Saturday, June 4, 2011

Revelation for Dummies (3)

Last month we posted the following diagram, expanding a section of the last 2,000 years (ongoing):
Click to enlarge

Today I want to expand a little on a critical section here, before moving onto the next historical period, namely the Latin Golden Age:

Latin Literary Golden Age: Click to Enlarge
Here we can see the underground Christian movement expanding rapidly across the Roman Empire, first in the common Greek language, then early in the 2nd century being translated into Latin.  The early Latin writers were articulate, strong and daring, and as a result, many of the Romans, particularly, the lower and middle classes, servants, slaves, soldiers and artisans were converted to the new faith.   Christians became so numerous that Emperor Constantine wisely legalized Christianity and effectively ended persecutions against Christians.

During this early time there were many prolific and intelligent Christian apologists.  By about 320 A.D. it is estimated that there were about 1,200 Christian bishops spread across the Empire.  We may assume there were at least as many copies of the New Testament writings in various forms and languages by the mid 4th century.

All Latin copies of the NT in use between 200 and 400 A.D. would however be variations of the Old Latin version, early independent translations made by Christians for use by the Romans and other Latin-speaking peoples within the Empire.   The Latin Vulgate NT of Jerome (c. 392 A.D.) had not been made yet nor adopted by the West.  This only happened at the very end of the Western Literary Golden Age (200-420 A.D.).

Yet the Latin Golden Age quickly came to an end, as Emperor Constantine moved his central capital and economic base to Constantinople in the East, effectively abandoning Rome and the West.   This led to a long period of continual anarchy and warfare in the West, with Rome itself being sacked by barbarians several times.   
The original Roman Empire and Rome was essentially looted and gutted, leaving only a crippled husk of the original Empire.   This was prophetic, poetic, and effective justice for Rome's long legacy of violence and persecution, especially of Christian martyrs.

(to be continued...)

No comments: