Humans understand themselves, the world, and others through the stories they tell. This course will introduce students to stories created by early and Eastern Christians about their heroes and saints; stories communicated through prose, song, and iconography that continue to be enjoyed by 21st century Christians. Students will examine stories (in English translation) of holy women and men from the second century into the late 20th century: monastics, hierarchs, political leaders (emperors and revolutionaries), intellectuals, sex workers, housewives, and martyrs (both ancient and modern). Figures discussed lived in diverse locations: Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Questions addressed will include Christology, soteriology, social roles/expectations, suffering, discipline, sanctification, and hope.
Designed for advanced MDiv, MA, and PhD students, this course will combine brief lectures with seminar discussion. Students will be evaluated on the basis of class participation, one in-class presentation, and two written assignments.