Change to readings on March 1 indicated below.


Readings underlined in blue can be accessed directly from this website. To access readings underlined in red, you need to be logged in to your Sakai account (if you are not already logged in, you will be prompted to do so once you click on the link).


You should bring all readings to class to facilitate discussion.


Jan 25: What is theory? When is early Christianity?

Readings: Jonathan Culler, Literary Theory, chs. 1, 3, 4, 7, 8 and Appendix; *Introduction to Dale Martin and Patricia Cox Miller, The Cultural Turn in Late Ancient Studies (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005), 1-21

Background topics: Theory; Early Christianity (Professor Jacobs)


Feb 1: Sociology I: Weber and charisma

Readings: The Didache; *Selections from Max Weber, Sociology of Religion (Boston: Beacon Press, 1991 [1922]); *Selections from Gerd Theissen, The Sociology of Early Palestinian Christianity (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1978); *John G. Gager, "Shall We Marry Our Enemies? Sociology and the New Testament," Interpretation 37 (1982): 256-65

Background topics: Max Weber; Sociology (general); Routinization of Charisma


Feb 8: NO CLASS (Professor out of town)


Feb 15: Sociology II: L'affaire Rodney Stark

Readings: Stark, The Rise of Christianity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), preface, chs. 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10

Responses in Journal of Early Christian Studies, 6.2 (1998):

Todd E. Klutz, "The Rhetoric of Science in The Rise of Christianity: A Response to Rodney Stark's Sociological Account of Christianization," pp. 162-84

Keith Hopkins, "Christian Number and its Implications," pp. 185-226

Rodney Stark, "E Contrario," pp. 259-67 (Stark refers to the essay by Elizabeth Castelli, which you are not required to read but may consult here)

Background topics: Rodney Stark; Rational Choice Theory


Feb 22: Marxism: From class to "status"

Readings: Revelation to John; F. Engels, "On the History of Early Christianity"; Stark, Rise of Christianity, ch. 2; *Selection from Wayne Meeks, The First Urban Christians (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983); *Richard Rohrbaugh, "Methodological Considerations in the Debate Over the Social Class Status of Early Christians," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 52 (1984): 519-46

Background topics: Marxism (general); Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels; Ideology


Mar 1: Mary Douglas, Bodies, and Societies

Readings: Selection from John Cassian; Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger (London: Routledge, 2002 [1966]), introduction, chs. 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; *David Brakke, "The Problematization of Nocturnal Emissions in Early Christian Syria, Egypt, and Gaul," Journal of Early Christian Studies 3 (1995): 419-60; Michael Penn, "Ritual Kissing, Heresy, and the Emergence of Early Christian Orthodoxy," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 54 (2003): 625-40

Background topics: Mary Douglas; Anthropology (cultural); Structuralism


Mar 8: Freud, Anxiety, and Antiquity

Readings: Selection from Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents; E.R. Dodds, Pagan and Christian in an Age of Anxiety (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965)

Background topics: Freudian psyche; Psychohistory; E. R. Dodds


March 15-19: Spring Break


Mar 22: Next Top Model: Social Science and Social History

Readings: *Bruce J. Malina, "Early Christian Groups: Using Small Group Formation Theory to Explain Christian Organizations," in Modelling Early Christianity, ed. Philip Esler (London: Routledge, 1995), 96-113; *Elizabeth Clark, "Elite Networks and Heresy Accusations: Toward a Social Description of the Origenist Controversy," Semeia 56 (1991): 79-117; *David Horrell, "Social Sciences Studying Formative Christian Phenomena: A Creative Movement," in Handbook of Early Christianity: Social Science Approaches, ed. Anthony Blasi (Oxford: AltaMira, 2002), 3-28

Midterm Essay Due: No presentations


Mar 29: Feminism I: From Second Wave to the Linguistic Turn

Readings: *The Acts of Thecla; Stark, Rise of Christianity, ch. 5;*Selections from Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, In Memory of Her (New York: Crossroads, 2000 [1983]); *Selection from Virginia Burrus, Chastity as Autonomy (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen, 1987); *Elizabeth Clark, "The Lady Vanishes: Dilemmas of a Feminist Historian After the Linguistic Turn," Church History 67 (1998): 1-31; *Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "More on Power/Knowledge," from(London: Routledge, 1994), 141-74

Background topics: Second-Wave Feminism; Feminist Theology; Gender Studies


Apr 5: Foucault and Friends

Readings: *Selection from Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, vol. 2: The Use of Pleasure, tr. Robert Hurley (New York: Viking, 1985); *Selection from Michael Foucault, The History of Sexuality, vol. 3: The Care of the Self, tr. Robert Hurley (New York: Viking, 1986); *Daniel Boyarin and Elizabeth Castelli, "Introduction: Foucault's The History of Sexuality: The Fourth Volume, or, A Field Left Fallow for Others to Till," in Journal of the History of Sexuality 10 (2001): 357-74; *Averil Cameron, "Redrawing the Map: Early Christian Territory After Foucault," Journal of Roman Studies 76 (1986): 266-71; *Elizabeth A. Clark, "Foucault, the Fathers, and Sex," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 56 (1988): 619-41

Background topics: Michel Foucault; Post-structuralism; Discourse analysis


Apr 12: Feminism II: Third Wave

Readings: Epitaph of Paula; *Life of Pelagia; *Luce Irigaray, "The Power of Discourse and the Subordination of the Feminine," from The Irigaray Reader, ed. M. Whitford (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991), 118-32; Virginia Burrus, Sex Lives of Saints (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2004), introduction and chs. 2, 4, and postscript

Background topics: Luce Irigaray; Helene Cixous; Third-Wave Feminism; Psychoanalytic Theory (Lacan); Psychoanalytic Theory (Kristeva) 


Apr 19: Postcolonial Studies

Readings: Piacenza Pilgrim; *Andrew Jacobs, "The Lion and the Lamb: Reconsidering 'Jewish-Christian Relations' in Antiquity," in The Ways that Never Parted, ed. A.Y. Reed and A.H. Becker (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007), 95-118; *Selection from Jeremy Schott, Christianity, Empire, and the Making of Religion in Late Antiquity (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2008); Virginia Burrus, Sex Lives, ch. 3

Background topics: Postcolonial theory/criticism; Edward Said; Gayatri Spivak; Homi K. Bhabha


Apr 26: Queer Theory

Readings: *Selection from Stephen Moore, God's Beauty Parlor (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002); Virginia Burrus, Sex Lives, ch. 1

Background topics: Queer theory


May 3: Presentations and Conclusions

Readings: Class will precirculate portions of papers for discussion







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