Religious Studies | Christianity 50-450
A325 | 31426 | D. Brakke


This course provides an introductory survey of the history and literature of ancient Christianity
from its origins as a Jewish sect in Palestine to its establishment as the official religion of the
Roman Empire in the fifth century. Topics include persecution and martyrdom, scripture,
Gnosticism, theological controversies over the Trinity and the nature of Christ, Constantine
and the establishment of catholic orthodoxy, the rise of monasticism, and important figures
such as Origen and Augustine. The course emphasizes the variety of early Christian groups
and provides a good foundation for the study of Christianity in any later period (e.g., R330,
R331). It is something of a sequel to R220 (Introduction to the New Testament), but there are
no prerequisites, and no previous study of Christianity is assumed. Requirements: two tests,
final exam, some very short papers.