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Early Christianity

How did Christianity develop from a marginalised and persecuted sect to the dominant religion of the Roman Empire? This module examines the first four centuries of Christianity within the pluralistic context of religious and social life in the Roman Empire. Classes are structured thematically, with a strong emphasis on literary and material sources, and discussions of modern theoretical approaches. These themes include, scripture and the written word, persecution, identity, gender, sacred space, and the rise of monasticism.
  • Module Organiser:
    • Dr Rebecca Usherwood
  • Duration:
    • Semester 1
  • Contact Hours:
    • 22 hrs (11 2-hr seminars)
  • Weighting:
    • 10 ECTS
  • Assessment:
    • 100% Continuous Assessment

Learning Outcomes

On successful conclusion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate sound knowledge of the main features of the first four centuries of Christianity’s development in the Roman empire
  • Analyse and interpret a broad range of primary sources, both literary and material, within their socio-historical context
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the major theoretical approaches, debates, and scholarship relevant to class topics
  • Develop and explore independent research questions, building from class coverage
  • Discuss the above critically and independently, and express themselves both orally and in written form in a clear and scholarly manner

Introductory Reading

  • Ashbrook, Susan, and Hunter, David G. (2008) (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies. Oxford.
  • Clark, Gillian (2004) Christianity and Roman Society. Cambridge.
  • Lee, A. Doug (2016) Pagans and Christians in Late Antiquity: A Sourcebook. Abingdon.