For each day, readings are listed which should be done before coming to class that day. Primary source readings (from ANT, CLA, or on-line) should also be brought to class to facilitate discussion.
On-line readings (underlined below in blue) can be accessed by clicking directly on the links below.
Photocopied readings (underlined below in red), are available through Sakai; if you are already logged in to Sakai on your computer, you can click directly on the links below to access the additional readings. You can also log into Sakai, click on "Resources," and download the files from there.
Detailed lists of readings from the two sourcebooks (ANT = After the New Testament; CLA = Christianity in Late Antiquity) are given below (your paper syllabus just lists page numbers), including the title and number of the reading.

Assignment due dates and other significant dates are highlighted below in green.

In addition, I have included several For more information... links throughout the online syllabus. Some of you may want to explore the contexts of our readings beyond class discussion: these links are reliable starting points, some greatly detailed others just for fun!

Aug 30 (T): Course Introduction
No reading


Sept 1 (R): "I am Legion": The Jesus Movement in its Imperial Context

Gospel of Mark
1 Thessalonians
ANT, "General Introduction" (1-7)

For more information... on the Gospel of Mark and its relation to the Jesus movement, click here
For more information... on Paul and his letters, click here

Sept 6 (T): "Superstitious Lunatics": Roman Views of the First Christians
ANT, Text 4: "Pliny's Letter to Trajan" (29-30)
ANT, Text 5: "The Letter of Ignatius to the Romans" (31-33)

*"Pliny: A Roman Gentleman," from Robert Wilken, Christians as the Romans Saw Them, 1-30

For more information... on Pliny the Younger, check out this detailed bio; there's also a craft beer named after him!

Sept 8 (R): "The Adversary Swooped": Telling Martyr Tales

ANT, "The Attack on Christianity: Persecution and Martyrdom in the Early Church" (26-28)
ANT, Text 7: "The Letter of the Churches of Lyons and Vienne" (40-45)
ANT, Text 9: "The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas" (47-55)

For more information... here is a map of locations of martyrdoms.

Sept 13 (T): "We State Our Case": Defending Christianity

ANT, "The Defense of Christianity: Pagan Antagonists and Christian Apologists" (56-58)
ANT, Text 14: "Athenagoras: Plea Regarding the Christians" (82-88)
ANT, Text 15: "The Letter to Diognetus" (88-92)
ANT, Text 16: "Tertullian: Apology" (92-99)

For more information... about the Roman Emperors to whom these "apologies" were addressed, view the capsule biographies at the Roman Emperors website (check out Antoninus Pius, Lucius Verus, and Marcus Aurelius)

Sept 15 (R): "Be Now Converted by my God": Christian Separation

, "The Spread of Christianity: Early Christians and Their Converts" (8-10)
ANT, Text 1: "The Acts of John" (11-13)
ANT, Text 2: "The Acts of Thomas" (14-19)
ANT, Text 3: "Justin's Dialogue with Trypho" (19-25)

* "Christianity as a Burial Society," from Robert Wilken, Christians as the Roman Saw Them, 31-47

For more information... on ancient "associations," browse this collection of sources from ancient Greece and Roma


Sept 20 (T): "Circumcise our Ears": Christians as New Israel

ANT, "Anti-Judaic Polemic: The Opposition to Jews in Early Christianity" (111-13)
ANT, Text 18: "The Epistle of Barnabas" (114-23)
ANT, Text 19: "Justin: Dialogue With Trypho" (115-32)

For more information... on the history and theology of Jewish-Christian relations, check out the resources at this site

Sept 22 (R): "The Perfect Realm": Christians as Spiritual

ANT, "Gnostic Christian Texts: Introduction" (162-63)
ANT, "Sethian Gnostics" (164-65)
ANT, Text 25: "The Secret Book of John" (165-74)
ANT, Text 31: "The Hymn of the Pearl" (203-5)

For more information... on Nag Hammadi and gnostic texts and beliefs, look through this website on Gnosticism

Sept 23 (F): Directed Reading due by 5pm (uploaded to Sakai)

Sept 27 (T): "Blessed are Virgins": Christians as Virtuous

, Text 41: "The Proto-Gospel of James" (270-77)
ANT, "Women and Gender: Christianity in a Patriarchal World" (475-76)
ANT, Text 83: "The Acts of Thecla" (478-84)
ANT, Text 89: "Women Montanist Prophets" (503-4)

