The History of Christianity

Thursdays, April 4 – May 9
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Leader: John McCausland
Location: NEC Science Building, Room 114C, 58 Depot Street, Henniker

This term’s twelve lectures take us from the dawn of Christianity following the death of Jesus through its establishment as the state religion of the Roman Empire, the development of core doctrines and church institutions and the emergence of Christianity as the power center of Western Civilization with the decline of Rome. It follows the lectures of Great Courses’ Luke Timothy Johnson, a highly respected theologian and historian, as well as an engaging teacher.

Lectures are supplemented with class discussion focusing on the ways in which the ever-changing and adapting manifestations of Christianity have shaped our world and thought down to the present day. This is a four-term course but it can be joined at any time. Participants have the option of supplemental reading in Daniel MacCulloch’s Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years.

John McCausland is an Episcopal priest, now retired, who has taught LINEC courses on the Bible, Chaucer and the American novel. He loves history, literature, theology, teaching and learning.

Schedule of Lecture Topics
April 4: The Historical Study of Christianity; The First Cultural Context – Greece and Rome
April 11: The First Cultural Context – Judaism; The Jesus Movement and the Birth of Christianity
April 18: Paul and Christianity’s First Expansion; The Diversity of Early Christianity
April 25: The Unpopular Cult – Persecution; Forms of Witness – Martyrdom and Apologetic
May 2: Extreme Christianity in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries; The Shaping of Orthodoxy
May 9: Institutional Development Before Constantine; The Beginnings of Christian Philosophy