Fall 2015

The Great Schism through Eastern Eyes

Moodle site: Course


Bryn I. Geffert (Section 01)


How does one account for the Great Schism, the centuries-long estrangement between the Eastern Orthodox and Western Christian churches? How does a religion such as Christianity—whose texts and traditions speak so eloquently about unity—find itself so riven by division? We'll explore such questions in a broad array of primary documents authored between the first and twenty-first centuries by Greeks, Russians, Syrians, Egyptians, Georgians, Serbs, Ukrainians, and Poles. How did the Eastern church become isolated from the West, and why does this isolation persist?

We'll engage in close reading, critical interpretation, and vigorous discussion of theological treatises, biographies, diplomatic communiqués, fiction, scripture, journalistic accounts, commentaries, missives, and satire. We'll examine portrayals of "the other" in film, painting, and propaganda. We'll consider attempts by anthropologists, theologians, and historians to explain religious divisions. We'll grapple repeatedly with tensions between, on the one hand, Eastern Orthodoxy's conception of itself as an ecumenical and universal confession, and, on the other hand, its multiple manifestations in various regions and cultures. And as we critique arguments crafted by others through the centuries, we'll critique our own in structured debates and written essays. 

Fall semester.  Professor Geffert.

If Overenrolled: Dean handles this.

Cost: $60 ?


Attention to Writing


2019-20: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015