Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Christianity in Formation 100-313 (DIVI08017)

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
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 Students MUST NOT also be taking Christianity in Formation 100-313 (ECHS08010)
Other requirements Students who have previously taken the following course MUST NOT enroll: Christianity in Formation 100-313 (ECHS08010)
Information for Visiting Students
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, 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
ndicative 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 - Empathy and imaginative insight, with a tolerance of diverse positions
- Presentation skills, both oral and written, supported by appropriate technologies
- Technological and media literacy, including the generation of documents and other resources
- Electronic communication and interaction in various forms and accessing information from a variety of sources
KeywordsChristianity,religion,Roman empire,martyrdom,Mediterranean history
Course organiserDr Sara Parvis
Tel: (0131 6)50 8907
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information