get about the messiahship in Luke and Acts is this:

Jesus was a prophet (prophetic messiah) in Luke, and a king (kingly messiah)  in Acts. He only becomes a king when he dies. 

But how does Jesus rule after his resurrection? For the writer of Acts, Jesus is  a kingly Messiah who rules, not physically, but through the spirit. He is a  pneumatic ruler, which means spiritual (pneuma=spirit).

 He does that through his disciples (Acts 1:8: “But you will receive  power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my  witness in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the  earth.”)



John has a tradition completely of its own, it is not related to the synoptic  gospel. One difference could be that while the synoptic gospels focus mainly  on the kingdom of God, John focus especially on the person of Jesus.

 In fact, John was written to answer the struggles of the early Jewish  Christians who had a hard time joining their double-belief. It was  written to answer the question, who was Jesus?

The main difference between John and the synoptic gospels is that John holds  the highest Christology.  

 Christology is “the understanding or teaching on Christ; his nature and  work; his human and divine attributes”; John holds the highest one  because it focuses on the Heavenly origins of Jesus.

John holds two “christologies”: the Son of God Christology and the Son of  Man Christology.

Son of God

As explained further above, the term “Son of God” has nothing to do with  divinity; it only speaks of Jesus as God’s representative on earth.  

 In John, we will talk about Jesus as the Plenipotentiary (synonym for  representative) of God on earth.

Thus, the Son of God Christology is a judicial Christology, where Jesus  “legally” represents God on earth, with four judicial clauses:

1. Mission and Mandate - The person that was sent needs to complete the  mission ordered by the one who sent him

2. Judicial Equality - He has the same authority as the one who sent him 3. Obedience - The person who was sent needs to obey the one who sent  him

4. Return and Reckoning - When the job is done, that person who was  sent needs to come back and give an account

These four clauses can be clearly seen in John:

 Mission: John 3:16-17+34-35 (especially 17) - Jesus was sent not to  punish, but to save humans of their sins

 Judicial Equality: John 10:30, 12:45, 14:7-9 - These passages do not  mean that Jesus is the same as God, a divine being; it only means that his  authority is the same, that he represents God completely on earth.

 Obedience: John 5:30, 6:38, 12:49-50 - Jesus is not applying his own  will; he obeys God and applies His will. Jesus is not equal to God in  greatness: he is equal to him in authority, because what he does is apply  God’s will.

 Return and Reckoning: John 17:1-13

Son of Man

John 1:45-51

 John 1:49: Nathanael recognizes the low Christology that was already  presented in the synoptic gospels (Son of God, King of Israel), but Jesus answers in 1:51 that there is so much more than that, which Nathanael does not know (a higher Christology)

 This is the introduction to the higher Christology which distinguishes  John from the other gospels

John 3:13-15

 “No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended  from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness**, so must the Son of Man be lifted up. That whoever  believes in him may have eternal life.”

**Numbers 21:8-9

 The meaning of this is thought to be that just like people lived when  they looked at the serpent of bronze in Numbers, they will live when  they look at the Son of Man being lifted up.

The three passages below will bring us to the conclusion of what the  Son of Man being “lifted up” means.

John 6:54-55+60-64

 Jesus tells his disciples to drink his flesh and his blood, and where they  are offended, he tells them that this is a spiritual representation; the  flesh does not matter. He asks them, if this offends you, then how will  you handle the Son of Man ascending to where he came from  (Heaven), how will you handle the Son of Man being lifted up?

John 8:21-28

 He speaks of “lifting up” again, but there, he says that the people are the ones who will need to lift him up.

John 12:23-26+31-34

 This passage is all about death. 

 “31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all  people to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.”

The Son of Man being lifted up means Jesus being crucified. The  cross is the glorification of the son. It is his ascension.  Whoever looks up to Jesus on the cross and believes in him, will live.  John has a realized eschatology; it ends at the cross.

*This is complex in the beginning of Christianity, because for Jews, being  crucified means you are cursed by God. Criminals were crucified.

The Christology of the Son of Man and the cross is extremely  important, because if you only have the Christology of the Son of  God and Jesus gets crucified, it means Jesus failed in his mission,  and God let him die. The Son of God Christology alone, thus, is  insufficient. 

