R S 318 • The Rise of Christianity
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
Prerequisites There are no prerequisites for this course, and a firsthand knowledge of biblical materials or traditions is not assumed. This course can be used as part of the Culture (Area D) requirement. Course 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.
Three quizzes (in class): 20% Each
Final exam: 40%
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.