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Courses / Modules / HIST2085 Rebels with a Cause: The Historical Origins of Christianity

Rebels with a Cause: The Historical Origins of Christianity

When you'll study it
Semester 1
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 5
Module lead
Helen Spurling
Academic year

Module overview

The first century CE saw the rise of a new world religion that was to have an ever changing and at times turbulent history up to today. This module will explore the historical origins of Christianity and the contexts from which it emerged. In particular, we will examine Jewish society in the Graeco-Roman world, which produced the first Christians, and the Palestinian scene under Roman rule at the time. We will investigate reactions to early Christianity in Graeco-Roman and Jewish literature and histories, including how its members were viewed as a rebellious minority and perceptions of their ideas as ‘excessive superstition’ and a ‘contagion’ (Pliny the Younger, Letters 10.96-97). We will also look at the search for identity and recognition amongst the earliest Christians, particularly in relation to the Jewish people, as they began to establish, develop and expand their new religion. The module will invite you to assess and debate the historical origins of one the key religions that has shaped the modern world.

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