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The Origins of Christianity

  • Professor, Saint Mary’s College of California
30 Lectures (11 Discs) including Electronic Study Guide
Video DVD Set:

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Audio CD Set:

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Regular Price: $229.95

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  1. Origins-of-Christianity Bundle: The Origins of Christianity + For Christ Assembled: The Church's Ecumenical Councils - 16 CDs Total $84.95

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This brilliant course takes you on a  journey through the Christian past in order to understand our present.

Most Christians never have the opportunity to fully investigate the origins of the Bible and key theological beliefs. Now is your chance to correct that.

How did Christianity become the religion that it is today? How did bishops come along, or the Bible for that matter? Why did Christianity ultimately become a separate religion from Judaism? You will explore the key people, ideas, beliefs, and events of the vital first four centuries of Christianity.

Taught by University of Chicago-trained Catholic historian Professor Zach Flanagin, this epic course will enlighten and entertain you. In this extensive series, you will focus on six major themes in the rich history of Christianity:

  • the early Church’s relationship with Judaism,

  • Gnosticism,

  • Christianity and the Roman Empire,

  • the Early Church and women,

  • debates about Jesus’ divinity, and

  • debates about Jesus’ humanity.

Each of these themes serves as a locus for significant debates about the nature of Christian beliefs and practices.

Gain an informed understanding of Christianity’s fascinating origins today.

Learn about downloadable programs.

Your Free Electronic Study Guide! When you order this course, we will send you a free electronic study guide that you can access in 3 convenient ways:

1) You can check your order confirmation email. It will include a link that enables you to download your guide. 2) The back of your program package also contains a copy of this link. You can access your guide by simply entering this URL into your browser. 3) Your case of CDs or DVDs will contain a copy of your electronic guide on CD. Simply insert this disc into your computer's CD/DVD drive to access your guide.

Topic Titles
Topic Titles
    Theme #1: The Church Emerging from Judaism
  • Introduction: The Early Church and Judaism
  • The Early Church and the Torah
  • Finding Christian Meaning in the Old Testament: The Case of Justin Martyr
  • Christian and Jewish Identities in the Second Century: Who Is the Heir to God’s Covenant?

    Theme #2: Gnosticism and Orthodoxy
  • Gnosticism, Ptolemy, and the Old Testament
  • Gnostic Cosmology
  • Gnostic Views of Christ and Christianity
  • Reactions to Gnosticism: The New Testament Canon
  • Reactions to Gnosticism: Ignatius and the Episcopal Structure
  • Reactions to Gnosticism: Irenaeus, Apostolic Succession, and the Rule of Faith
  • Reactions to Gnosticism: Tertullian, Irenaeus, and the Stereotype of Heresy

    Theme #3: Christianity and the Roman Empire
  • The Spread of Christianity in the Empire
  • Apologies for the Faith
  • Persecution and Martyrdom
  • The Conversion of Constantine

    Theme #4: The Early Church and Women
  • Surveying the Evidence about Women in Early Christianity
  • Paul’s Perspective on Women in the Church
  • The Pauline Legacy in the Pastoral Epistles and the Acts of Thecla
  • A Positive or Negative Tale for Early Christian Women?

    Theme #5: The Divinity of Christ: The Trinitarian Debates
  • Early Christian Views of Jesus
  • Logos Christology
  • Arius and Arianism
  • The Council of Nicea
  • Alexander and Athanasius
  • After Nicea
  • The Trinity and the Council of Constantinople

    Theme #6: The Humanity of Christ: The Christological Debates
  • The Logos-Sarx Christology of Alexandria
  • The Logos-Anthropos Christology of Antioch
  • Nestorius of Constantinople and Cyril of Alexandria
  • The Council of Chalcedon
About Your Presenter

David Zachariah Flanagin, Ph.D., is Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Saint Mary’s College of California, where he teaches courses in the development of Christian thought and in biblical studies. His teaching has earned him recognition by the student body as Faculty Member of the Year. Prof. Flanagin received his doctorate in the History of Christianity from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. He is the author of a number of articles on late-medieval ecclesiology and biblical interpretation. He is the co-editor (with Christopher M. Bellitto) of Reassessing Reform: A Historical Investigation into Church Renewal, published by Catholic University of America Press. In addition to his academic duties, he lectures frequently at churches on topics in the Bible and theology.


Praise for Zach Flanagin

“Zach Flanagin is an outstanding historian… thoroughly grounded in his material, but with special gifts as a lecturer. His works in late medieval spirituality are top-notch and I commend him for searching out the origins of this spirituality in its very beginnings.”
– Gerald...

Learn More About This Professor
Customer Reviews (0)
Summer Survey: July 2017
Prof. Flanagin is very knowledgeable and delivers clear and interesting talks. Review by Matthew McCormack Malden, MA USA (Posted on 7/21/2017)
Summer Survey: July 2017
It gives insight into the diversity in the early church. Review by William Mulcahey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA (Posted on 7/20/2017)
Winter Survey: January 2017
Thorough and engaging presentation throughout. Review by Jim Toner, Reno, Nevada (Posted on 1/28/2017)
Fall Survey: October 2016
Knowledgeable and well delivered lectures relevant to today. Review by Matthew McCormack Malden, MA USA (Posted on 10/31/2016)
Superb scholarship
Superb scholarship, order of progression historical material excellent, entire program excellent. Review by John (Posted on 10/19/2016)
Very enlightening
The evolution of the Church's understanding of the Trinity and the consensus arrived at over the first 400 years of our Church was very enlightening. Review by Charles (Posted on 10/19/2016)
One of the best
I have purchased more than thirty courses from Now You Know Media and without question this is one of the best. Most of the courses are good, but only a few would I rate five stars. This is one of them. Dr. Flanagin, must be a very distant relative of Peter of Ireland. He does an exceptional job of explaining the evolution of Catholic theology and its historical context. If this is the type of subject that you find interesting, you will be well pleased with this course. Review by Tim (Posted on 10/19/2016)
Nice overview
Prof. David Flanagin is very knowledgeable and presents the material in a clear way. This course provides a nice overview of early Christianity with many currently relevant questions answered. Review by Matthew (Posted on 10/19/2016)
Prof. David Flanagin provides an excellent and understandable account of Christian beginnings.
Prof. David Flanagin provides an excellent and understandable account of Christian beginnings. Review by Matthew (Posted on 4/28/2016)
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