Religion 45


Spring 2008

Professor Robert Doran    206 Chapin Hall
Office Hours: Wednesday 2-3 p.m. and by appointment, ext. 2338

Texts available at the Jeffery Amherst Bookstore:

Robert Doran        The Birth of a Worldview
Thomas F. Mathews    The Clash of Gods
William G. Rusch    The Trinitarian Controversy

We will be using Blackboard, and there is a course reader.
I have put many of the readings from primary documents on Blackboard.

REQUIREMENTS:  Students are required to attend each class and to participate actively and intelligently in class discussion. This means that you must download and print off the primary readings from Blackboard so as to be able to work with them in class.  There will also be four papers.  Topics for each paper will be chosen by the student in consultation with me.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON PAPERS: I consider papers to be part of the learning process in this course.  They are not simply quizzes on what you know, but enable me to help you both with content and also matters of style and structure.  Therefore, papers should be handed in on time.  If you are pressed to do this, please do not hesitate to ask for an extension of a few days.  However, if the paper is not handed in by a week after its due date it loses its value as an educational tool and it will receive a 0 grade.

Jan. 28:     Introduction                                                
Christians and Their World


Jan. 30:          Letter of Pliny the Younger (Amherst College Web Course Site, external links 1-2)

Feb. 1:               Martyrdom of Polycarp  (ACWCS, external links 1-2)

Feb. 4:         The Roman World (Cary, A History of Rome, pp. 607-665, Course Reader)

Feb. 6:        Acts of Thecla (ACWCS, course document 1)

Feb. 8:         The Roman World 2nd Century-II (Cary, A History of Rome, 666-701, Course Reader)

Feb. 11:    Martydom of Perpetua and Felicitas (ACWCS, external link 6)

Feb. 13:    Rome at beginning of 3rd Century (Cary, A History of Rome, 702-718, Course Reader)

Feb. 15-18:    Mid-3rd Century Crises in Rome (Cary, A History of Rome, 721-734, Course Reader)
        Martyrdom of Pionius and Great Persecution (external link )

Feb. 20:    Jews in Roman World (Doran, Birth of a Worldview, pp. 51-63)
            ACWCS, course document 5
            ACWCS,  external link 10

Pagan World-view
Feb. 22-27:        Doran, Birth of a World-View, pp. 31-50
                    Sallustius (ACWCS, external link 9)
                    Plotinus (ACWCS, course document 4)

Mar. 3:                Lecture by Thomas Mathews, 4:30 p.m.
                        Attendance Required
                    Reading for class: Mathews, The Clash of Gods, ch. 4

Varieties of Christians

Mar. 5:                Other Gospels:
                    Gospel of the Nazoreans (ACWCS, course document 1)
                    Gospel of the Ebionites (ACWCS, course document 1)
                    Gospel of the Egyptians (ACWCS, course document 1)
                    Gospel of Thomas 1-4, 21-22, 96-98, 114 (ACWCS, course document 2)

Mar. 7:                Infancy Gospel of James (ACWCS, external link 4)
                    Infancy Gospel of Thomas (ACWCS, external link 5)
                    Gospel of Mary (ACWCS, external link 7)

Mar. 10-12:        Attitudes to Hebrew Scriptures
                    Apocryphon of John (ACWCS, external link 13)
                    Ptolemy‚Äôs Letter to Flora (ACWCS, external link 14)
                    Gospel of Truth (ACWCS, external link 12)
                    Doran, Birth of a World-View, pp. 65-74

Mar. 14:            Mainstream Voices
                    Justin Martyr (ACWCS, course document 7)
                    Origen (ACWCS, course document 8)
                    Doran, Birth of a World-View, pp. 74-84

Mar. 17-23:        Mid-Semester Break

Constantine the Great and His Successors

Mar. 24-26:        Eusebius, In Praise of Constantine (ACWCS, course document 12)
                    Cary, A History of Rome, pp. 735-781, Course Reader
                    Doran, Birth of a Worldview, pp. 12-29


Mar. 28-Apr. 2:    Arian Controversy
                    William Rusch, The Trinitarian Controversy, pp. 29-161
                    Doran, Birth of a Worldview, pp. 85-105

Apr. 4-9:            Rise of Christian Art
                    Mathews, Clash of Gods

Apr. 11-14:        Notions of Holiness
                    Life of Antony (ACWCS, course document 14)
                    Life of Man of God (ACWCS, course document15)

Apr. 16-21:        Nestorian Controversy
                    Doran, Birth of a Worldview, pp. 105-114
                    Cyril of Alexandria, Second Letter of Cyril to Nestorius, Nestorius to Cyril
                        (ACWCS, course document 16)

Apr. 23-May 2:    Pelagian Controversy
                    Augustine, On Grace and Free Will (ACWCS, external link 16)
                    Selections from Greek Fathers (ACWCS, course document 17)
                    Doran, Birth of a Worldview, pp. 115-143

May 5:                Role of Women
                    Doran, Birth of Worldview, pp. 145-156

May 7-9:            Conclusion

On Reserve:

M. Cary, A History of Rome
Robert Doran, Birth of a Worldview
W.H.C. Frend, The Rise of Christianity
Thomas F. Mathews, The Clash of Gods
William G. Rusch, The Trinitarian Controversy
Richard Norris, The Christological Controversy