Early Christianity: Transitions, Continuities

CH 3XF3/5XF5/6XF6

Fall 2023
Wed 2:00pm - 3:50pm

This course considers the paths taken by early Christianity as it moved through significant transitions while seeking to proclaim and defend the apostles’ message. We will examine evidence for the post-apostolic leaders’ determination to adhere to and pass on that message and the means they used to do so. This will lead to investigating how the doctrinal controversies in early Christianity related to the apostolic message as it had been embraced and transmitted, and the significance for all this of the ancient creeds. (Students who already have facility in Greek will be able to use some primary sources with Greek and English on facing pages.)


  • To acquaint students with leading figures and main emphases in early Christianity • to examine and evaluate the patristic claim to fidelity to apostolic teaching
  • To help students appreciate the significance and importance of this period of the Church’s history


  • To stimulate an awareness of and appreciation for the early history of the Church
  • To develop a sense of being rooted today in the apostolic message passed on in Christian antiquity and confessed in the ancient creeds


  • To develop in each student an ability to assess documents 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 expressed and defended the apostolic message