According to Mark’s gospel, what was main issue dividing Jesus from the leaders of Israel?

There are four gospels in the New Testament, the shortest of the four, is the gospel of Mark.  In the gospel of Mark, the main issue dividing Christ from the Leaders of Israel,  was a form of envious fear; fear on behalf of the leaders.  The leaders of Israel possessed significant fear of the power and authority Christ had.  Christ rejected the commandments of men, but rather honored and reinforced the commandments of God.  Christ was one of the few individuals, this early in time, that successfully challenged, and threatened the power of the Israelite leaders, and this inspired both envy and fear among them.

Christ had authority over many things of which the leaders of Israel did not have power over. For instance, he had authority over sicknesses, diseases, and demons, he had authority over nature, he possessed the ability to walk on water, etc.  Christ had authority over things that humankind could not possibly imagine having authority over.  This made the Israelite officials fearful.

Because of Christ’s authority, he attracted large crowds of people, many of which who traveled great distance to see him.  The population began to recognize Christ as their leader, rather than the Israelite leaders.  The idea of the leaders losing their authority was a very daunting thought to them.

Christ had the ability to distribute this power, given to him by God the Father, to his disciples.  They were then sent out to perform miracles in Christ’s name, and spread his message.  In the mind of the leaders in the synagogue, Christ was expanding his authority, which rapidly became more of a threat to their own authority.  One of Christ’s main reasons for sending out his disciples was so that his message could be spread to the people in as many regions as possible.  The Israelite leaders saw the teaching’s of Christ as a threat to their society, rather than what it actually was; a purification of their society.

The accusations against him were made mainly because the Israelite leaders felt threatened by his authority.  Christ was undermining their law, with the law of God, and they could see that he was making a substantial impact on the population.  There were multiple efforts to turn him in, but many of them lacked validity.  Even Pontius Pilate could see no offense that was enough to condemn him to persecution for.  In Mark 15:10, the author writes, referring to Pilate, “For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed him over.”

He called thousands of people to repentance and renewed the mosaic laws which they had practiced for ages, specifically the law of divorce.  Again, this inspires fear in the leaders of Israel.  Christ had the authority to renew laws given by Moses, only the Son of God could have power like this, and that contributed to the fear and envy amongst the officials.

There were several different issues that divided Jesus from the leaders of Israel, but the main one is the envious fear possessed by the Israelite leaders.

The Carolingian Renaissance and The Spread of Christianity in England

1) What was the Carolingian Renaissance, and why was it significant?

The Carolingians were a family that ruled the Franks beginning in 751, in the region that is now modern-day France.  Lead by the Carolingians, the Franks accepted orthodox Christianity which built the foundation of a trustworthy alliance between the church and the Franks.  The Carolingians; in particular, Charlemagne, wanted to do something significant, something that would give them a memorable position in European history.  This motivation bore the Carolingian renaissance.

The word “renaissance” actually means a revival, or restoration of a culture.  The aim of the Carolingian renaissance was to restore the culture of Rome, but with a Christian emphasis.  The Frankish government would now carry out tasks, that in previous cultures, the emperor had been responsible.  As a result of this renaissance, there was an outpour of cultural improvement, including aspects of Christianity, literature, art, and the judicial system.

The Carolingian renaissance was significant because it revived the culture of ancient Rome, with an emphasis on Christianity.  It revived many of the characteristics of Roman culture and put them in a position to be preserved and passed down through history.
2) Describe the process by which Christianity was spread in England.

In the early 400’s, Roman troops who were defending Britain, had to be withdrawn to defend their own land against barbaric invasion.  This left the Celts weak, so they hired mercenaries to help them defend their land, among these were the Anglo-Saxons.  The Anglo-Saxons took advantage of this deal by driving the natives to small territory, and keeping lands for themselves.  Due to the Anglo-Saxons taking advantage of them, and being brutal towards them, the Celtic people had no motivation to spread Christianity to these people.  It had to be done by someone else because these people were not willing.

