The prominence of Christianity in the modern world could lead us to assume that the success of Christianity was inevitable, but Christianity began as a small, demanding religious movement, the leader of which was executed as a common criminal. This course examines the origins and rise of Christianity and the process by which this obscure movement became a powerful world religion. Students will explore the roots of Christianity within Judaism, the appeal of Christian missionaries, the socioeconomic factors that led to the success of the missionary movement, the compilation of the Christian Bible, the role of martyrdom in the spread of Christianity, and the ways that orthodoxy Christianity came to triumph both over other religious movements and over other forms of Christianity.
Course Level: Appropriate for sophomores and above with some experience in the same subject area, or in a related area.Download the course syllabus (PDF).
Candida Moss is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame and specializes in Biblical studies and early Christian history. She holds an undergraduate degree in Theology from the University of Oxford, a Master’s degree in Biblical Studies from Yale Divinity School, and a doctorate in Religious Studies from Yale University. She has published four books, most recently The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom (HarperCollins, 2013), and more than 30 articles and essays on various aspects of Biblical and early Christian literature, history, and thought. An award-winning author, her first book, The Other Christs: Imitating Jesus in Ancient Christian Ideologies of Martyrdom (Oxford, 2010) was awarded the 2011 John Templeton Award for Theological Promise and she has been the recipient of grants and awards from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Mon, Wed 04:00pm - 05:20pm EDT