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Typology in Christianity

The author of this report is reviewing typology in Christianity with a strong focus on a few particular dimensions. Typology, for the purposes of Christianity, is the translation and transition between the Old Testament and New Testament. Indeed, the different faiths that center on the traditional Christian God usually (but not always) rely on the Bible, or at least part of it, with some sects focusing mainly or solely on the Old Testament while other sects or groups do the same thing with the New Testament. Obviously, since both Testaments are part of the same Holy Bible, it is important to look into how they are connected and how that connection, and the church itself, has evolved over the years. A focus on how typology was done, different groups that engaged in it like the Alexandrin school and the overall history from the time of the Apostles, which paralleled the time of Jesus and a short time thereafter, through the pre-Reformation in the 1500's AD will be assessed and described.

Many historians differ greatly on a lot of the facets of Christianity. Some assert that Christianity did not even exist until the first century AD while others concede clearly that Jesus did in fact exist as a man but perhaps question what is true about him above and beyond his existence. Even if one keep the historical spats about Christianity only within the believers, it is clear that there is a huge divergence between Jews, Muslims and even different sects of Christianity. These internal spats have gone on en masse for more than five centuries and perhaps nothing short of the Bible-foreshadowed Second Coming will answer any of the questions involved to any Christian's, Jew's or Muslim's satisfaction. A lot of (but not all) of the bloodlust that has occurred regarding this dynamic and situation has ended but still stains history (like the Crusades) but a great deal of progress has been made. However, the aforementioned debates still rage on and they shall remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Chapter II - Old Testament vs. New Testament

Even though the Old and New Testament are both contained within the same Holy Bible, they books are quite different in their form and function and many sects of Christianity, as noted in the introduction, place more or less emphasis on the Old or New Testament depending on the beliefs of the church, their perspective and how their iteration of the Christian faith has evolved over the years. Indeed, if one looks at the Jewish people, they focus almost completely (if not solely) on the Old Testament and actively disagree with some of the tenets of the New Testament, most of those disagreements and nitpicks centering on Jesus. Other Christian sects make it a point to focus on the New Testament, the sacrifice of Jesus in particular, and use the Old Testament mostly as a backdrop and predictor of what was to come in the New Testament. One example of this in motion would be the words of the prophets in the Old Testament and their predictions regarding Christ.

However, there are some clear differences between the books that many have a hard time explaining or figuring out. For example, the New Testament is rife with mentions of Hell and what will happen to those that do not repent and follow God. However, the Old Testament has little to no mention, the "little" or "no" depending on interpretation differences, of Hell. Indeed, people that focus on the Old Testament often point to the fact that there is a Purgatory-like middle point between earthly life and heaven and that, depending on the depth and breadth of one's sin, they will spend a number of years in this middle place until they earn their way into Heaven. Even sects that focus on portions of the Bible other than just the Old Testament also believe in a mid-point with Roman Catholics believing that exactly that happens so long as no mortal sin is on the soul the person involved.

Also starkly different is the overall tone of God in the Old Testament vs. The New Testament and how people address their sins in each book. The New Testament paints a bit rosier of a picture where people can attest to believing in God and asking for forgiveness and thus be saved by their faith when they pass to the next life. The Old Testament makes reference to sacrifice and other hardships being necessary to cleanse one's transgressions. Perhaps the most cited example of God being a little more hard-edged in the Old Testament is when he asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac but only relented when it was clear that Abraham was indeed going to go through with it.

Apostles to Pre-Reformation

A millennia and a half that lapsed between the time of Jesus and the apostles and the time period where Reformation began. Different sects like the Lutherans and the Anglicans (among many others) started to splinter off of the larger Christian church. However, there is a lot to be told about the times before that. The Roman Persecution that was in full effect when Jesus was arrested and killed was still under full effect until about 313 AD when Emperor Constantine I mandated that tolerance of Christianity be the law of the land. Once the Roman Empire fell in the early Middle Ages, the Catholic Church became a much more prominent and powerful person on the world scene. Indeed, the evolvement and progression of many to most Western civilizations was obviously and progressively influenced and driven by Christianity. However, much of the Middle East (including Jerusalem) was conquered by the Muslims in the seventh century AD.

In the latter part of the Middle Wages, much of it in the 11th to 13th centuries reflected the creation of many universities. A lot of these universities were religious in nature but they eventually branched out to include studies like medicine and the law. Even with the partial secularization of the colleges, there were also clear crusades against views that were contrarian to the church including active campaigns against anything deemed to be "heresy" against the church.


Given the contradicting or at least confusing events and information between the Old and New Testament, it is clear that some sort of parsing and analysis had to be undertaken to un-muddy the waters for practicing Christians. Indeed, it has to be figured out what facets from the Old Testament still hold today and which ones have been replaced and/or updated by the New Testament. Even the earliest Christians, upon the initial combination of the Old and New Testaments, had to figure out how to make it all work for them. The ways in which this was done varied from viewing the Bible as a historical document vs. others who viewed it more as an allegorical and philosophical document that should not be taken verbatim. For example, when it was asserted to pluck one's eye out upon sinning, some people (probably just a few) insisted the statement was literal while others said it was a philosophical and teachable moment instead. In terms of the Old Testament predicting and/or leading to an outcome in the New Testament, the eight books (four from each Testament) that are linked together are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezekiel in the Old Testament to the four gospels in the New Testament, those being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Perhaps one of the more prominent schools that has been engaged in typology was the Alexandrian School. This school was created by Alexander the Great as a means to counteract the fact that Greece had lost is intellectual primacy due to losing its sovereignty as a nation. The conquest by Rome also had great effect. Obviously, the conquest of a typology school by the same general regime that crucified Jesus Christ will sway what is decided and why. The work of the Alexandrian School retained its gusto, nonetheless, even with established bishops such as Bishop Newman in the late 1700's and early 1800's.

This prevalence of typology has continued even to the modern times and has manifested with a large media presence in the radio and television markets.

It is even in full effect in the last decade (and presently) in both colleges and on the Internet.

Typology even manifests in terms of how it's applied to movies and books, both fiction and non-fiction. One of example of this was Melville's The Two Temples.

Another example was Gilead.

Even movies with entertainment as their clear goal have broached the subject of what is fact and what is fiction including some rather sensational movies like Constantine, which depicts angels and demons walking amongst us (depicted by Tilda Swinton and Gavin Rossdale) and conversing with demon-fighters (as depicted by Keanu Reeves). The movie also shows a supposed meeting with Lucifer and passage by Keanu and co-star Rachel Weisz back and forth between Earth and Hell.


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