The course “Early Christianity: The Letters of Paul” explores the context of these letters in the Roman Empire and the impact of these powerful texts today.
About this course
The letters of Paul are the earliest texts in the Christian scriptures, written by a Jew at a time when the word Christian? hadn’t yet been coined. What is the religious and political context into which they emerged? How were they first interpreted? How and why do they make such an enormous impact in Christian communities and in politics today?
Archaeological materials and ancient writings will help you to enter the ancient Mediterranean world and to think about religious groups, power, poverty, health, and the lives of elites and slaves in the Roman Empire. You will be able to explore how immediately controversial these letters were, and how these letters are used today to debate relations between Christians and Jews; issues such as love, law, and grace; and topics such as charismatic Christianity, homosexuality, and women’s religious leadership.
Whether you’ve been studying Paul’s letters for years or are merely curious about what Christian scriptures are, this course will provide you with information to deepen your understanding of the ancient contexts and present-day controversies about these texts.
Before your course starts, try the new edX Demo where you can explore the fun, interactive learning environment, and virtual labs.
Day 1. Welcome and Introduction
Day 2. What Are the Letters of Paul?
Day 3. The Historical Context of Letter Writing
Day 4. Rhetoric in the Ancient World. . . and Today
Day 5. Canon: Part I: What Were Some Ancient Responses to the Letters of Paul as Scripture or Authoritative?
Day 6. Canon: Part II: What Are Some Modern Responses to the Letters of Paul as Scripture or Authoritative?
Day 7. A Succession of Empires and Roman Imperial Power
Day 8. Roman Imperialism and Jewish Diversity
Day 9. The Roman Empire: Politics and Religion
Day 10. Introduction to 1 Corinthians and Slavery and Freedom in Roman Corinth
Day 11. Wisdom, Knowledge, Prophecy in 1 Corinthians
Day 12. Early Christian Communities Interpret 1 Corinthians
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- Harvard University
- Online Course
- 1-3 Months
- Free Course (Affordable Certificate)
- History Religion