Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Bruce Gordon, takes you on a journey through the history of Western Christianity from approximately 200 to 1650 CE. This MOOC, which will be offered on the Coursera platform will focus on central themes/questions that have shaped the emergence of the religion from the ancient world to the Scientific Revolution.
The course is divided into several themes in which participants engage with key written texts, visual material, music, and film, to explore moments transitional in the emergence of Christianity as a global religion. The themes include martyrdom and the body in Early Christianity; North African Christianity and the politics of persecution; Convivencia Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Medieval Spain; Martin Luther and the Freedom of the Conscience; The Jesuits in China and Ethiopia; and Kepler, Galileo and the Revolution in the Heavens.
Central to the MOOC is an emphasis on the connectedness of emerging European Christianity with cultures in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, with particular attention to the reciprocity of influence. Further, the lectures will illustrate ways in which literary theory, gender studies, and social sciences are central to contemporary ways of thinking about the history of Christianity. The background material provided with the course will provide participants a clear sense of the big picture while they focus on the more specific themes. The lectures balance attention to the particular issues raised by the topics and the broader significance of events and ideas.
Learners will be challenged to think about the nature of religious history, how Christianity has a diverse, global past and present, and to consider how the central questions that faced (and face) the Christian religion in particular cultural contexts.
This MOOC starts in September and can be found at coursera.org/yale.