Pope Gregory the Great develops an interest to convert England before he even became pope.  After becoming pope, he arranges missionaries to convert England.  He was assisted by St. Augustine of Canterbury.  Pope Gregory sent 40 monks, lead by Augustine, to King Ethelbert of Kent, who was actually married to a Frankish Catholic.  Augustine spoke to the king about Christ, and the king allows them to spread their message.

Gregory the Great instructed the missionaries and gave them ways to present the message gradually.  And as a result, there were substantial conversions amongst the Anglo-Saxon people.  King Ethelbert, himself, actually converted in 597.

There was still conflict between the Anglo-Saxons and the Celts.  The death of Ethelbert triggered a reaction against Christianity, and this reduced the cooperation of Augustine’s companions, in fact, they wanted to flee.  The Celtic people would not have anything to do with the Anglo-Saxons.  It was a mess.  The Irish monks had to step in, which created more confusion because their way of practicing the Faith was different and unique, which posed more conflict.

In 626, Edwin became king and converts to Catholicism, as a result of marrying a Catholic.  At the defeat of Edwin, the whole idea of missionary work was a disaster.  Then, in 634, Oswald, nephew of Edwin, comes to power.  He had been converted by Irish monks, not the Benedictines sent from Rome.  The confusion between the two groups of Christians, was cleared in the Synod of Whitby in 664, where the Irish-Benedictine interaction bore the  Northumbrian renaissance, and the issues were settled.

 

Factors that Delay Reproduction of a Plant and How They are Actually Helpful to the Plant Species.

A perfectly healthy seed may not germinate for a long time; months, or possibly even years.  There are multiple factors that determine the timing of germiantion.  Through the beginning of the life cycle of a plant; the period between pollination to germination, there are several factors that essentially slow down, or delay the reproduction process of a plant.  Most of these factors, that slow or delay the process, are actually helpful to the plant species.

How do these delaying factors actually help the seed?  Seed germination requirements essentially help the seed grow under ideal conditions.  The seed does not usually germinate until the conditions meet the requirements.

One of the biggest factors that delays seed germination is season.  There are different plant species that can thrive in the different seasons throughout the year, however, one given plant species that thrives in spring may not be able to survive through winter. This factor slows the germination of a seed, and if the seed somehow germinates anyway, the chance of survival is low.  The limitations of the seasons are ultimately beneficial to the plant species.

Another significant germination-delaying factor is food/water supply.  If there is not enough nutrition in the environment, the plant will struggle, and may not survive, thus this is an important limiting factor.  Germination should not happen if there is not a stable food supply.  If there is lack of water in the environment, like nutrition, the plant has a low risk of survival.  However, unlike nutrition, too much water can also be harmful to the plant species and can effect the timing of germination.

These are a small few of the many factors that delay or slow down the germination of a seed, there are many more factors that play an equally important role.

The importance of the miracles performed by Jesus in his early ministry, according to the book of Mark.

“How important were the miracles in the book’s account of Jesus’ early ministry?” 

In the New Testament, the book of Mark is one of the four gospels in the bible.  The gospel of Mark, is the earliest, and shortest of the four gospels, it provides account of Christ’s early ministry.  The word “gospel” actually means “good news” in the Greek language.  This was an account of the fulfillment Christ brought to the people in his early ministry; good news.

Miracles were very important in Christ’s ministry.  We see in the accounts of Mark, that Christ used miracles to communicate certain ideas.  The miracles performed, not only impacted the people of that era, but also the people who have read and studied the gospel ever since, and all the people who will read them in the future.  These miracles are eternal.

Christ performed these miracles through the power of God, he was not a wizard, but the son of God.  Christ mainly performed miracles of healing (physically and spiritually), this symbolizes not only the power of God, but also the mercy of God, and his will to heal.  Miracles were a reinforcement of the teachings of Christ.

