The New Testament Influence
The teachings of Jesus were revolutionary in terms of Greek and Roman feeling, as well as the Hebrew religious tradition. Unlike Greek and Roman religions, which were outward and visible, Christianity was inward and spiritual, emphasizing the important relationship between the individual and God. The Hebrew conception of God was broadened from one who was personal, non-anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, and infinitely just to one who was also infinitely merciful in his justice.
At the time of Jesus' birth, four languages were spoken in Judea: classical Hebrew by priests and other educated people, Aramaic by the general population, and Greek and Latin by Jews who had entered the administrative or commercial milieux under the Hellenistic and Roman empires. The four Gospels were written in Greek about forty to sixty years after the death of Jesus. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke contain a central core of material that is believed to have come from a now-lost source, known today as the Q document. Each of these Gospels addresses a different audience: Matthew wrote for a Jewish public, Mark for a Gentile audience, and Luke for cultured Greek readers. The Gospel of John draws upon different sources. The four Gospels were collected with other documents to form the New Testament, which pope Damasus had translated from Greek to Latin by the scholar Jerome in 393-405. This translation soon became known as the Vulgate, the "common" or "popular" version.