HISTORY I (HS-8010)

(09/07/2021-12/17/2021)

Course Memo

Christianity from Jewish Sect to Colonial Religion. Online, asynchronous version of HS 1080. This course is an introduction to the history of Christianity and historical theology from the second to the seventeenth centuries. During this time, Christianity developed the main features of what is today the world's largest religion. Along the way, Christianity was transformed again and again as it adapted to vastly different, changing cultural and social environments. This course is about Christianity in the real world. You will learn how to study the origins and development of beliefs and practices, but you will also study much more. The course will introduce you to the continuities and varieties of Christian experience and belief in different times and places, from the Roman Empire to Persia, China, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, and you will be introduced to the complexity of Christianity's social, cultural, and political entanglements in all these places.  The course will help you learn to break down real life situations and understand the fine points at which religious innovation and change occur, even when people try to resist change or return to the past. Audio files of weekly lectures, illustrated with slides, and videos are provided for each week. Readings from primary sources in translation are indicated on the course schedule. The readings will illustrate history, but more importantly, they will give you the opportunity to develop basic skills in assessing and evaluating the belief and behavior of religious communities in the real world. Weekly exercises will ask you to apply analytical skills, draw conclusions, and communicate them to your peers. You will be introduced to the history of the interpretation of the bible on the example of commentaries on the first day of creation in Genesis 1. You will learn about the historical entanglement of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. You will read and study several theological and mystical classics. You will be exposed to the politics, ideas, and actions that gave rise to Protestantism and the intimate relationship of Protestant and Catholic reforms. You will discover the birth of the tension between theology and natural science. Finally, you will be encouraged to apply the critical skills and aptitudes you are developing in your study of the past to situations of religious life, leadership, and service today.