NAMES OF PEOPLE, PLACES, AND EVENTS
Abram/Abraham: The ancestor of all Jews. He lived around the 18th century BC. At God’s command he migrated from Haram, in Mesopotamia (present- day Iraq), to Canaan with the promise that “all the communities of the earth would find blessing in him” (Gn 12:3). God changed his name from Abram (the father is exalted) to Abraham (father of a multitude), as a sign of the promise that he would have a numerous descent, in spite of the fact that, at more than ninety years of age, he was still childless and his wife Sarah was sterile. God kept His word when Sarah gave birth to Isaac, “the son of the promise.”
Achaia: A province of the Roman Empire. It included continental Greece and the cities of Athens and Corinth.
Adam: The first man, created by God and placed in the Garden of Eden together with Eve, the first woman, that they might cultivate it and people the earth.
Heeding the devil’s temptation, Adam (and Eve) disobeyed God’s orders and committed the first sin, commonly known as “original sin.” This caused them to lose their original state of grace and happiness both for themselves and their descendants. Their act of disobedience was atoned for by the obedience of Christ, who earned mankind’s salvation through his death and resurrection.
Anointed One: See “Christ.”
Apostles: The group of twelve disciples chosen by Jesus Christ to be the foundation of the Church. The name means “sent.” Their names are: Simon Peter, Andrew, James the Greater, John (the brother of James), Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the Less (son of Alphaeus), Thaddeus (or Jude), Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot. This last one betrayed Jesus and was replaced by Matthias.
The title “Apostle” is also given to St. Paul, though he did not belong to the original group of the Twelve.
See also: “Twelve, The.”
Arabs:Inhabitants of the Arabian Penin-sula.
Asia Minor: A province of the Roman Empire occupying the southwestern part of modern-day Turkey. This province was also known simply as “Asia,” and was under the jurisdiction of a “Proconsul.”
Babylon: The capital city of a very powerful ancient empire situated in the region now called Iraq. One of its kings, Nebuchadnezzar, destroyed Jerusalem in 587 BC, and took to Babylon as prisoners the most prominent inhabitants of Jerusalem. They were kept there for about two generations (roughly, fifty years.)
Beatitudes: Technical term used for the famous utterances of Jesus (eight in Mt 5:3 ff, and four in Lk 6:20 ff) which, in the Latin version of the Bible, begin with the word “Beati” (Blest, or Blessed, or Happy).
Brethren/Brothers: The first group of believers. In the early Church, the terms “brethren/brothers” were commonly used to indicate all the believers who were considered brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, their Risen Lord.
Caesar: The Roman general who established the dictatorial rule in Rome. His name was assumed by his nephew and adopted heir, Octavius Augustus, who became the first Roman Emperor and who reigned at the time Jesus was born. Subsequently the personal name “Caesar” became an official title of all Roman emperors.
Caesarea Philippi: A city in the upper- most northern part of Palestine, near the ancient city of Dan. Philip, the son of Herod the Great, rebuilt and renamed it Caesarea after Caesar Augustus. He also added the specification “Philippi” (=of Philip) to distinguish it from several other cities which were also named “Caesarea.”
Cappadocia: A Roman province in the eastern part of Asia Minor (present-day Turkey).
Chief Priests: The highest religious authorities in Israel. The High Priest in office was the head of the Sanhedrin. In the time of Jesus, even the former Chief Priests still enjoyed considerable authority.
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