You are invited to journey back 2,000 years to the very start of Christianity and track 450 years of its fascinating early development.
In The Origins of Christianity, you will explore the rich history of Christianity through 30 erudite lectures, available on DVD or CD. In doing so, you will focus on six major themes: the early Church’s relationship with its Jewish heritage, the Gnostic movement, Christianity and the Roman Empire, the Early Church and women, debates about Jesus’ divinity in the 4th century, and debates about Jesus’ humanity in the 5th century. Each of these themes served as a locus for significant debates about the nature of Christian beliefs and practices.
In exploring the fundamental questions that challenged Christianity from the Apostolic Age to the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD, you will gain a deep understanding of the roots of the beliefs Christians hold dear. By learning about Christianity’s remarkable origins and development, you will gain a richer understanding of the Church today.
You will find these lectures extraordinarily well taught—highly informative and enjoyable. We give this course our highest recommendation.
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.
About Your Presenter
David Zachariah Flanagin, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of the Department 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: An 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 biblical theology.
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