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ART204 Early Christian

Early Christians practiced their religions in secret, and will construct extensive catacombs under Rome to bury their dead and then to practice their religion.

Which in earliest times included baptism and readings from early text.

Which became the catechism.

The art of the catacombs will celebrate a birth of a hero who teaches in mortal terms the concepts of the protector, healer, teacher and miracle maker. Esoterically, that people are like him and that divine potential is with in us, not separated from.

To rise above instinctual monkey brain adolescent behavior.

Early Mesopotamia , Hebrew and Roman influences

Roman paganism, the worship of traditional gods natural spirits and emperors fail to satisfy peoples search for a meaningful satisfaction of metaphysical needs or guide to an ethical life.

Traditional Roman state religion fails to satisfy intellectual or emotional needs of lower classes on account of:

Image of Caesars as god, becomes satirical

Deteriorating social values and economic opportunity, at time of great wealth to the privileged is demoralizing

Separation of people from the mystical experience

No ethical or moral teachings as examples

In time of political and emotional crisis, people's need for a humanistic religion or ethical perspective is intensified. Which is met by-

Cicero- Daughter dies and writes story of salvation, afterlife and immortality of soul.

Horace- writes of higher moralities. Daniel takes Essence's teachings to Rome .

Virgil- in popular story foretells birth of child that will bring new age, the Roman lower class will embrace Early Christian beliefs.

And influence of Melchizedek the Salem group, Zoroastrianism, (the essences), Mithraism, the Cynics, Stoics and early Jewish contributions of belief in a coming Messiah and the ten commandments, and other old testament stories, or revelations of a compassionate god, forgiving with faith to salvation.

Then Jesus contribution, the 4th Revelation, that God is not separate from self.

100-300 AD Rome begins decline after victories by Titus. Persecutions of Christians intensifies in Rome . They practice their religion in secret in the catacombs.

Early Christians and Rome

Titus, a Roman Caesar, 100 B.C. Sacks Jerusalem 60 years before Jesus birth. On his way he destroys the Essene community.

The Essenes, who will bury the Dead Sea scrolls, lived life according to the prophecy of a coming messiah. Living humbly, spiritually, preparing for his arrival.

Herod, who rules Jerusalem after the conquest, has all boy babies killed to stop prophecy that a boy will bring down the empire.

In Rome civilians are under increased stress economically and religiously with persecutions of Pagans and Christians by a deteriorating aristocracy. Christians were being persecuted because they practiced cannibalism, incest and worship only one god.

After Jesus death, St Paul , Bartholomew and other "saints" are executed with 10,000's in the first of many persecutions.

Christians were blamed for the empire's problems.

62 AD Nero – intensifies persecutions with public torture under the lights of his nightly circus.

By 300 AD -500 AD Early Christian writing's with the New Testaments begins to compromise early Christian beliefs of a passive preparation for salvation and equality of sex. A medieval change in texts and religious perspective begins to emphasize patriarchal authority and a judgment. Concept of Holy Grail is lost.

Death with judgment and original sin, become more important, than concepts of Jesus as an example of transcending physical death, or concept of self as temple.

Early Christian 4th Century A. D.

Rome 3-4th Century A.D.

Roman empire is weakened as resources decline, bad agriculture, exploitation of nature to deserts, population exceeds biological limits, internal weakness, and attacks from pagan invasions.

352 AD - The Nicene Creed, declares Jesus as divine Son of God, not of mortal birth.

305 AD - Diocletian from Rome sets reforms and unifies empire briefly. Divides west and east. His son, Constantine becomes ruler after his father's death. Begins to consolidate empire and in 307 and on way to a battle to unite territories has a vision; "by this sign, a cross, you gain victory." Moves capital to Byzantine that will become Constantinople.

313 AD - Edict of Milan , Constantine legalizes the church, for political reasons, giving it tax benefits and other privileges. Makes self king of church and state, is baptized on deathbed. By end of century most citizens are converted to the church for spiritual or economic advantages. Calendar is changed to coincide with pagan celebrations of Dionysus and Heracles.

410 AD - Rome sacked, western world collapses under barbarians from the north, who are pushed south by invasions of Mongols from the northeast.

Concept of Monasticism

Communities of Early Christians were established earlier as a refuge from corruption of Rome and materialistic dangers.

To lead a more unblemished life, and to avoid persecutions, and have a solitary preparation for an afterlife, following ideas of Essences and stoicism.

These Early Monasteries will keep and preserve the early texts of the gospels and in some cases more ancient pagans writings.

