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Martha G. Newman, Chair BUR 529, Mailcode A3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-7737

Summer 2003

R S f318 • The Rise of Christianity (Area II)

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
87665 MTWThF
10:00 AM-11:30 AM
WAG 101

Course Description

An introduction to the origins and development of Christianity from the earliest days of the Jesus sect in first century Judea to the middle of 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 Graeco-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 archeological evidence relevant to the historical and cultural setting.

In addition to the 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. Firsthand knowledge of biblical materials or traditions is not assumed.

Grading Policy

  • 2 Quizzes 30%
  • 1 Essay 30%
  • Final Exam (cumulative) 30%
  • Class Participation and Attendance 10%


  • Bible (with Apocrypha)
  • Koester, H., History and Literature of Early Christianity.
  • Meeks, W.A., The Moral World of the First Christians.
  • Segal, A.F., Rebecca¬ís Children: Judaism and Christianity in Roman World.


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