He did not simply perform one solitary miracle.  Christ performed many miracles, and immediately developed a crowd of followers, he performed miracle after miracle and amazed his many followers.  Later on, he ordains 12 disciples, known today as the 12 apostles, who preach the teachings of Christ and perform miracles by healing the sick and exorcising demons from troubled individuals.  Miracles were a central aspect of Christ’s early ministry, they are the basis on which he built his followers.  Christ freed men who were possessed by demons, as well as relieving them of physical injury, but most importantly he performed the miracle of forgiving man’s sins.

The Pharisees, were very skeptical of this behavior, Christ knew this, and he provided logic that answered their questions.  On one occasion, Christ healed a man with an injured hand, on the Sabbath, which was perceived by the officials of the synagogue as work.  The Pharisees accused Christ of breaking the law that commands rest on the Sabbath. He explained to them that healing a man was more important than the law of resting on the Sabbath day.  Christ looked at the issue from a more realistic standpoint; the man was suffering, and he needed that hand to work  the other six days of the week.  Unlike the Pharisees, Christ emphasized the importance of healing the man as a higher priority than keeping the law to rest on the Sabbath.  The law was still important, but under the circumstances, healing was necessary.

Jesus did not perform these miracles in private, rather, he performed them in front of vast crowds of people.  There were many people who witnessed the power he exercised in performing these miracles.  This was emphasized, which persuades the reader that these events actually took place; they were not fantasies.  Miracles were a crucial aspect that reinforce the message of God by demonstrating the power of God.

He explained to them that healing a man was more important than the law of resting on the Sabbath day

 

Shift of Power from the Merovingians to Carolingians, and the Significance of the Papal-Frankish Alliance.

(1) Discuss the shift in power from the Merovingians to the Carolingians. Why did it occur, and how?

The Franks were the most important of the various groups of Germanic people in western civilization.  Unlike other barbaric civilizations, the Franks did not engage in the beliefs of Ariansim.  After the conversion of their king, Clovis, to Christianity, in the year 496, there is a substantial growth of Christendom among the Frankish people.

The Franks were governed by the Merovingian family through the seventh century, and even into the early eighth century.  However, the Merovingian dynasty had undergone corruption over the years.  There were many problems that developed with the family and their leadership.  Merovingian leaders were not skilled or effective in their administration, they lacked the ambition to accomplish significant conquests.  Chaotic behavior began to arise within the family, they began to fight amongst each other and even slaughter one another.

The Frankish church was  in desperate need of reform.  The Frankish people, under influence of the Merovingian family, had brought corrupt practices into the church.  With all of these accumulating issues at hand with the Merovingian family, the administrations were being handled by the Carolingian family.

The Carolingian family held the office of mayor in the palace, they exercised power in the kingdom of the Franks.  Pepin the Short, a member of the Carolingian family, sees the need to legitimize his reign.  Pepin confronts Pope Zachary I, and describes the situation.  He asks the pope if it is good that, the men with the title have no power, and the men with the power have no title, Pope Zachary concludes that this is not a good situation.  In 751, the pope blesses a change of dynasty, from the Merovingian family to the Carolingian family.
(2) What was the significance of the Papal-Frankish Alliance? What were two factors that helped make the alliance possible?  

The papacy (referring to the office of pope), was seeking an ally and protector.  The Byzantines who had protected the papacy in the past, grew unreliable.  The Byzantines engaged in multiple heresies, and even harassed the popes at times.  The papacy could not easily break away due the military threat the the Lombards.  In the fall of 753, Pope Stephen the II, becomes the first pope to cross the alps, he does this in an attempt to negotiate with Aistulf, the leader of the Lombards, if that quest failed, he planned to address the Frankish leader, Pepin.

Upon meeting with Aistulf, the pope is unsuccessful in the negotiation, so he continues with his plan to meet Pepin.  The pope meets with Pepin, in 754.  Pepin was especially respectful and hospitable to the pope.  They meet again several times throughout 754, and build a strong relationship.  Pepin agrees to maintain the papacy’s rights, and also agrees to restore the land that was taken by the Lombard people.  The pope performs a ceremony which declares Pepin to be the king.  Pepin then goes after the Lombards, and he is ultimately successful in this conquest, land is restored to the papacy, and this becomes the origin of the papal states.  The Franks and the Papacy had built an alliance and there were multiple factors leading up to the success of this alliance.

