Full course description
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Focused on the study of the writings of the Fathers (Latin: Patres) of the Church, Patristics considers the history of early Christianity following the age of the Apostles and the events of the New Testament. The first generations of Christians sought to be authentic witnesses in word and deed to Christ, even as they encountered new and unexpected challenges and questions. This course, developed by Dr. Greg Cruess, will provide a foundational understanding of early Christian history through a select engagement with writings of Church fathers such as Origen, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus of Lyons, Cyril of Alexandria, and Augustine. Patristics also provides an investigation of the context, issues, and development of Patristic theology in general. By the end of the course, the student should be able to: a) Identify major figures and events in early Christian history and their importance for an understanding of Christian faith and doctrine in the modern world b) Demonstrate the complementary nature of lived Christian witness and the intellectual investigation of Christian belief in the first five centuries of Christian history and c) Articulate the importance of Patristic thought and experience for the contemporary life of Christian discipleship.
Unit 1: Introduction to Patristics: The Dimensions of Christian Witness
Unit 2: Defending the Faith – The Witness of Martyrs and Apologists
Unit 3: Encountering God’s Word – Scripture in Patristic Theology
Unit 4: Preserving the Mystery – The Development of Doctrine
Unit 5: Portrait of a Theologian – Patristic Theology and the Integrity of Christian Faith
Unit 6: Patristic Theology Today – An Enduring Witness
- Seven weeks in duration; first week for orientation.
- Up to 20 students in each course.
- Video lectures with text transcripts available.
- Supplemental readings are provided to encourage further exploration, internet links provided for all readings.
- Written assignments (200-250) required.
- Facilitator-moderated weekly Zoom sessions with participants.
- View or read the lecture for each unit.
- Read assigned texts; keep notes, questions, and comments for class discussions.
- Answer weekly discussion question.
- Respond to weekly unit assignment.
- Attend weekly Zoom for each unit. If you cannot attend, you can still meet the participation requirements.
- Complete the course evaluation.
3 to 5 hours per week, depending on your learning style and schedule.
An electronic certificate of completion awarding 35 contact hours will be available in course when completing all course requirements.
Area: Church Hiistory
Course Begins: February 2023