For more information... on gender in the ancient world, check out the resources at this site
For more information... on "New Prophecy" (Montanism) read this useful summary

Sept 29 (R): "Let None be Late to Church": Christians as Institutions

, "The Structure of Early Christianity: The Development of Church Offices" (429-31)
ANT, Text 72: "The Didache" (436-37)
ANT, Text 74: "Hippolytus: The Apostolic Tradition" (441-46)
ANT, Text 77: "The Didache" (460-61)
ANT, Text 81: "Hippolytus: The Apostolic Tradition" (467-71)

For more information... You can view several ancient baptisteries here

Oct 4 (T): "Human and Demonic Doctrines": Christians as Orthodox

ANT, "The Internal Conflicts of Christianity: Writings against the 'Heretics'" (224-25)
ANT, "Proto-Orthodox Heresiologists" (226-27)
ANT, Text 36: "Tertullian: Prescription of the Heretics" (242-48)
ANT, Text 37: "Tertullian: On the Flesh of Christ" (249-55)
ANT, Text 38: "Tertullian: Against Praxeas" (256-58)

For more information... check out this map locating the "founders" of early Christian "heresies"

Oct 6 (R): "Certain Mystical Revelations": Christians as Interpreters

, "The New Scriptures: Canonical Lists in Early Christianity" (365-66)
ANT, Text 59: "The Muratorian Canon" (367-68)
ANT, Text 60: "Irenaeus: Against the Heresies" (369)
ANT, Text 61: "Origen of Alexandria" (370-71)
ANT, Text 62: "Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History" (371-72)
ANT, "Text and Meaning: The Interpretation of Scripture in Early Christianity" (373-75)
ANT, Text 67: "Origen: On First Principles" (394-405)
ANT, Text 70: "Origen: Homilies on Genesis" (422-28)

For more information... You can skim these two speeches on Origen (who is not considered a saint in Christian churches) by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
For more information... Skim through this timeline of early Christian scriptures: their languages, formats, and interpretations (be sure to click on the links in the timeline!)

Oct 11 (T): "The Cult of Christ": Christians as Subversives

ANT, Text 11: "Celsus" (62-69)
ANT, Text 12: "Porphyry" (69-73)

* "Porphyry: The Most Learned Critic of All," from Robert Wilken, Christians as the Romans Saw Them, 126-63

For more information... About Porphyry, read this entry on him from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Oct 13 (R): "Reverence of the Divinity": Christians as Triumphant (?)

CLA, Text 2: "Lactantius: The Deaths of the Persecutors" (11-23)
CLA, Text 4: "Eusebius: The Life of Constantine" (only sections from Book One) (30-36)

For more information... Check out this comprehensive website dedicated to all of the coins Constantine issued as emperor: a snapshot into his public persona
For more information... On Constantine generally (and his dynasty), read this brief but richly annotated summary of his career as emperor (and click on this links for his sons)

Oct 18 (T): NO CLASS (Fall Break)


Oct 20 (R): "An Infinity of Glories": God the Father and Son

, "Heresy and Orthodoxy" (155-56)
CLA, "Trinitarian Controversy: The Texts" (157-58)
CLA, Text 20: "Arius: Thalia" (158-59)
CLA, Text 21: "Alexander of Alexandria: Letter to Alexandria of Constantinople" (159-66)
CLA, Text 22: "Arius: Letter to Alexander of Alexandria" (166-67)
CLA, "Canons and Creeds" (242-43)
CLA, Text 33: "Creed and Canons of Nicaea" (251-56)

For more information... Check out this map of the first four ecumenical councils

Oct 21 (F): Creative Response due by 5pm (uploaded to Sakai)

Oct 25 (T): "He Became Human So We Might Be Divine": God the Father/Son/Holy Spirit

CLA, Text 26: "Athanasius: On the Incarnation of the Word" (190-200)
CLA, Text 23: "Gregory of Nazianzus: Third Theological Oration" (167-77)
CLA, Text 34: "Creed and Canons of Constantinople" (256-59)

For more information... Check out this map of the first four ecumenical councils (again)
For more information... Read these "Top 25" quotes by Gregory of Nazianzus

Oct 27 (R): "Zeus be my Witness!": Julian and the End (?) of Paganism

CLA, Text 6: "Julian: Letters on Religion" (48-53)
CLA, Text 7: "Ephraim: Hymns Against Julian" (53-57)

* "Julian the Apostate: Jewish Law and Christian Truth," from Robert Wilken, Christians as the Romans Saw Them, 164-96

For more information... about "Julian the Apostate," check out this surprising accurate and readable novel by Gore Vidal

Nov 1 (T): "Who Will Avenge a Synagogue?": Bishops and Urban Violence

, Text 30: "John Chrysostom: First Speech Against the Judaizers" (227-37)

*Ambrose, "Letter to Theodosius"

For more information... The background image for this website is of Ambrose and Theodosius: read more here!