Key Terms

For the exam, you will be asked to explain what fifteen of these terms mean:

 “I am” sayings: A group of sayings found only in the Gospel of John in  which Jesus identifies himself. In some of the sayings, he speaks in  metaphor (“I am the bread of life,” “I am the light of the world,” “I am the  way, the truth, and the life”), and other times he identifies himself simply  by saying “I am” – a possible reference to the name of God from Exodus 3  (“Before Abraham was, I am”; John 8:58)

 Acts of the Apostles: The fifth book of the New Testament, which  narrates the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman world by Jesus’  apostles after his death.

 Alexander the Great: The great military leader of Macedonia (356-323  B.C.E.) whose armies conquered much of the eastern Mediterranean and  who was responsible for the spread of Greek culture (Hellenism)  throughout the lands he conquered.

 Apocalypse: A literary genre in which an author, usually pseudonymous,  reports symbolic dreams or visions, given or interpreted through an  angelic mediator, which reveal the heavenly mysteries that can make  sense of earthly realities.  

 Apollonius of Tyana: A pagan philosopher and holy man of the first  century C.E. reported to do miracles and to deliver divinely inspired  teachings, a man believed by some of his followers to be the son of God.

 Apology: A reasoned explanation and justification of one’s beliefs and/or  practices, from a Greek word meaning “defense.”

 Apostolic Fathers: A collection of noncanonical writings penned by  proto-orthodox Christians of the second century who were traditionally  thought to have been followers of the apostles; some of these works were  considered Scripture in parts of the early church.  

 Athanasius: The powerful bishop of Alexandria in the fourth century C.E.; among other things, he was the first to maintain that only the twenty seven books now in the New Testament were to be considered canonical  Scripture, in his 39th Festal Letter.

 Augurs: A group of pagan priests in Rome who could interpret the will of  the gods by “taking the auspices.”  

 B.C.E., Before the Common Era and C.E., Common Era: Used as  exact equivalents of the Christian designations “before Christ” (B.C.) and  “anno domini” (A.D., a Latin phrase meaning “year of our Lord”)

 Canon: From a Greek word meaning “ruler” or “straight edge.” The term  came to designate any recognized collection of texts; the canon of the  New Testament is thus the collection of books that Christians accept as  authoritative.

 Comparative method: A method used to study a literary text by noting  its similarities to and differences from other, related, texts, whether or not any of these other texts was used as a source for the text in question.

 Cult + Cultus Deorum: The shortened form of cultus deorum, a Latin  phrase that literally means “care of the gods,” generally used of any set of religious practices of worship. In pagan religions, these normally involved  acts of sacrifice and prayer.

 Daimonia: A category of divine beings in the Greco-Roman world.  Daimonia were widely thought to be less powerful than the gods but far  more powerful than humans and capable of influencing human lives.  

 Divination: Any practice used to ascertain the will of the gods.  Epistles: Another name for “letters” sent in the ancient equivalent of the  postal service.

 Gentile: A Jewish designation for a non-Jew.

 Gospel of Judas: *This is not a definition from the glossary of the  textbook* The Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic gospel that is believed to have  been written in the second century. Contrary to the other gospels which  paint Judas as a betrayer (he is the character who betrayed Jesus), this  gospel paints Judas as being the only one in whom Jesus confided his real  teachings.

 Gospel: The translation of a Greek word that literally means “good news,” used of the first four books of the New Testament (and books like them)  that narrate the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

 Greco-Roman world: The lands (and culture) around the Mediterranean  from the time of Alexander the Great to the Emperor Constantine, roughly  30 B.C.E. to 300 C.E.  

 Hebrew Bible: The Jewish Scriptures, also known as the Christian Old  Testament.

 Hellenization + Hellenistic World: The spread of Greek language and  culture (Hellenism) throughout the Mediterranean, starting with the  conquests of Alexander the Great. + The term used to refer to the lands  around the Mediterranean that were influenced by Greek culture in the  wake of the conquests of Alexander the Great.

 Heresy: Any worldview or set of beliefs deemed by those in power to be  deviant; from a Greek word meaning “choice” (because “heretics” have  “chosen” to deviate from the “truth”)

 Jewish Scriptures: See Hebrew Bible

 Johannine Prologue: The first eighteen verses of John’s Gospel, which  describe the “Word” of God that was with God and was equal to God,

through whom God made the world, and that became flesh in the man  Jesus.

