REL 270
Reading Jesus, Writing Gospels: Christian Origins in Context Fall 2021
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed REL 270 / COMP 263 / CLAS 270

Class Details

What were the religious and cultural landscapes in which Christianity emerged? How did inhabitants of the ancient Mediterranean world speak about the concept and significance of religion? How have scholars of early Christianity answered these questions? What are the implications of their reconstructions of early Christian history? The course is divided into four parts. The first part establishes the interpretive approach of the course. The second part of this course addresses these questions by examining the formation of Christianity from its origins as a Jewish movement until its legalization, using a comparative socio-historical approach. The third part of the course focuses on the earliest literature produced by the Jesus movement and consider it within a comparative framework developed in the first half of the course. The final part of the course emphasizes modern interpretations of Jesus and the Jesus movement; here we shall be examining how scholars make use of ancient materials to frame their arguments.
The Class: Format: seminar; lecture/discussion
Limit: 19
Expected: 10
Class#: 1757
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: three 3-page papers (with revisions), one 5- to 7-page paper (that builds on one of the earlier 3 page papers), and a final paper (7-10 pages, that draws on some of the earlier writing in addition to new writing)
Prerequisites: none; open to all
Enrollment Preferences: sophomores, especially potential majors in Religion, Classics, and Comparative Literature
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
REL 270 Division II COMP 263 Division II CLAS 270 Division II
WS Notes: Students will write a series of short essays, with required revisions, to develop their skills in close reading of ancient texts and interpretive analysis of modern scholarship about Christian origins. In each successive section of the course, writing from the prior unit will inform the subsequent papers.

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