Nov 3 (R): "The Word of God Suffered": Christ as Human and Divine

, "Christological Controversy: The Texts" (178-79)
CLA, Text 24: "Nestorius: Letter to Cyril of Alexandria" (179-82)
CLA, Text 25: "Cyril of Alexandria: Third Letter to Nestorius" (182-88)
CLA, Text 35: "Canons of Ephesus" (259-61)
CLA, Text 36: "Definition and Canons of Chalcedon" (261-67)

Severus of Antioch, "Letter 97 (To Caesaria")

For more information... I wrote about the circumcision of Christ not too long ago


Nov 8 (T): "The Desert a City": Founding Monastic Myths

, "Asceticism and Monasticism" (268-69)
CLA, Text 38: "Pachomian Rules" (291-99)
CLA, Text 39: "Sayings of the Desert Fathers" (300-307)
CLA, Text 46: "Athanasius: Life of Antony" (368-77)

For more information... see this reconstruction of the compound of Pachomius's monastery

Nov 10 (R): "Listen O Daughter": Ascetic Transformations

CLA, Text 37: "Jerome: Letter to Eustochium" (270-90)
CLA, Text 40: "Antony: Letters" (only Letter One and Letter Five) (308-12)

For more information... Here are some images of Eustochium, all very different, from the Wikimedia Commons

Nov 11 (F): Argument Analysis due by 5pm (uploaded to Sakai)

Nov 15 (T): "They Showed Us the Place": Pilgrimages and Remains

, "Pilgrims, Relics, and Holy Places" (331-32)
CLA, Text 42: "Egeria: Travel Journal" (333-47)
CLA, Text 43: "Gregory of Nyssa: Letter on Pilgrimage" (347-50)
CLA, Text 45: "Lucianus: On the Discovery of Saint Stephen" (360-65)

For more information... about Saint Stephen, read his (brief) story in Acts of the Apostles
For more information... on pilgrimage to the holy land in antiquity, check out this site

Nov 17 (R): NO CLASS (Professor at conference)

Nov. 22 (T): "The Eyes of Faith": Art, Ritual, and Expression

CLA, Text 15: "John Chrysostom: Second Baptismal Instruction" (123-28)
CLA, "Christian Art and Architecture" (466-67)
CLA, Text 57: "Paulinus of Nola: Song of Felix's Church" (468-73)
CLA, "Text" 58: "Christian Art in Late Antiquity" (474-80)

For more information... Peruse this fantastic photo album of Early Christian Art and Architecture, Professor Arthur Urbano of Providence College

Nov. 24 (R): NO CLASS (Thanksgiving)

Week of November 28: Screening of Agora (2009) (time and place TBD)

Nov. 29 (T): "I Was Filled with Amazement at Him": Reading Holy Lives

CLA, "Saints' Lives" (366-67)
CLA, Text 47: "Theodoret: The Religious History" (only the Prologue and Chapter 26: Symeon Stylites) (377-86)
CLA, Text 48: "History of the Monks of Egypt" (389-404)
CLA, Text, 49: "The Life of Pelagia" (404-16)

For more information... see these pictures of the Byzantine church built around the remains of Symeon's pillar

Dec. 1 (R): "In the Agony of Hesitation": Human Nature and Salvation

CLA, "The Nature of Humanity: Texts" (189)
CLA, Text 27: "Jerome: Letter to Ctesiphon (Against Pelagius)" (200-210)
CLA, Text 11: "Augustine: Confessions" (80-92)

For more information... Check out the novel Vita Brevis, written as a letter from Augustine's (unnamed) concubine
For more information... On Pelagius and the movement called after him, browse through Pelagius's Library

Dec. 5 (M): Take-home final available to download from Sakai (12 noon)

Dec. 6 (T): Conclusions

No reading

Dec. 7 (W): Film Analysis due by 5pm (uploaded to Sakai)

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