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Robert Abzug, Director CLA 2.402, 305 E 23rd St B3600, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-475-6178

L. Michael White

Professor Ph.D., Yale University

Professor; Ronald Nelson Smith Chair in Classics and Christian Origins
L. Michael White

Contact

  • Phone: 512-232-1438
  • Office: WAG 212
  • Office Hours: Mon and Tues 2-3:30
  • Campus Mail Code: C3450

Biography

Fields: Flormative Judaism, New Testament and Christian Origins, Graeco-Roman Religions

 

Interests

Archaeology of ancient Synagogues; New Testament and Christian origins; social context of Jews and Christians in the Graeco-Roman period; Graeco-Roman Religion

J S 311 • The Rise Of Christianity

40215 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm SAC 1.402
(also listed as C C 318, CTI 310, R S 318 )
show description

  This course is designed to acquaint students with the sources, issues, and methods in studying the development of the earliest Christian movement, primarily in  the New Testament period.  It will survey the development of the Christian movement, from its beginnings as a reforming sect within first century Judaism until it became a major cult in the Roman world, by looking at two intersecting sets of factors:  the world situation during the period of its origins and the forces which gave it its peculiar social and theological shape.  In particular, attention will be given to critical examination of the New Testament writings themselves, in order to "place" them in their proper historical context and to reconstruct some of the major phases and factors in the development of the movement.   In the light of this critical reconstruction, sociological and anthropological methods will be introduced into the historical discussion; topics will include: sociological formation and development of sectarian groups; gender, status, group dynamics, and boundary maintenance in diaspora communities; and the evolution of organizational structures in cultural contexts.    

For the most part the primary sources for the course will be the New Testament writings themselves.  It will be necessary, therefore, for each student to have access to a good, modern version of the New Testament (and preferably the whole Bible, including the Apocrypha). For study purposes, comparison of different translations is encouraged.  The other course books (listed below) provide a guide to the early Christian writings and  the early history of the movement.    

TEXT

A BIBLE (at least the NEW TESTAMENT, preferably in a good modern translation)   [Recommended:   Harper-Collins Study Bible, 2nd ed.;    New Revised Standard Version]

L. Michael White, From Jesus to Christianity  (Harper, 2004) pb.

[ Optional:  L. Michael White, De Jesús al christianismo  (EVD, 2007; Spanish language edition of above)]

Alan F. Segal, Rebecca’s Children:  Judaism and Christianity in the Roman World (Harvard UP, 1986) pb.

A xerox packet of additional readings to accompany the syllabus  

J S 311 • The Rise Of Christianity

40050 • Spring 2012
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm JES A121A
(also listed as C C 318, CTI 310, R S 318 )
show description

    This course is designed to acquaint students with the sources, issues, and methods in studying the development of the earliest Christian movement, primarily in  the New Testament period.  It will survey the development of the Christian movement, from its beginnings as a reforming sect within first century Judaism until it became a major cult in the Roman world, by looking at two intersecting sets of factors:  the world situation during the period of its origins and the forces which gave it its peculiar social and theological shape.  In particular, attention will be given to critical examination of the New Testament writings themselves, in order to "place" them in their proper historical context and to reconstruct some of the major phases and factors in the development of the movement.   In the light of this critical reconstruction, sociological and anthropological methods will be introduced into the historical discussion; topics will include: sociological formation and development of sectarian groups; gender, status, group dynamics, and boundary maintenance in diaspora communities; and the evolution of organizational structures in cultural contexts.    

For the most part the primary sources for the course will be the New Testament writings themselves.  It will be necessary, therefore, for each student to have access to a good, modern version of the New Testament (and preferably the whole Bible, including the Apocrypha). For study purposes, comparison of different translations is encouraged.  The other course books (listed below) provide a guide to the early Christian writings and  the early history of the movement.    

TEXT

A BIBLE (at least the NEW TESTAMENT, preferably in a good modern translation)   [Recommended:   Harper-Collins Study Bible, 2nd ed.;    New Revised Standard Version]

L. Michael White, From Jesus to Christianity  (Harper, 2004) pb.

[ Optional:  L. Michael White, De Jesús al christianismo  (EVD, 2007; Spanish language edition of above)]

Alan F. Segal, Rebecca’s Children:  Judaism and Christianity in the Roman World (Harvard UP, 1986) pb.

A xerox packet of additional readings to accompany the syllabus  

J S 311 • The Rise Of Christianity

40365 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm JES A121A
(also listed as C C 318, R S 318 )
show description

An introduction to the origins and development of Christianity from the earliest days of the Jesus sect in first century Judea through the second century, when it emerged as a religion of the Roman empire. The course is designed to acquaint students with the sources, issues, and methods of studying this historical development, primarily as reflected in the New Testament and contemporaneous literature. Special attention will be given to the social, political, and religious backgrounds within the development of early Judaism and in the larger Græco-Roman environment. The study will focus on reconstruction of the religious beliefs, practices, and social organization of the early Christian movements and on critical examination of the New Testament documents in order to place them in their proper historical context. Lectures will be supplemented with archaeological evidence relevant to the historical and cultural setting. In addition to secondary readings in historical backgrounds and critical analysis, the primary sources for the course will be the New Testament writings themselves. Students will be expected to have a good modern translation of the New Testament and preferably the entire Bible with the Apocrypha. The format of the course will be primarily lecture, but it will also encourage discussion.

Texts:

Texts Bible with Apocrypha (recommended: Harper Collins Study Bible, student edition) L. M. White, From Jesus to Christianity
W.A. Meeks, The Moral World of the First Christians
A.F. Segal, Rebecca's Children: Judaism & Christianity in Roman World
A Reading Packet.

Grading:

Three quizzes (in class): 20% Each
Final exam: 40%

J S 311 • The Rise Of Christianity

40315 • Spring 2010
Meets MWF 1100-1200 JES A121A
(also listed as C C 318, R S 318 )
show description

Syllabus attached (pdf).

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