CC + tutorial: Early Christianity: from Messianic Sect to State Religion

Course Description: 

The course addresses the main issues in the development of Christianity in the first five centuries, starting as a small movement within Judaism in Palestine and developing over centuries and through various inner and outer conflicts into the dominant religion of the Mediterranean, identifying with the cause of her former enemy, the Empire in its Christianized form. The religious and social history of Christianity (and its various competing forms) has to address a number of problems from doctrinal to institutional history. The lectures which address central issues in this history, and will be accompanied by tutorial sessions in which related texts and articles will be read and presented.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • critically assess the earliest witnesses of Christianity
  • contextualize Judaism and early Christianity and their respective developments in a pagan and later Christian Roman empire
  • understand the difficulties of separating a “secular” sphere from religion (church and state) in (late) antiquity
  • analyze the rising of the papacy in late antique and early medieval Europe.

For 2+2 credit participants: weekly class journal 40%  - oral presentation 40% - participation 20%

For 2 credit participants (lecture only): weekly class journals 60%  – participation in discussions 40%

For Audit: attendance and participation in discussion 100%


No prerequisite.