This course is a study of the foundation of the Church from 6 BC until 694 AD. Within this period the course is going to deal with the rise of Christianity and the foundation of the primitive Church, the Imperial Church (between the years 313-395 AD) and later, the course will deal with the scattering of the Church after 395 until 694. The course is going to focus on the main events and the main personalities that affected on the religious, cultural and political life of the Mediterranean of the Greco-Roman world.
General introduction to Church History. I. Beginning of Christianity (6 BC – AD 395). The Church in a Pagan Empire (6 BC – AD 313). The Primitive Church. The Post-apostolic Period. Encounter between Christianity and Paganism. Internal life of the Churches in the first three centuries. II. The Imperial Church (AD 313 – 395). Organization and expansion. Theological disputes. Beginning of the Golden Age of Patristic Learning. III. The Scattered Churches (AD 395 – 694). a. The First Church: A Church under imperial rule. Conditions of the Eastern Empire. Organization of the Eastern Church, Rise of Constantinople. Christological controversies. b. The Second Church: A Church in turmoil. State of Empire and Church. Controversies and intellectual personalities. Two columns of the new world in construction: Papacy; Coming of age of western monasticism. Content: Students will study the birth of the Church in the pagan empire (the reaction of the pagans to the rise of Christianity), until the adopting of Christianity in the year 313 AD by Constantine the Great. Students will learn about the post-apostolic period and the internal life of the different Churches in the first three centuries. • The Course will provide information about Constantine’s policies and his attitude towards Christianity between the years 313-337 AD, the organisation and the expansion of the imperial church and the ecumenical council of Nicaea in 325. • It will provide also brief information about the “golden age” in the 4th-5th century of patristic learning. • Students will read about the Church under the imperial rule and the scattering of the religious institutions between the years 395-488 AD. The condition and the organisation of the Eastern Church, the rise of Constantinople and the Christological controversies. • It will treat also the state of Empire and Church, controversies and the main intellectual personalities during the end of the 5th until the end of the 7th century AD. The Papacy and the age of the western monasticism and their influence on the history of the Church. Learning Outcomes: Students will be able: • to acquire knowledge about the historical context of Christianity from the birth of the Church and the encounter with the Jewish religion and paganism. • to understand the currents of thoughts that challenged the faith and unity of the Church. • to know, by the end of this course, the structure of the Church and the different doctrines that developed during the early history of Christianity. • to understand the different traditions and to evaluate the developing eastern and western Church. • to know the role of the main personalities of the Church during this period (6BC-694 AD) and the intellectual dialogue with paganism. Students will be able : • to write a scientific essay and to improve their research skills. • to improve their presentation skills during the course. (Such as to summerize a chapter of the requirements of the course within fifteen minutes). • to deal with different historical resources dealing with the history of the Church in order to create critical thinking about these resources.
Bainton, H.R. Christianity. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985. Brox, N. A History of the Early Church. London: SCM Press Ltd, 1994. Christophe, P. 2000 ans d’histoire de l’Eglise. Paris: Mame-Desclée, 2012. Duffy E. Saints and Sinners, A History of the Popes. 3rd Edition. London: Yale University Press, 2006. Freeman C. A New History of Early Christianity. London: Yale University Press, 2009. Frend, W.H.C. The Rise of Christianity. London: Fortress Press, 1984. Harding, M. Early Christian Life and Thought in Social Context, A reader. London: T&T Clark International, 2003. Duchesne, L. Early History of the Christian Church. From its Foundation to the End of the Fifth Century. Vol. 3 - The fifth century. Alcester: Read Books, 2009. Wilken, R. L. The First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014.