Explain The development of universal religions of salvation: Christianity in Western Europe and Byzantium; Islam in Middle East and North Africa; Greater Vehicle (Mahayana) Buddhism in South, Central, and East Asia
Christianity in Western Europe and Byzantium
In Western Europe and Byzantium development of christianity started from the time of Jesus where his entire life and ministry had taken place in Palestine. He did not speak a European language, and except for a few Romans, such as Pontius Pilate, he did not meet any Europeans. Acts also begins within Palestine, in Jerusalem, but the story of the second half of the book is set largely in Europe, one of its high points being the confrontation of the apostle Paul with an audience in Athens (Acts 17) and its climactic conclusion coming in the final chapter with his arrival at Rome. It was either to Europe or from Europe that Paul addressed the bulk of his letters, including the three longest ones (Romans and 1 and 2 Corinthians ), and he wrote all of them in Greek.
Byzantine leaders refused to employ non-Christians in government. Christianity became the state-sponsored religion of the Byzantine Empire. Byzantine leaders did not punish crimes perpetrated against Jews and Muslims.
Islam in Middle East and North Africa
Islam was developed in the middle east and North Africa by Arab traders and with the Muslim refugees fleeing persecution in the Arab peninsula. This was followed by a military invasion, some seven years after the death of the prophet Mohammed in 639, under the command of the Muslim Arab General, Amr ibn al-Asi.
Greater Vehicle (Mahayana) Buddhism in South, Central, and East Asia
As early as the 3rd century BCE the Indian emperor Ashoka, a convert to Buddhism, is said to have established the tradition on the island of Ceylon, or Sri Lanka. By the 5th century CE, Buddhism had spread throughout what are now Myanmar and Thailand. By the 13th century CE, one of the early Buddhist schools, called the Theravada, “the way of the elders,” had become the dominant tradition of South and Southeast Asia. As early as the 1st century CE, Buddhist monks made their way over the “Silk Road” through Central Asia to China. By the 7th century CE, Buddhism had made a significant impact in China, interacting with Confucian and Daoist cultures and ideas.In the 8th century, Buddhism, shaped by the Tantric traditions of northeast India, spread to the high mountain plateau of Tibet. There, in interaction with the indigenous Bon religion, and with forms of Buddhism that had traveled to Tibet from East Asia, a distinctive and vibrant form of Mahayana Buddhism emerged known as Vajrayana, the “Diamond Vehicle.”