Monastery Art under the control of the Romans Church 5-6th AD, will begin to change the imagery and texts to reflect an angry vengeful judgmental God until the Renaissance.

The Early Christian Catacomb aesthetic is described as more abstract to provoke identity issues of mortal and divine.

Borrowing from Greco Roman realism to empower belief. The iconography suggests transcendental concerns.

5th Century AD

An expanding and more powerful Roman church, guided by Augustine philosophers takes over the Early Christian monastic cloisters delegating authority through the archbishops.

Monasteries will become a unifying force in Western Europe during the dark ages, preserving Greco-Roman traditions of laws, philosophy, science and art until revivals under Charlemagne.

Artists and craftsman utilize traditional techniques of mosaic and fresco to decorate churches to satisfy a growing church bureaucracy and dogma of the Roman Church rather than Early Christian ideals.

527 AD - First Golden Age of Byzantine, Justinian unifies church with state and creates centers in Ravenna and Constantinople .

7th Century AD- Rise of Islam moves west into Spain , the threat is stopped by Justinian, from moving into Western Europe .

8th Century AD - Split between east and west politically and religiously:

Catholic - west Orthodox- east
Separate from state unified church & state
Realism of images Iconoclasm

Introduction to Early Christian and Monastery Art.

  1. Early Christian to 400 AD
    Catacomb Art reflects concepts of a non-material philosophy.
    Otherworldly concerns and transcendental symbolism, fused to growing naturalism.
    In sharp contrast to Greco Roman realism to glorify the Caesars, reflecting physical concerns, control of the environment and resources.
  2. Byzantine Art: 500 - 1100 AD, fuses Early Christian themes with Greco Roman aesthetics, with practice of Iconoclasm.
    1st Golden age - Justinian 500 - 700 AD
    Church and Military are loyal to Justinian. They crush opposing forces, and build churches in San Vitale and Ravenna, in Italy and Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.
    2nd Golden age- 1100 AD
    Important influence on Western Europe , helps move the west out of medieval, into Gothic.
    Taj Mahal is built in 1400's
  3. Dark Ages 400 - 800 AD
    Western Europe collapses politically and socially. Monasteries provide stability, and maintenance of Greco Roman and Early Christian manuscripts.
  4. Monastery Art / Roman Church 400 - 800 AD
    Fusion of nomadic and pagan aesthetic with Early Christian themes, as Roman and rural pagans are converted to Christianity.

Review to Early Christian

It is agreed that prehistory art, until Mesopotamia reflected peoples needs and beliefs to be in relationship with things, to transcend differences between people, nature, and the multi-dimensional realms, which reflects transcendental concepts.

Beginning in Mesopotamia the art depicts patriarchal myths of Mardock, who "defeats" the goddess of chaos. And then a mortal hero, Gilgamish, who conquers the lion and goddess of the forest.

Art of Dictates, is established, reflecting a patriarchal dominion over attitude will become dominate from there, through Roman and Medieval.

An important counterpoint is provided by Greek and Early Christian art and philosophy. Which will establish an important contribution to the evolution of consciousness and civilization, with its emphasis on identity potentials of being human.

Reasons why early Christian art reflects non-materialistic transcendental, identify concerns.

There is a psychological need for a mystical, metaphysical, religious experience that validates the metaphor of the heart, and unconditional love of the universe.

From the Salem group to Early Christian the attitude of a passive dignity, following the heart where the concepts of indefinable laws of virtue and brother and sisterhood is confirmed.

Truth from self, rather than a higher authority. Inner faith rather than a dogma of ego or superstition.

"Natural" shift from survival and physical concerns, to identity and metaphysical in religion and individual maturation.

With increasing awareness of self-responsibility in satisfying ones own intent or destiny, as a micro reflection of the whole.

Early Christian catacomb art most popular image is Jesus as the teacher, compassionate shepherd of light, a healer, and miracle maker, based on an inner faith. Your own source of truth.

This will change as the church will place power to a higher authority. Where the church is the medium between mortal and divine.

The Art will then portray Jesus as the pantocrator, the judge and militant Jesus of the medieval. Compromising the feminine principles.

Past Influence on Early Christian Art.

Prehistory — recognition of manna and ritual to contemplate and participate with forces beyond rational perception. Matriarchal cultures with transcendental relationship to multidimensional realms, to maintain cooperation and the equal exchange.

