This course is a study of the Church’s founding centuries through gaining a basic knowledge of facts, events, and personalities of the Mediterranean Greco-Roman world.
General introduction to Church History. I. Beginning of Christianity (6 BC – AD 395). The Church in a Pagan Empire (6 BC – AD 313). The Primitive Church. The Post-apostolic Period. Encounter between Christianity and Paganism. Internal life of the Churches in the first three centuries. II. The Imperial Church (AD 313 – 395). Organization and expansion. Theological disputes. Beginning of the Golden Age of Patristic Learning. III. The Scattered Churches (AD 395 – 694). a. The First Church: A Church under imperial rule. Conditions of the Eastern Empire. Organization of the Eastern Church, Rise of Constantinople. Christological controversies. b. The Second Church: A Church in turmoil. State of Empire and Church. Controversies and intellectual personalities. Two columns of the new world in construction: Papacy; Coming of age of western monasticism. Learning Outcomes: Students will acquire a sense of context by appraising the adjusting of Christianity to the pagan world, and by gaining a positive view of the development of ecclesial structures and doctrines. They will be able to identify the rich diversity of the different ecclesial traditions and evaluate the elements of estrangement slowly developing between the Eastern and Western Churches.
Textbook: Handouts given by the professor. BELLITTO C.M., The General Councils. A history of the Twenty One Church Councils from Nicaea to Vatican II; CHADWICK H., The Early Church (London) (Penguin History of the Church); COMBY J., How to read Church History, Vol. 1: From the beginning to the fifteenth century (London, 1988); CROSS F.L. ed., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (London, Oxford University Press 1963); FREND W.H.C., The Rise of Christianity (London, Fortress Press 1984); VAN DER MEER F.-MOHRMANN C., Atlas of the Early Christian World (London, Nelson 1959); MEYENDORFF J., Imperial Unity and Christian Divisions. The Church 450-680 ad. (New York, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press 1989); WARE T. The Orthodox Church (London, 1984.