The rise of the Carolingian family was a factor that played a role in making the alliance between the Franks and the Papacy successful.  The Carolingian family had ambitions that the Merovingian family did not have, and without the change of dynasties, the Frankish/Papal alliance would not have been successful.

Another important factor was the situation between the papacy and the Byzantine protectors.  The Byzantine “protectors” were more of a threat to the papacy than they were protectors.  Without this situation as it was, the papacy would not have actively sought out an alliance with the Franks.

The Frankish/Papal alliance was an important alliance for both parties.

How the Calvin cycle indirectly depends on light.

Photosynthesis is the process through which plants (and some other organisms), covert light energy from the sun into chemical energy that can be utilized by other organisms.  In order to carry out this complex process, cells are equip with specialized cells.  There is a cell wall made of cellulose, within, there are membrane closed organelles, and in addition, there is another specialized organelle called a chloroplast.  The chloroplast is the feature of the plant cell  that allows the plant to carry out photosynthesis.

In photosynthesis, there are two major stages, the first being light-dependent reactions and the other being the Calvin cycle, both take place within the chloroplast.  The light dependent reactions occur before the Calvin cycle takes place.  While the Calvin cycle is not actually part of the light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis, the Calvin cycle does indirectly depend on light.

The light-dependent reactions, as stated above, occur prior to the Calvin cycle.  The Calvin cycle actually requires the use of the products from the light dependent reactions.  Products include ATP (adenosine triphosphate), NADPH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-oxidase), and also o2 that is released into the atmosphere.  There are energy and material requirements of the Calvin cycle, which rely on light-dependent reactions as their suppliers.

There are 3 phases of the Calvin cycle: carbon fixation, reduction, regeneration of co2 acceptor.  With all three phases, there is an overall “cost” of the Calvin cycle.  The Calvin cycle needs outside resources, these resources are produced by the light-dependent reactions.  These “costs” of resources include, 3 co2, 9 ATP, and 6 NADPH.  Co2 comes from the atmosphere, however, without light-dependent reactions, the Calvin cycle has no way to obtain the required ATP and NADPH.

The Calvin cycle is indirectly dependent on light because without the light-dependent reactions, and their products, the Calvin cycle cannot take place.

The significance of Rome in the history of western civilization, and the significance of St. Augustine in Christian history.

1) Why was Rome significant in the history of Western civilization?

Rome was significant in multiple different aspects of the history of western civilization.  Roman literature, drama, law, art, architecture were all very influential throughout history.

One of the most significant impacts of the Romans, was that they took interest in Greek culture and made efforts to preserve it.  Without this preservation, the modern world would be unable to have any insight into Greek civilization.  Roman culture actually mirrors Greek culture in multiple aspects.  Early Roman religion is very similar to that of Greek religion.

Rome was the first civilization that enforced the idea of natural law, which is now enforced in western civilization.  This was the idea of a single standard of justice that every individual is subject to.  Prior to this, the judicial system was confusing and chaotic; this idea of natural solved the problem and made the laws well known.

Multiple Roman architectural and engineering vices are similar to what we see today.  Roads, bridges, aqueducts, dams, as well as buildings, are very similar to what we see in the modern world.  Rome had the finest quality, and workmanship, that have held up for centuries.

Roman literature was very influential.  The uses of rhetoric by Roman figures are foundational in the world of rhetoric.  The Latin language, itself, had an impact.  Many languages are derived from Latin, and more than half of the English language actually comes from the Latin language of the Romans.
2) What was the significance of St. Augustine in Christian history?

