Course Summary

Understanding the early church from 120 to 209

An analysis of the sources that reveal the history and nature of the church during the ninety year period from 120 through the year 209. The course presents the political, social, and religious environment, the general condition of the church, and theological positions. 3 semester hours of graduate credit. Prerequisite: MRS 540. 

Objectives

• Describe the political, social, and religious environment in the Roman Empire

• Summarize the issues that impacted the church and relate these to appropriate personalities

• Recognize the points of continuity and discontinuity with respect to the preceding decades

• Analyze the reasons for opposition to Christianity and the Christian response

• Discover how the conditions of the church during the period may be insightful for the modern church

Credit

Credit for the course requires a score of 70% or greater on each of 3 multiple choice exams, an essay exam, and a research paper.  Each graded element is valued at 20 percent of the final grade.  A sample multiple choice problem is given below.

Mark the statement that best represents the status of the church during the second century. (A) During the 2nd century, the church tended to be more accepting of other religious faiths. (B) For a time, the church was overcome by heretical positions regarding the deity of Christ. (C) The church gained recognition from the Roman government as a legal religion, hence persecution ended. (D) The church battled many heresies but remained substantially true to apostolic tradition.


Resources

Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers. Ed. by Maxwell Staniforth and Andrew Louth. Penguin Classics, 1987. 208 pages. $10.20 ISBN: 978-0140444759 (Also available online free) 

Ferguson, Everett. Early Christians Speak. Vol. 2. ACU Press, 2002. 430 pages. $21.95 ISBN: 978-0891120469