Philip A Ballinger
H A&S 350
Discussion of selected topics in a variety of subject-matter fields. Topics and reading material vary from year to year. For university honors students only. Credit/no credit only.
Students will analyze texts from the earliest centuries of Christianity --some well known, others hardly known. Students will engage topics such as textual criticism, source criticism, influences upon the development of structure and creed in the early church, the formation of the New Testament canon, and the important influences of Judaism and Gnosticism upon early Christianity. Students will also spend time assessing the remnants of Roman writings about early Christians.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
The colloquium will be based upon reading, research and discussion. Most readings will be from translated primary sources. Students should expect to prepare readings for class discussion, to present upon a researched topic, and to participate in an online discussion board. The instructor will lecture minimally in order to provide context for the readings and discussions.
For students who have not studied a related topic before, the reading of an introductory text will help engage the colloquium more fully. Here are some suggestions for consideration if the colloquium topics are completely new territory: 'The Early Church' by Henry Chadwick (a history primer), 'The Rise of Christianity' by Rodney Stark (a sociological perspective), 'An Introduction to the New Testament' by Raymond Brown (a comprehensive work on the background, formation and content of the New Testament), or 'From Jesus to Christianity' by L. Michael White (a work focused upon the origins of Christianity and its scriptures).
Class assignments and grading
Preparing readings from primary sources for class discussion, completing contextual reading in critical texts, posting observations on an online colloquium discussion board, and offering an oral presentation on a related topic of research.
Participation and preparation.