As of 2015, 2.3 billion people—over 31% of the world’s population—identified as Christian (according to the Pew Research Center). But this population includes remarkable diversity, and what “looks Christian” in one region does not necessarily “look Christian” in another. How can one tell what religion someone is? What does it mean to become or to identify as Christian? And who gets to decide what “authentic” Christianity is? This course approaches these questions by looking to the past: by studying the origins of Christianity and its spread from a small part of the eastern Mediterranean to North Africa, Europe, and Asia from the late second through seventh century C.E. We will explore the development and variety of Christian groups within their historical contexts, including their religious, political, and social circumstances. Topics will include martyrdom, pilgrimage, material religion (including relics), monasticism, theological disputes, and religious conflict.
Spring semester. Assistant Professor Falcasantos.
Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English