Mesopotamia — gods identified with planets, divine moved to celestial, priest class as medium. Divine kingship begins historical period of patriarchal dominion over. With local goddesses and gods of war.

Greek — people possess divine spark, mind as divine aspect to manifest the prefect ideal into reality. Apollo and Artemius are as the ideal of dualism on earthly plane. Dionysus and Herakles as mortals who acquire divine immortality.

Hebrew — Originally God in all things, then they moved this essence to heavens as concept of "more than the parts", an unknowable creator, unnamed. Satan is a struggle, resistance to inner voice. Sin is being off the mark. Old testament Revelations of Salem group, Moses and the 10 commandments and coming of a messiah.

Early Christian — The first to fourth revelations.

Emphasis is on pacifism, brother sisterhood, faith to salvation and a forgiving compassionate god, original sin is Early Medieval idea.

Early meetings and rituals at sunrise, baptism and communal meal.

Catacomb Art.

Early Christian Art

  1. Two factors distinguish Early Christian Art from Ancient World:
  2. Breakdown of Roman Empire, many local cultures preparing for nation states with different qualities of life.
    1. Dominance of civil life by church, either Christian or Islamic
    2. Each will demand total allegiance
    3. Each values divine revelation above reason
    4. Each emphasizes preparation for transcendental death.
    5. Originally both did not make religious wars.



Rational observation, individual inquiry. Celebrates body as carrier of divine.


Greater rational control of visual and natural space.

Christian artists transform Greek and Roman images to own purposes.
Otherworldly goals does weaken realism, abstract symbolic religious themes dominate.

This is because Early Christian beliefs reflect concepts of:

  • Emphasis is on transcendental otherworldly concerns, so it is necessary for abstraction to convey concepts, which have only been peripheral to previous realism of Greek and Roman.
  • Shape and color is now important as symbol, which stimulates metaphysical experience rather than real time and space. Spiritual rather than natural light.

Early Christian Aesthetic

Eclectic borrowing of pagan and Greco/Roman images, abstracted to express metaphysical concerns.


Formal elements to provoke contemplation of transcendental themes.

Expressive characteristics to provoke the sensual mystical experience, inherent in inner realms of nature.

Realism is less important to the symbolism, but empowers beliefs and faith by grounding the mystical in real terms.

Abstraction: is most important to conceptualize other worldly identity themes. The spiritual rather than the physical. Self as temple for seeking love, power, healing and wisdom. Self-actualization.

Early Christian Art content:


  • Transcends mortal and divine, gender and race. A universal god.
  • Acquirement of ego, - free choice between right and wrong. The Garden of Eden story.
  • 1st and 2nd Revelation- a challenge of authority to raise consciousness of mortals.
  • 3rd Revelation – a universal forgiving compassionate God.
  • Movement from 3rd to 4th levels of consciousness, or seals of knowledge, or, 1st to 2nd Phase transcendentalism. Garden of Eden Story.
  • Offers "civilization" greater sense of ethics and morality

Universal / Archetypal symbols common to their art; cross, circle, birds, grapes the trees, halo. The Shepard, healer and Sun god.

Esoteric Myths of Early Christians

Lucifer, Adam and Eve, 1st and 2nd Revelations and Rebellions. Free will.

Jehovah and Yahweh

The Flood and Covenant

Chariots of Fire, Ezekiel

And the 3rd revelation of Melchizedek, Salem Group.


Essenes and Cynics, who represent the Salem believers in Rome, preached against popular cults. Jesus met with both in his twenties. Roman influences from Stoicism, Mithraism, Cicero and Virgel.

Early Hebrew teachings of the Ten Commandments and 3rd revelation of a universal compassionate, forgiving God, and coming of a Messiah.

Jesus A.D.

Roman Caesars will begin persecutions for being incestual and cannibals. In time of moral crises people look for ethical civil standards and moral philosophy.

Jesus 4th Revelation of, "do unto your neighbor, what you would have them do to you, turn the cheek. Love your enemy and look within". God is not separate from self, and that divine righteousness is a mortal potential.

And with faith, salvation in mortality is obtained.

Self as temple.

New Testament writings are started by St. Mark, with help from Peter who heads the Early church until 67 AD.

Catacomb art is done in secret where the Early Christians practiced their religion.

There art celebrated mother and child, a hero that is a teacher, healer, protector of the flock and miracles.

Many Christians leave Rome and establish monastic communities to avoid the persecutions and degraded moral life. They emulate the Essenes in a belief in a passive preparation for Immortality. Founded on concepts of faith, brother and sisterhood, Baptism, the chalice and readings from old and new testaments. Judgment is not a Christian theme until the Roman Church is established in the 5th and 6th Century.

