Is Christianity a Greek religion clothed in Roman rituals?

Jan 2016
United States, MO
Christianity is clearly a branch of Judaism that expanded and incorporated many influences as it grew. Yes many Christians spoke Greek, but the entire Old Testament is all about the Jewish people. If Plato were really so foundational than why wouldn't he also be included in the bible? Also, yes, Christianity picked up a lot of Greco-roman ritual and tradition, but it didn't stop there. Just look at Hallow's Eve or Christmas trees. Even northern European paganism influenced Christian practice. Expanding religions absorb many cultural elements and practices of the places that they become prevalent in.

This is fairly common sense. Christianity is a Jewish seed planted in Greek soil that grew into a largely European phenomenon with leaves that extend into far flung corners of the world.


Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
Athens, Greece
If in fact Christianity was a Jewish religion then why is it that all the evidence - every last one of the earliest new testament manuscripts (codices and fragments) - attests to Koine Greek and not a Hebrew language?
Did Jews stop being Jewish when they conducted their religion and daily lives in Greek or Aramaic?
This. Christianity is a religion originating in Judea, started by Jews. Common logic says that it can safely be called an Abrahamic religion, not a Greek one. The Greek language (mainly) and Greek culture (to a lesser degree) had been dominant in the eastern part of the Mediterranean and in large parts of western Asia for centuries. The fact that Christianity used the Greek language and concepts of the Greek philosophy to express and formulate itself is not difficult to explain in that context, when Greek language was the lingua franca of the era, and Greek culture permeated almost everything after the Alexandrian conquests.

However, it must not escape attention the hostility of the new religion towards the Hellenic one, and by extension, to the old world of Hellenism itself, to such a degree that when Christianity became dominant under Roman rule, persecution of the "Hellenes" (the worshipers of the Greek pantheon) and scorning of everything "Hellenic" (related to the pagan Greeks), resulted in almost destroying the identity of "Hellene", for centuries making a reference to these people only as an obsolete and defeated, vile foe of Christianity. The Greeks stopped identifying themselves as "Hellenes", using for centuries their state and religious identity only: Roman Christians. The relation between Christianity and Hellenism is complex and deep-rooted, but to call "Greek" a religion that almost managed to bury the term "Hellene" itself (the way Greeks call themselves) and that effectively ended the ancient Hellenic era, is a bit ironic.


Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
The similarities between the pagan elements of Greek and Roman society are mainly superficial (i.e. 12 main gods, 12 disciples, Saturnalia and Christmas at end of December, etc...). But there ARE indeed a lot of probable links between other Greco elements:
• Platonism
• the Mystery religions
• Hellenistic Judaism

The only reason why Plato and Socrates aren’t considered prophets in Christian tradition are because they were gentiles.

Christianity by tradition is based on Judaism. But both Christianity and Judaism grew in very different directions following the downfall of Hellenistic Judaism. Theologically speaking, Christianity maintains a multi-element god which includes an unchanangable father and his Word/first begotten son which is active in the physical world. This is to get around the theological question of God’s perfection - since the God of Jewish/Christian tradition obviously changes his mind and physical makeup on things; by altering this state God moves from perfection; God the father does no such moving, God the son is the mover. The son is the Word, a spoken Word which gives command over the elements of creation and sustaining the creation. This is the Core concept of Christian theology and the divinity of Jesus, as Jesus is the Word made flesh (Logos incarnate). In the Platonism and Hellenistic Judaism communication with the Word was possible (via Prophets) who received the Word and then were able to act: in the time of Hellenistic Judaism these were seen as representations of an inspirational enlightenment of the Prophets rather than a literal schizophrenic sort of dialogue; otherwise known as Wisdom (represented among Gnostic siblings of Christianity and Platonism as Sophia), in Platonism, Wisdom/enlightenment is the acquisition of enough knowledge to realize the sheer limitation of what you know: “I am the wisest because I am aware I know nothing,” to paraphrase Socrates. Christianity maintains a very similar sort of enlightenment process directly via the mouth of Jesus; the knowledge of the fruit is seen as the original sin of humanity - but it is not simply a fruit which granted information on things, but rather the establishment of concepts and bias on the objectivity of good and evil - which is far more expansive in scope in Platonism as evil is deviation from perfection (and I’ve wandered into a giant topic, but suffice to say the traditions share a lot).

To wrap this up, it’s an interesting topic. Ancient authors wrote on it extensively, the early first century writer Philo of Alexandria is perhaps the best preserved. But Roman Christianity is the grandchild of a marriage of Judaism, Greek philosophy and theology, and the Mystery Religions; it’s parents are Hellenistic Judaism and the Roman world; and its siblings include Gnostic religions, Rabbinacle Judaism, and Neoplatonism. The forms of Christianity we have today are at best distant descendants: the Septuagint isn’t even used in today’s Protestant faiths because the early protestants incorrectly thought the older version of the old testament was the Masoretic text; the Jewish people used it and it was clearly less Greek influenced than the Septuagint - the reality is that the Masoretic text. is a later version. Elements were stripped out because they deduced that “this couldn’t have been Jewish” and it is actually a far later work completed in the middle ages completed 1200 years after the Septuagint was largely composed. Again, I have wandered, a different topic.

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