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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 381
Course Title: *History of Christianity: The Early Church
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

The development of Christianity from its origins in 1st century Judaism to the eve of the Reformation. Specific subjects include the development of the Tanakh, Jewish eschatology, Hellenism, the quest of the historical Jesus, Gnosticism and other so-called heresies, Nicaea, the Trinity, Augustine. Cross-listed as RELI 381.  Prerequisite:HIST 101 or HIST 111.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

HIST 101 or HIST 111.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Even Fall

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

  • Assign at least two of the texts below, then supplement with scholarly articles as appropriate:

From Jesus to Christianity
By L. Michael White
Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography
By John Dominic Crossan
The Christian Tradition (5 vols.)
By Jaroslav Pelikan
The Gnostic Gospels
By Elaine Pagels
The City of God
By Augustine
Christianity in Late Antiquity
By Ehrman, Bart (Oxford UP)
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Explain and differentiate the three basic quests for the historical Jesus.
  2. Describe the historical origins of Judaism and Christianity.
  3. Analyze and compare ancient sources such as the Torah, the New Testament, Qumran Scriptures, and Nag Hammadi scriptures with modern scholarly interpretations.
  4. Explain the influence of Hellenistic thought, Persian dualism, and Hebrew eschatology on the formation of early Christianity.
  5. Analyze the archeology of Roman Palestine in the first century.
  6. Analyze the role of heresy in the formation of Christian orthodox doctrines.
  7. Describe the Council of Nicaea and the doctrine of the Trinity.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:
  • Historical origins of ancient Judaism.
  • Basic features, political and religious, of Roman Palestine
  • Quests of the historical Jesus, from Reimarus to the Jesus Seminar.
  • Gnosticism.
  • Events leading up to the great Councils of the Church.
  • Doctrine of the Trinity.
  • Influence of Augustine in the Western Church.

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: David Karr Date: January 17, 2018
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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