This course examines how Christian theology was articulated and presented in the early Church. We will read and critically consider a careful study of how the Church fathers approached theology, what they emphasized, and how they set it forth. We will also read the first great theological treatise produced in the post-apostolic Church and will consider and discuss an extensive collection of excerpts from the Church fathers’ works, seeking to understand the Church fathers on their own terms. With all this we will go on to reflect on the significance of early Christian theology for later theology and for life in the Church today.
- to acquaint students with the approaches to and emphases in early Christian theology
- to enable students to develop basic familiarity with the Church fathers’ writings
- to help students appreciate the significance and importance of early Christian theology for the history of theology
- to stimulate an appreciation for the theology articulated within early Christianity
- to develop a sense of being rooted today in and indebted to the theology set forth in Christian antiquity
- to develop in each student an ability to assess theological writings from a historical perspective
- to help students acquire the ability to enter into and express in a historically responsible fashion the ways the Church fathers viewed and taught the Christian faith