Problems in the history and literature of early Christianity.
This is a course in the history of western religious traditions, that is, those traditions originating west of India. It begins with ancient Mesopotatia and Egypt, goes on to the religion of ancient Israel, then considers Zoroastrianism and Greek Mysteries before proceeding to Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. It concludes with Islam. Students should learn both the basic historical facts about each of these traditions and the fundamental patterns of thought they involve as well as the ways in which themes and symbols have passed from one tradition to another over time.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
The general method of instruction is lectures by the professor of the course with discussion in sections led by a teaching assistant. The focus of the lectures is historical and phenomenological. > >
No special background is presupposed. A text book and a reader will contain all the materials students need to know for the course, with the exception that the lectures will discuss in detail some passages from the Bible.
Class assignments and grading
Students will be expected to read the relevant background material before lectures. They will also be given specific reading assingments for discussion and occasional quizzes or short papers in sections.
10% of the grade will be based on students' participation in sections; this will be based both on class participation and on work assigned for the sections. 90% of the grade will be based on the exams. There will be two midterm exams and a final exam. All exams must be taken at the designated time, except where a student has a documented medical reason for absence.