St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) was an early Christian theologian and philosopher.  His writings and teaching significantly impacted Christian history.  He was not always a devout Christian, he was born to a Christian mother, but he was far from being considered a Christian in his early years.  He was a smart man, and he sought fulfillment and explanation.  He encountered many philosophical and theological controversies.  He invested a lot of thought, and eventually came to believe that Christianity was the truth.

He wrote a lot of documents, including his own autobiography that impacted Christianity and also western civilization.  He explained things to help Christians further understand their beliefs, and he explained to pagans who did not understand the concept of Christianity.  Without his contributions, there may have been more Christian persecutions, and Christians themselves may not have found the teachings and understandings that St. Augustine concluded.

What was Horace’s concept of personal ethical cause and effect?

Quintus Horatius Flaccus, 65-8 BC, known in English as Horace, was a Roman poet during the time of Augustus.  He aspired to deliver his idea to the individual, in a way that it would stick mentally with the individual.  Horace’s basic concept of ethical cause and effect poses that the individual should remain in the golden mean.  He or she should expect no more, and no less than the healthy medium.

In his odes, Horace ultimately provides that the only major thing in life, is death.  Death comes to everyone.  With this inescapable end, all men will be equal during and after their last breath, and thus they are equal throughout their lives.  The amount of wealth an individual possesses will not mean anything after that person is deceased.  A person can work really hard to obtain riches, however, ultimately, this doesn’t change their position.  However, he points out that a person does not want to find himself in poverty, because this will lead to material suffering.  What is the solution? Live in the healthy medium; the golden mean.

Horace discusses this Stoic idea, and his reasoning behind it.  There is not a substantial need to overwork yourself to obtain excessive riches, however, you must avoid poverty.  In a nutshell, Horace says to live a balanced life, don’t allow less, and don’t do any more.  You should make an effort, but don’t go too far out of your way.

Another reason he provides for living in the “golden mean,” is simply that of avoiding disappointment.  If you make significant plans for yourself, you are enlarging the possibility of disappointment.  Why? Horace says the fates have plan for every individual.  The plans the fates have may or may not coordinate with those of the individual.  If individuals position themselves in a middle class type of lifestyle, that is adjustable, then they will not encounter major disappointment.

Horace provides the example of the ant.  She consumes what she gathers, and lays up only when she needs to.  He says that people should follow this example.  He poses the question, what is the point in having piles of gold? You cannot take your wealth with you when you die, it will be taken by friends and family, and your effort will be forgotten.  Throughout his writing, he points to the golden mean, not too hot, not too cold; just right.  In his first satire, he explains that individuals should not equate wealth with who they are; it does not define them.  Rather, they should seek a balanced lifestyle, in which they can imitate the life of the ant.

Death is certain, no one can escape it, but living in the golden mean as Horace says to do, according to Horace, will provide satisfaction.  Horace describes what we call today, the middle-class lifestyle.  You do not have to depend on other people, and other people do not have to depend on you.  This medium will give individuals a balance.  Ultimately, the middle-class will be equal to the wealthy, because both WILL encounter death.

Lesson 75 writing assignment.

1) In what ways did Christianity represent a departure from the ideals and practices of ancient Greece and Rome? 

Christianity presents a very different perspective than the ideals and practices of ancient Greece and Rome.  Christianity changed civilization, and ultimately put an end to multiple corrupted aspects of the culture.

Christians value the virtue of humility.  Prior to Christianity, the Greeks and Romans did not value humility, in fact, they resented it.  Ancient Greeks and Romans did not view humility as a virtue. When humility was practiced, the practitioner was perceived by classic cultures as a weak individual.  Christians changed this perspective, and practiced humility as a virtue.  After the impact of the Christians, humility was perceived as a strength, not a weakness.