These will become the Monasteries that will be an important force in Western and Central Europe during the Dark ages, preserving Greco Roman traditions of laws, science philosophy and art until Charlemagne.

They will preserve and begin to change original Early Christian writings and use of iconography to first satisfy the indigenous pagan peoples, then the dictates of the Roman church with medieval image of a angry vengeful judgmental god.

Early Christian Art is important today, because it suggests a belief system that seems more appropriate then what most of western religions have since offered.

Catacomb Art:

Catacombs were cut from live rock under Rome. As much as 32 stories below the surface, metaphorically recalls the caves, the womb. Appropriate to the feminine principle that comes with the art celebrated there.

Early, these catacombs served the purpose of burial tombs as Christian beliefs of the after life precluded cremation. Chapels were later added for the secret rituals and art. Many will become sites of the Roman church.

These sanctuaries offered security from persecutions. For well to do Christians there were few problems as long as one didn't refuse "obligations to the state" in terms of taxes.

Early Christian artists are unidentified. They borrowed Greco / Roman aesthetic and fused it to Christian themes.

Recommended reading: The Fifth Revelation, The Moon Under her feet, by C Kinstler.

Esoteric to mainstream origins of Christian thought and art.

As intelligence evolves, we are able to accept more advanced concepts of who we are. And why we are here.

A choice between a belief system that which exalts life, or that which compromises life.

200000 BC a divine rebellion, the inflated ego of Lucifer.

The 1st revelations of a divine influence.

75-35000BC- the Adam and Eve stories, the 2nd Revelation.

A story of Adam and Eve

35000BC — Adam and Eve were to educate enough advanced people to integrate with evolving mortals to speed up, jump start the higher spiritual potential of "civilization". The building of the garden to protect them from the Luciferian dominate and subordinate belief system and the lower animal instinctual war and genocide behavior, inherited from primates. Will become the barbarians that invade Middle East and later Europe, showing no compassion for life.

Eve became disillusioned with original plan. She decides to bare a child with a mortal to help evolution more quickly, to save earth people from the growing dominate/subservient belief systems.

This plan throws the inhabitants of the garden into greater conflict with God, each other and local peoples. Adam and Eve lose their "divine status" and must conduct themselves as man and women of earth. What does it mean to lose divine attributes?

Eve will have 63 children with Adam. He will die at 530 years, 19 years after Eve.

Their efforts did infuse a greater sense of spiritual awareness into mortal consciousness, which is still maturing today.

2000 BC — Melchizedek, the Salem priests to Old Testament. The 3rd revelation, carried message that God is universal and forgiving and with faith there is immortality.

Early Christian Religion, Influences

  • Melchizedek with Abraham, and the Salem Priests begin writing the Old Testament Psalms. To lay down a foundation for one god, forgiving, with salvation for faithful.
  • Yahweh is transformed from fearful vengeful to a loving deity.
  • Moses then Isaiah will spread the idea of a compassionate universal god. Challenging the Mesopotamian local deities of war.
  • Elijah will begin secret writings to protect Old Testament sources from Babylonian changes and manipulations.
  • Essences write Dead Sea Scrolls 2nd C BC. Preserving early texts. They found refuge in desert monasteries, practicing the teachings of Pacifism, Baptism, Meditation and Reincarnation. They call themselves sons of Light. The cynics will continue their teachings in Rome, into the times of Jesus.

Early Christian Esoteric to Informative.

Melchizedek and Abraham. 2000 BC

The Melchizedek families are troubleshooters for planets in crisis. He came here to keep alive the fast disappearing idea of a universal god of compassion, and the prophecy of Jesus. With Abraham, establishes the Salem truth seeker missionary’s, who will later write the Old Testament Psalms. Writings that will help move the idea of a vengeful to loving deity.

Elijah and followers of the Salem Group recognized the attempts to suppress Early Christian thinking and begin secret writings of early revelations. Then Isaiah will preach the idea of a universal creator rather than "national gods".

A belief that challenges idea of national vengeful gods, by a revelation of a universal god for all the people, that is forgiving, and not judgmental.

Benjamin seeks a vision at the Dead Sea with the Essenes.

He will take the early tenets of Essenes pacifism and ideas of salvation for faithful, through a forgiving universal god to Rome.

The Cynics, a Roman form of priest class, descended from the Salem group will challenge the cult mystery religions of aristocratic Romans. As do the writings of Cicero and Virgel.

