| history - xianity | roots | icons | trinity - church | eastern doctrines | commmunion |


Prof. Jaroslav Skira

History of Christianity I (0-843AD)


RGH1010 syllabus (PDF) for 2005/6 (available Sept. 2005). The materials contained on this web-site complement the full syllabus.

Student Evaluations
of this course.


Brief Syllabus

From the sub-apostolic age to the "Triumph of Orthodoxy" in the East and the Carolingian revival and Treaty of Verdun in the West. Geographical expansion of the church; the relation of Christian faith to cultural settings and other religions; the development of doctrinal and ethical positions; forms of Christian life and worship; the rise of Islam. Lectures, tutorials, Short papers, essay.

Note: Please consult the syllabus given to you in class for course requirements & due dates. And, check back weekly for updates to the on-line Lecture & Tutorial readings.

Course Texts & Readings:
1. New for 2005: Gonzalez, J. The Story of Christianity. Vol. 1. Harper & Row, 1984. (Any edition is acceptable. Available at Crux Bookstore, behind Wycliffe College).
2. The on-line readings listed below [Uploaded weekly].
3. Some photocopies [the small cost will be calculated towards the end of the course].

On-line reference materials:
1. General Assignment & Research information.
2. Time-Line for Selected Early Church Authors (PDF)
2. Researching Early Christian History & Authors (PDF)
4. Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (A Comparison) (PDF)



1. Introduction:
-Methodology & Who Were the Early Christians?

- definition of terms; sources; background information; historiography.


2. The Apostolic Church :
- Mission, Conversion, Church & State

- the spread of Gospel; Judaism; paganism; Didache, Clement of Rome, Hermas, Ignatius.

Lecture & Tutorial Readings

Optional: For some maps and additional information, consult: "From Jesus to Christ."


3. Apologists, Martyrs & Systems of Cosmic Redemption
- State Persecution of Christians: Polycarp, Justin, Athenagoras, Papias, Perpetua & Felicity; Irenaeus & Gnosticism; Montanism.

Lecture & Tutorial Readings

Archeology: Some images of the catacombs in Rome.
A brief synopsis of Elaine Pagel's, The Gnostic Gospels.


4. Early Western Authors & North African Christianity
- Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian, Sabellianism.

Lecture & Tutorial Readings


5. The Early School at Alexandria
- Pantaneus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Ps-Dionysius.

Lecture & Tutorial Readings
AND Review this MAP of the growth of Christianity (c.100-300AD).

Maps: Other maps at Ancient World Mapping Centre [see the section of free maps].
Optional: A resource for other on-line writings in early Christianity.


6. Early Christologies & Councils (Nicea I - 325AD)
- Athanasius, Arius, Eusebius, Donatism, Church-State.

Lecture & Tutorial Readings

The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. I'll hand out a copy in class, but you should review this prior to class.

Archeology: Triumphal Arch of Constantine, constructed to honour his "triumph" in becoming the Roman emperor in the West.

Archeology: Ancient world map of Nicea. Click on the map of Turkey, then click on Nicea. Read the opening narrative.


7. Cappadocians, Spirit-Fighters & Constantinople 1 (381)
- Macrina the Younger, Basil the Great, Gregory Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa.

Lecture & Tutorial Readings


8. Syriac Christianity & the Roots of Monasticism
- Bardaisan, Aphrahat, Ephraem, Pachomius, Anthony, Basil, Evagrius, Syncletica, Egeria -

Lecture & Tutorial Readings

Archeology: Read the synopsis of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Anastasis) [built on the site that Egeria describes in the tutorial readings]. Click on the link to "Helena."


9. East & West in the Fourth Century
- Ambrose, Augustine, Hilary of Poitiers, Jerome, Vincent of Lérins, John Chrysostom -

Lecture & Tutorial Readings

Manuscripts: Read about the Latin Vulgate and Jerome's contributions.

Manuscripts: For contextual information relating to Jerome's work on the Scriptures, read the commentary on the Codex Sinaiticus, a mid-fourth century manuscript of the New Testament.


10. The Theotokos & Ephesus (431), Chalcedon & Classical Christological Doctrine
- Theodore of Mopseustia, Cyril of Alexandria, Nestorius, Leo, Eutyches, Assyrian & Oriental Orthodox Churches..

Lecture & Tutorial Readings

Maps: Familiarize yourself with this modern map of the Middle East, and compare it to the historical map you received with the course syllabus. Look also at this satellite map and read the commentary.

*** It is very important that you get a sense of modern and ancient geography---it will help you contextualize the geographical spread of Christianity in the East. This will also be useful for next week when we describe the rise of Islam.

Archeology: Take a look at this ancient world map of Ephesus. Click on the map of Turkey, then click on Ephesus. A window will pop up, and on the bottom left-hand corner will appear a legend map. Click on the area to the left of "Church" and a virtual tour of the ruins will begin. Clicking on the coloured dots will load a panoramic video. You can then "move around" in the video to see what is around you (you can also zoom in and out of each shot). See if you can find what looks like a baptismal font? an altar/sanctuary?
[Hint: You navigate in the video by placing the mouse cursor over the video window, and hold down the left mouse key to "drag" you left or right. You need a high-speed internet connection for this].


11. Christological Disputes Continue & Invasions in the East & the West (6th-7th centuries)
- monotheletism; invasions in the West; Islam in the East; Gregory the Great; Justinian I.

Lecture & Tutorial Readings

Architecture & Manuscripts: See the links within the tutorial readings.


12. Iconoclastic Crisis in the East & a New Emperor in the West (to 843AD)
- Charlemagne; iconoclasm & Nicea II; John Damascus; Theodore the Studite; Theodore Abu Qurrah; China; early missions to the Slavs. Conclusion/summary of course.

Lecture & Tutorial Readings

Archeology: A description and images of the "Nestorian Stone" in China (c.781).

Review: "Comparison Table of Iconoclast & Iconophile Thought" (Print and bring it to class).

Icon: The image described in the legend of Abgar (above) is called the Acheiropoietos (literally, "not-made-with-human-hands"). Here is an example of this icon.

Optional Icons: Some early images, from the second century up to the 8th century. [I will comment on these in class in a slide-show presentation].






jerry.skira@utoronto.ca |