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    Macalester College
  Feb 22, 2018
College Catalog 2013-2014 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

RELI 223 - Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christianity

The critical study of ancient Christian texts involves making strange texts familiar and familiar texts strange. In this course, we will consider non-canonical texts alongside canonical texts in order to develop insight into the formation of Christian identity in the first through fourth centuries. Special emphasis will be given to the development of the discourses of orthodoxy and heresy, the diversity of Christian beliefs and practices, and the examination of early Christian writings within their social and political contexts. Instead of investigating the material in strict chronological order, we will consider how different people (Jesus, Mary Magdalene, James, Paul, etc) serve as authorizing figures for the texts. Using this organization, we will investigate issues at stake in the development of Christian “canon,” including theology, Christology, apostolic authority, women’s roles, and the relation of Christianity to the state and to other religious traditions. (4 Credits)