 Julius Caesar: The Roman dictator who was assassinated in 44 B.C.;  Octavian (later Caesar Augustus) was his nephew and adopted son.  Literary seams: Inconsistencies or discrepancies in a text created when  two different sources are spliced together, for example, in the Gospel of  John.

 Manuscript: Any handwritten copy of a literary text.

 Monotheism: The belief that there is only one God.

 Nag Hammadi: The village in upper (southern) Egypt, near the place  where a collection of Gnostic writings, including the Gospel of Thomas,  was discovered in 1945.

 Octavian: The name of the Roman general who became the first  emperor, in 27 B.C.E., and who later took himself the name Caesar  Augustus.

 Old Testament: See Hebrew Bible

 Oracle: A sacred place where the gods answered questions brought by  their worshipers to the resident holy person – a priest or, more commonly, a priestess – who would often deliver the divine response out of a trance like state; the term can also refer to the divine answer itself.

 Paganism: Any of the polytheistic religions of the Greco-Roman world, an umbrella term for ancient Mediterranean religions other than Judaism and  Christianity.  

 Polytheism: The belief in many gods. In the ancient world, virtually  everyone except Jews was polytheistic.

 Prophet: One who speaks words given by means of a revelation from  God.

 Quirinius: According to Luke, the governor of Syria when Jesus was born  in Bethlehem.

 Scribes: Literate Christians responsible for copying sacred scripture.  Signs: The term used in the Gospel of John to refer to Jesus’ miracles,  which “signified” who he really was.

 Signs source: A document, which no longer survives, thought by many  scholars to have been used as one of the sources of Jesus’ ministry in the  Fourth Gospel; it reputedly narrated a number of the miraculous deeds of  Jesus.

 Theophilus: The person to whom Luke dedicated both his Gospel and the book of Acts. Theophillus may have been an actual person, possibly a  Roman administrator, or the name may be symbolic for the Christian  reader (one who “loves God” or who is “loved by God”)


These are key statements taken directly from a few quizzes. They are good  key sentences to re-read one last time the night before or the morning of the  exam.

 Jewish-Christians believed that Jesus of Nazareth was of natural birth

 The Marcionites believed that the God of the Jews was an evil creator  Marcionites believed that the only true Gospel is Luke

 Gnostics believed that Christ was a heavenly figure different than Jesus  Proto-orthodox Christians believed that Jesus was both man and God, and  they believed in the Nicene creed

 Gnostics believed that salvation was gained through knowledge  There is one source in the triple tradition, and it is Mark  Luke and Matthew have common material in the double tradition  Luke, Matthew and Mark have common material in the triple tradition  There is one source in the double tradition, and it is Q

 Matthew, Mark, and Luke are the synoptic gospels

 The kingdom of God represents the reign of God

 The writers of the NT established their theology of accomplishment by a  process of retrospective reading

 The expression Son of God in the NT refers to the title which speaks of  Jesus’ role as God’s representative

 The “end of the age” in Matthew 24 refers to the end of the Jewish age  Theophilus is a name mentioned in the preface of Luke and Acts  Matthew uses the most Markan material (uses about 46%, while Luke uses about 41%)

 In the prologue of the book of Acts, the 40 days are symbolic, representing a time of preparation

 The star of Bethlehem appears only in Matthew’s infancy narrative  Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, is mentioned in Luke’s infancy  narrative

 Jesus and his family have to flee Egypt in Matthew’s infancy narrative  The law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms are the three divisions of  the Hebrew Bible mentioned in Luke 24

 The Son of Man Christology refers to Jesus as coming from heaven  When Jesus says that he and the Father are one, he means that he shares  equality with the Father as his plenipotentiary

 When Jesus speaks of being lifted from the earth, it means his death on  the cross

 The four clauses that structure the Son of God Christology are mission,  equality, obedience, reckoning

 The Christology which presents Jesus as the Father’s plenipotentiary is the one of Son of God

 The function of signs in the gospel of John was that they demonstrated  that Jesus is the Son of God (Messiah)

 The fourth gospel was written by an anonymous writer

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