Research topic: Christianity
Christianity has its historical origins in a religious movement that emerged in Palestine in the fourth decade AD centred around the itinerant Jewish preacher Jesus of Nazareth.
The movement soon spread to other Mediterranean countries and during the next 3-400 years became the official religion of the Roman Empire – and eventually the whole of Europe.
As a result of European colonisation and determined missionary efforts, Christianity has in more recent times also become the dominant religion in America and Australia, as well as achieving significant influence in several countries in Africa and Asia.
In the course of its history, Christianity has developed a multiplicity of organisational forms and types of worship, ideologies and beliefs and ethical norms and ideal ways of living. The factors that bind all these divergent strands together are:
- Christians' common acknowledgment of the Bible as a holy and normative collection of texts
- The belief that a human (Jesus of Nazareth) is the son of God and the saviour of mankind
- The understanding of a Christian life as a kind of intermediate state between past and future salvation, between Jesus's death and resurrection on the one hand and between the Day of Judgement and the resurrection of the dead on the other.