Christians also changed the ancient ideas of charitable work.  Prior to Christianity, charity was only done with the idea that the person would return the favor.  Ancient Greeks and Romans would participate in acts of charity only to achieve fame; or something in return.  Christians, however, practiced charity as a routine part of their daily life.  They developed systematic charitable institutions for orphans, homeless people, and widows.  They never expected anything in return, it was never an inconvenience for them, and it was just part of their lives.  Christian people also influenced the removal of the corrupted system of gladiatorial contests from Roman culture.  These are just a few of the examples of  how Christianity departed from the classic cultures.
2) Discuss the relationship between Rome and the Visigoths. 

In the 4th century, Rome encountered invasion attempts from multiple different Germanic tribes who wanted to be a part of Roman culture.  One of those Germanic tribes, were the Visigoths.  The emperor Valens, of the eastern region of Rome allows the Visigoths to enter the empire in 376.  However, the Visigoths rebel, Valens takes up arms against them, unfortunately, he is defeated at Adrianople in 378.

In 395, the leader of the Visigoths and his troops attack and pillage Italy, this requires Roman legions to abandon Britain, and return to defend their own land.  Britain then falls to the other barbaric Germanic tribes.  In 410, the Visigoths enter the actual city of Rome, they stay there for 3 days, then go on to take over Gaul, then Spain, and remain there until they are invaded by Muslims.

The Roman relationship with the Visigoths was very tense.  They were a barbaric tribe that pillaged Roman society.  They respected the Romans and they wanted to absorb the culture, however, they went about that in the wrong way.

What was Ovid’s view of the gods’ ethical performance?

Whether he actually believed it or not, Ovid made clear in the metamorphoses, his view of the gods’ ethical performance.  He, in detail, described the systematic ethical process of the gods, and how they inflicted positive or negative sanctions accordingly.

Publius Ovidius Naso, known as Ovid (43 BC-AD 17) was a Roman poet active around the reign of Augustus.  In the year 8 AD, Augustus banished Ovid to the black sea region.  In 8 AD, Ovid wrote a series of poems which he called the metamorphoses.  In this series of poems he provide multiple examples that demonstrate his view of the gods’ ethical performance.

There is a basic theme, that is displayed in several different examples.  The ethical system of the gods is centered around pride.  Pride is the key factor for the gods when making ethical decisions.  The gods were prideful beings, and if an individual challenges a god’s pride, they will suffer extreme negative consequences.  However, if an individual respects gods’ pride, and is especially obedient to the will of particular gods, he will receive extreme positive sanctions.

In book 6, there is the story of “Rustics changed to frogs.”  Latona, a goddess, gave birth to two gods, and she suffered from extreme thirst.  She approached a pool, in which she would drink from.  However, upon entering the pool, she was told by the men there that she could not drink.  They, knowing she was a goddess, saw themselves as above the divine nature.  They felt prideful of themselves because they could prevent a divine being from satisfying her thirst.  After being constantly rejected, Latona prays.  The men surrounding the pool were then transformed into frogs.  These men would no longer have a relationship with the gods, and they could no longer impact the world.  The men were reduced to a simple object of nature.

The issue is pride.  When men get the sense that they are more powerful, or more wise than the gods; when they get too prideful, the gods in turn punish this.  There are multiple examples of this same ethical system, with different gods and slightly different situations.  If a man sees himself as equal to a divine figure, the given divine figure will reduce his position to an object of nature.  For instance, the men who were transformed to frogs could no longer have any influence in history.  They lost their position as men, by challenging the gods.

Ovid also demonstrates that it was possible for man to achieve divine nature.  For instance the goddess Venus, asked Jupiter for permission to let Aeneas become a god.  Jupiter gave her permission and she takes him to the river Numicius to cleanse him of his mortality.  This poses that within man there is a divine nature.  Mars asked Jupiter to turn Romulus into a god, and Jupiter complies to this request.  Ovid conveys in his poetry that it is possible for mankind to achieve divine nature.  To do this, individual must not speak out of turn, and must comply with the will of the gods.

Ovid’s view of the gods’ ethical performance regarding the imposition of negative sanctions was that the god’s pride could not be challenged.  If  the pride of the gods’ was challenged, at all, the challenger would be reduced to an object in nature.