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

Undergraduate Course: Christianity before Constantine, 100-306 (ECHS08008)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAn examination of the development, self-understanding and self-definition of Christianity before Constantine in the setting of the religiously pluralistic society of the Roman Empire.
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 It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed History of Christianity as a World Religion 1A (ECHS08005)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 1 introductory level Divinity/Religious Studies course at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
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 and politics of Christianity in the second and third centuries.
  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
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Sara Parvis
Tel: (0131 6)50 8907
Course secretaryMs Katrina Munro
Tel: (0131 6)50 8900
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