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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : History of Christianity

Undergraduate Course: Christianity in Formation 100-313 (ECHS08010)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course studies the forging of Christian identity, tradition and diversity in the violent but culturally stimulating period between the New Testament and Constantine, against the background of Judaism and the Classical Roman world.
Course description Academic Description:
An examination of the development, self-understanding and self-definition of Christianity in the period between the New Testament and the advent of Constantine, in the setting of the religiously pluralistic society of the Roman Empire. The aim of the course is to give students a general understanding of the development of early Christianity before Constantine, and of its intellectual, cultural, and religious context in the Roman empire of the second and third centuries, and familiarity with a representative range of original sources from the early Christian world, both literary and visual.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
The course will look at ways in which Christianity was defined over against Judaism and paganism; at Christian engagement with Graeco-Roman education and philosophy; at the development of the ideology of martyrdom; at sociological questions, including the role of women, slaves and commerce in the growth of Christianity; at the construction of orthodoxy and heresy; and at non-literary evidence of Christianity in this period.

Student Learning Experience Information:
This course offers students an in-depth, thematic study of Christianity over a relatively short period of two centuries, allowing them to pursue particular questions in greater depth than is possible in a survey course. It includes elements of history, Classics, philosophy, theology and sociology, allowing students to specialize in the areas of most interest to them while still gaining a broad knowledge of Christianity in the period. It allows students unfamiliar with the period an encounter with a thought-world of a place and time far removed from our own, and allows those familiar with it to engage with its cultural questions from new angles. Students are expected to attend two lectures and a tutorial each week, and to participate in tutorials both by posting up comments on the weekly text in advance of the tutorial, and by contributing to the tutorial discussion. Students are encouraged to read widely in order to make the most of the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 160 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Essay (30%) «br /»
Written tutorial contributions (10%) «br /»
Exam (60%)
Feedback Tailored essay-specific essay preparation session with opportunity for individual advice (week 4)

Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a knowledge in some depth of aspects of the geography, literature, culture, sociology and politics of Christianity in the period 100-313CE.
  2. Analyse and refer in argument to selected texts in English by and about Christians as evidence for Christian culture, beliefs and politics in the period.
  3. Contribute to group discussion about these texts.
  4. Address a disputed scholarly question regarding a particular aspect of Christian history in this period, showing knowledge in some depth of several scholarly readings of the relevant evidence.
Reading List
Indicative Bibliography:

Melito of Sardis, On Pascha and Fragments, ed. Stuart George Hall, Oxford Early Christian Texts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979)
Lieu, Judith M., Image and Reality: The Jews in the World of the Christians in the Second Century (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1996)
______, Neither Jew nor Greek? Constructing Early Christianity (London: T & T Clark, 2002)
Schürer. Emil, History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jewish Christ (175 B.C.-135 A.D.), revised edn Geza Vermes at al., 3 vols in 4 (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1973-86)
Kraemer, Ross, Unreliable Witnesses: Religion, Gender, and History in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean (New York : Oxford University Press, 2011).
Grabbe, Lester L, Judaism from Cyrus to Hadrian (SCM Press 1992)
De Lange, Nicholas, Atlas of the Jewish World (Oxford: Equinox, 1984)
T.D. Barnes, ¿Pre-Decian Acta Martyrum¿, Journal of Theological Studies n.s. 19 (1968), 509-531, reprinted in Barnes, Early Christianity and the Roman Empire (London, 1984)
G.W. Bowersock, Martyrdom and Rome (Cambridge, 1995)
W.H.C. Frend, Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church (Oxford, 1965)
Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians (Harmondsworth, 1986)
Stephen Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians (London, 1985)
Jefrey W. Hargis, Against the Christians, The Rise of Early Anti-Christian Polemic (New York, 1999)
Robert L. Wilken, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them (New Haven, 1984)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Collect and synthesise evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources applicable to the study of history, theology and/or religious studies;
- Evaluate and critique the work of historical scholars; Read and interpret a range of different sources within their historical, social and theoretical contexts and be able to differentiate primary from secondary sources;
- Express clearly ideas and arguments, both orally and in writing and in electronic media;
- Develop oral presentation and participation skills during seminars and group work, and in written form through essays.
KeywordsChristianity,religion,Roman empire,martyrdom,Mediterranean history
Course organiserDr Sara Parvis
Tel: (0131 6)50 8907
Course secretaryMs Katrina Munro
Tel: (0131 6)50 8900
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