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PPR.358: Early Christianity

Tutor: TBC
Term: Not available 2014/15

Course Description

This course deals with the formative period of Christian history, from the time of Jesus to the fall of the Roman Empire. It is distinctive in approaching early Christianity from an interdisciplinary standpoint, and in considering it in terms of three dimensions of the religion: 1) Christian institutions (and their relation with wider socio-political contexts), 2) Christian pieties and worship, and 3) Christian thought and the formation of doctrine.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Summarise and discuss the key events, individuals, and developments in the first five centuries of Christian history.
  • Relate the growth of early Christianity to its wider social and political contexts.
  • Articulate and contextualise the thought of at least one church father.
  • Read primary texts from the period in an historically responsible fashion.
  • Use primary texts to inform their own research and demonstrate in practice an awareness of the way in which secondary literature and scholarly debates should be used in the study of early Christian history.


40% coursework and 60% exam.
Coursework: 1 essay of 3000 words. Exam: 2 hours.

Teaching Method

Lecture (2 hours) weekly, and seminar (1 hour) fortnightly.

Introductory Reading

S.G. Hall Doctrine and Practice in the Early Church

J. Herrin The Formation of Christendom

J. Stevenson A New Eusebius

J. Stevenson Creeds, Councils and Controversies

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