Studies in Greco-Roman Religions: How Christianity Began: Group Formation, Ritual, and Politics

Subject associations
REL 504 / HLS 504 / CLA 519
Fall 2023
Elaine H. Pagels
Registrar description

This seminar offers comprehensive survey of primary sources essential for research, general exams, future teaching. Some topics: strategies of group formation; how various Jewish and "pagan" critics characterize and interact with Jesus' followers; exploring NT sources and "secret gospels" to clarify issues that ignite creation of "orthodoxy"/"heresy"; controversies on authority/social/sexual practices; the politics of persecution; how Christians defied Roman authority in trial/martyr accounts. Finally, how did this unlikely movement morph into "the catholic church" in the 4th century, legitimized and transformed by Roman imperial authority?