Garden Story, Mainstream mythology 10000 BC To 4000 BC

Before Hebrew writings is first a story of nomadic peoples. To explain the danger of making decisions about what should live or die. Confirming idea that God or Nature will provide when needed.

Zorastor - 3-2000 BC

The Tree, growing from a node of gold is about being in union with, or separate between mind and nature, man and women, mortal and divine.

Early Hebrew 3-2000 BC

Then 2 trees, one life, the other of knowledge. It is a story about the fall out of union with the divine.

This story becomes more complex because of a judgmental possessive God, who is afraid, that if we ate from the tree of knowledge we would find the tree of life and become immortal like him.

Lilith is first created equally with Adam from clay, then Eve from his rib.

He will then kick them both out of the garden with command to man to populate and have dominion over. Life on earth becomes one of suffering because of original sin.

Essentially, the garden story is , the archetype of acquirement of ego consciousness, individual choice to discern differences, or ego’s need to satisfy our natural curiosity.

What is divine ego consciousness, as different from mortal. Ability to make moral decisions about those things that will make us more civilized, and less adolescent monkey, fight or light.

Additional Notes to Early Christian

What is the 2nd most important question after you have learned to survive? A transcendental moral death, the quality of which depends on the character of this life.

Who are the hero’s of the past and today? What is their purpose?

Through the Early Christian hero Jesus, civilization or consciousness is raised as people are shown ideas how to over come human fallibility, or limitations of physical world and animal instinctual, flight or fight. Physical death becomes a spiritual rebirth. In the literal and metaphorical sense.

From Pre-historic to Jesus there has been the flying shaman, Osiris and Herakles, who demonstrated overcoming a physical death, or transfiguration of mass.

Jesus is a descendent of the fertility god on the tree of life, but now he is of a spiritual rebirth, not physical. The 2nd phase of transcendentalism.

Early Christian text from 5th AD and earlier will be changed by the Byzantines and Roman church, leading to the Medieval perspective.

"The more deprived people become, the more will esoteric religions appeal to people to meet their identity, metaphysical needs"

"When the physical / survival needs of a culture are denied the stronger will be the eruptive forces from the inner transcendental realms."

Early Christian religion occurs with ritual at dawn, at the rising son. In private homes, identified by the fish sign, and later in the catacombs.

After Jesus death a more formalized priesthood. The communal meal becomes the communion or sacrament, derived from the 1st Eucharist. A metaphor of divine immortality through the metaphor of the feminine principle symbolized by the chalice.

Pagan concept of purification becomes the Baptism.

Structure of mass is developed, the lethargy of the catechumen. The teachings convert Ten's of thousand's from all class of society.

Early Christian Religion / Philosophy suggests that one doesn’t live separate, but socially. A family where a God is universal to all people. They gave equal attention to women, as Mary, who is the metaphor of the feminine principles.

Ritual meals’ reenacting the last supper later becomes ritualized into Eucharist administered by priest.

Early Christian were aware of symbols of Eucharist but didn’t practice it, except until later when the priest administered it to the congregation.

"On the day of her death, was the day her entry to the light" a catacomb inscription.

Death was no longer terrifying.

The deceased "gives up life with certainty of one’s own faith. Offers life with no regret and dies without hatred but forgiveness."

"Carrying the sublime in the heart you will live forever"

A passive attitude of suffering with dignity.

Peter has vision dream that encourages him to follow Paul’s idea to spread Jesus teaching to gentiles, "not necessary to follow Jewish Law to be Christian."

Paul is imprisoned and takes case to Nero

Is beheaded, Milk comes out.

The Old Testament, in time of Ur, the god promises good weather and rain for those who follow him, and catastrophic events to those who don’t.

Jericho is story of a local fearful unforgiving God that is vengeful, as was in Sodom and Gomorra?

Elija – god is not found in disasters but in the place afterwards. Gets a ride on spaceship

Jesus – were the workers that died in the accident building Rome, any worse than any of you.

St. Stephan 3 AD, Martyred because of "God resides in hearts", not the temple

St. James beheaded

John and Peter go to Syria and Sumeria

Saul is made policeman of church to prosecute those who don’t follow text.

Has vision becomes Paul.

Paul converts to Jesus teachings. Meets Peter in 39 AD

Jewish people practice circumcision and ban certain foods. This initially separates them from gentiles who follow Paul.

Paul envisions a universal religion including both Jewish and gentile.