Religious Studies | Introduction to Christianity
A250 | 27809 | S. Johnson


Above class carries COLL A & H distribution credit.
The above course offers a Hutton Honors College Discussion Section.
Previously REL-R247
This course introduces students to the history of Christianity as a
truly global religion, both within and beyond Western societies.
Students will learn about the beginnings of Christianity as a
Mediterranean religion, starting with its origins as a Jewish
movement of ethnic dissent and following its spread and development
throughout the globe.  Readings cover the early centuries of African
Christian communities among Egyptian ascetics and Donatists, the
worlds of practice and belief among Syrian and Coptic Christians and
the greater realm of Byzantine lands, and other Christianities in
what would emerge as ‘Muslim lands.’  Students will learn about
pivotal themes that have animated recent studies of Christian
history:  Who was Jesus?  Who wrote the Bible?  When?  What was
Gnosticism?  What other “lost Christianities” composed the early
churches?  How did Christians relate to Muslims and Jews in the East
and West?  What ideas did early Christians entertain about
imperialism, slavery, gender, sex, ethnicity, trance, and
meditation?  What of magic and martyrs, angels and demons?
Since the twentieth century, the demographic center of Christianity
has shifted from the West to Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  The
course, for this reason, will feature robust attention to
contemporary forms of Christianity indigenous to Africa (such as the
independent Aladura and Zionist churches) and Asia (such as the
minjung tradition) and to Christian traditions of veneration and
healing in Latin America.
Students will write brief papers that respond to assigned readings.
Exams combine multiple choice and essay formats.