Course Outline

Introduction to Christianity

Summer 2003: University of Pennsylvania


Part I:

OIH = Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity
Web = World Wide Web
Introductory Material
Week #1:
May 20
Overview of Course
Miracles and history
Scriptures Jewish Crucible

Part II:
History of Christianity

Christian Origins
Week #2:
May 27
Who was Jesus?
Orthodoxy and heresy
Issues in earliest Christianity
OIH:Intro., Ch. 1
Web: Books in the Christian Bible by Genre
Gospel of Mark
Proto-gospel of James
The Roman period until the birth of Islam
Week #3:
June 3
More orthodoxy and heresy
The legalization of Christianity
The great councils
Asceticism and monasticism
OIH:Ch. 2
Early medieval period
Week #4:
June 10
Church and state
Islam and the Crusades
Popular piety
The Y1K problem
OIH:Chs. 3, 5
Web: Council of Nicaea
Gerbert / Sylvester II
Urban II calls for a crusade
Late medieval and reformation
Week #5:
June 17
Heresy reborn
OIH:Chs. 6-7
Enlightenment and growth
Week #6:
June 24
Mid-term exam
Alchemy, Hermeticism, Cabala
Witchcraft and witch trials
OIH:Chs. 8-9
Recent European and Anglo-American
Week #7:
July 1
From Unitarians to Mormons
Social gospel movement
Pentecostals and Charismatics
OIH:Chs. 10-11
Recent Latin American, African, Asian
Week #8:
July 8
Missionary movements
Respective flavors of Latin American, African and Asian expressions
Composite expressions (Santería, etc.)
OIH:Chs. 12-14
Eastern Orthodoxy
Week #9:
July 15
East-West split
History of Eastern Orthodoxy
Doctrine and practice
Reconciliation movements
OIH:Chs. 4, 15

Part III:
Contemporary Issues

Christian doctrines and modern issues
Week #10:
July 22
Traditional Christian Theology
Dividing issues among modern groups
"Modern Theology"
Christianity and science
Issues in contemporary morality
OIH:Chs. 16-17
Gender issues
Week #11:
July 29
Gender and theology
Women's roles in traditional Christianity
Modern reform movements
Web: Note: no requirement to follow the links within these sites.
In Memory of Her
Her Share of the Blessings
Pope Joan
Popess Joan
Women as clergy
The Roman Catholic Church & female ordination
Female clergy in Eastern Orthodox & Protestant religions

Part IV:
Last Things

Presentations and last quiz
Week #12:
August 5
Presentations of research papers
Final Exam
Web: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Class Home Page
Class Syllabus
Last Modified July 24, 2003
by Alan Humm