Anda di halaman 1dari 3

The Historiography of Earliest Christianity

Course Description How has history been researched and written? This seminar will explore this question in the field of early Christian studies. We will critically examine standard approaches to the study of this religious movement, its social context and literature and evaluate whether these methods have been the most productive means of historical research. These methods will be compared to certain new approaches that have attempted to redescribe the emergence of the social formations that would become Christianity using recent innovations and tools from the social sciences, anthropology, as well as cognitive and psychological science/neuroscience. Prerequisites: This is an advanced course that requires that students are familiar with New Testament and early Christian studies. Previous courses on the gospels and Christian origins is preferable; however, students who have at least taken an introductory survey of Christian history will find the material challenging, but manageable. Course Goals and Objectives The ultimate goal of this course is to teach you to read both historical texts and scholarly works critically. It is also my goal to help you learn how to engage these sources with a variety of tools, including comparanda from a variety of other disciplines. Therefore, through our work together, you will have the opportunity in this course to learn: to understand the historical context of the first two centuries of Christianity to critically engage and evaluate secondary sources that are addressing ancient texts and historical questions to introduce you to some alternative theories on the historical and social settings of what we call early Christian literature to improve your research, academic writing and communication skills develop a creative individual research project that makes an original contribution to the field Week 1: Introduction to the Seminar


Week 2: Issues in Historiography

Elizabeth Clark, History, Theory, Text: Historians and the Linguistic Turn (Defending and Lamenting History) 1-8; (History, Theory, and Premodern Texts) 156-185 Pierre Bourdieu, Homo Academicus (A Book for Burning?) 1-6 Joyce Appleby, et al., Telling the Truth about History (History Makes a Nation) 91-128

Week 3: Inventing Tradition

Eric Hobsbawm, The Invention of Tradition 1-14 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (Memory and Forgetting) 187-206 Joyce Appleby, et al., Telling the Truth about History (Truth and Objectivity) 241-270

Week 4: The Usefulness of Social Theory

Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice (The Objective Limits of Objectivism) 1-9 Stanley Stowers, The Ontology of Religion in Introducing Religion 434-449

Week 5: Standard Approaches Acts of the Apostles Franois Bovon, The Emergence of Christianity, Anni di Storia dell Esegesi 24 (2007): 13-29 William Arnal, The Collection and Synthesis of Tradition and the Second-Century Invention of Christianity, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 23 3/4 (2011). Assignment: bring in a scholarly description of the social context of one of the gospels, Pauls (genuine) letters or Acts (e.g., a description found in Bart Ehrmans The New Testament: A Historical Introduction or one of the summaries in the HarperCollins Study Bible).

Week 6: Inheritances from Romanticism

Michael Ferber, Romanticism: A Very Short Introduction 1-13 (The Meaning of the Word); 63-92 (Religion, Philosophy, and Science) Jonathan Z. Smith, Drudgery Divine (On the Origin of Origins) 1-35. James C. Livingston, Modern Christian Thought: The Enlightenment and the Nineteenth Century (Johan Adam Mhler) 192-198

Week 7: Invented Communities?

Pauls Letter to the Romans Stanley Stowers, The Concept of Community and the History of Early Christianity, Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 23 3/4 (2011) Rogers Brubaker, Ethnicity Without Groups (Introduction) 1-6; (Ethnicity Without Groups) 7-18

Week 8: Normalizing Projects (1)

The Gospel of Mark Keith Hopkins, Christian Number and Its Implications, Journal of Early Christian Studies 6 (1998) 185-212 Bill Arnal, The Gospel of Mark as Reflection on Exile, in Redescribing Chrisitan Origins 57-67

Week 9: Normalizing Projects (2)

1 Corinthians Ron Cameron & Merrill Miller, Redescribing Christian Origins, Vol. 1 (Introduction) 1-29 Ron Cameron & Merrill Miller, Redescribing Christian Origins, Vol. 2 (Introducing Paul and the Corinthians) 1- 15.

Week 10: Revisiting Genre

Read Life of Aesop, selections from The Birth of Alexander the Great (Plutarch) in Documents for the Study of the Gospels Adela Yarbro Collins, Is Marks Gospel a Life of Jesus: A Question of Genre 1-66 David Konstan and Robyn Walsh " Civic and Subversive Biography in Antiquity," in Fictional Lives: Ancient Biography and Fictionality

Week 11: Critiquing Categories

R. Brubaker & Frederick Cooper, Beyond Identity, Theory and Society 29/1 (2000): 1-47 Jen Eyl & Ross Kraemer, Translating Women: The Perils of Gender-Inclusive Translation of the New Testament, in Celebrate Her for the Fruit of Her Hands: Studies in Honor of Carol L. Meyers Denise Kimber Buell & Caroline Johnson Hodge, The Politics of Interpretation: The Rhetoric of Race and Ethnicity in Paul, Journal of Biblical Literature 123/2 (2004): 235-251.

Week 12: New Approaches (1)

A.J. Barnier, Memories, Memory Studies and my iPhone: Editorial, Memory Studies 3 (2010): 293-297. Pascal Boyer, Tradition and Truth as Communication: A Cognitive Description of Traditional Discourse (Conserved world-views or salient memories?) 1-23; (How to think with empty notions) 2445 Raymond Tallis, The Neuroscience Delusion: Neuroaesthetics is Wrong about our Experience of Literatureand it is Wrong about Humanity, TLS (9 Ap 2008): online.

Week 13: New Approaches (2)/ Course Overview Ross Poole, Memory, History and the Claims of the Past, Memory Studies 1:149 (2008): 149-166 Edward Slingerland, Whos Afraid of Reductionism? The Study of Religion in the Age of Cognitive Science, Journal of the American Academy of Religion 76 (2008): 375-411

Week 14: Final Project Presentations