This Theology/History course will be taught by Charles Carman, and will run from April 8th through June 15th. The syllabus will be posted when available.
Most students of the early church are familiar with the theologians, debates, councils, and trajectory of christianity within the Roman and Byzantine Empires. There were, however, churches at the border of and beyond their imperial fold. This course will widen the student’s comprehension of ancient Christianity—quite literally. In fact, without reading from Syriac and Arabic sources, one cannot fully appreciate the history of Christianity. Through reading together dozens of primary sources, along with some lectures and other materials, this course offers an introduction to the texts, places, history, and traditions of Middle Eastern Christianity. We will read from theological debates, philosophy, biblical commentary, homilies, letters, humorous sayings, polemics with Islam, poetry, systematics—all from the third century to the early medieval period. This course will be one of the very few in the states and Europe where the students will have the opportunity to read many of these texts in English translation. While the focus of the course will be the Syriac traditions (writing in Syriac and later in Arabic), some authors from other far-east traditions will be introduced as well, from the early Ethiopic, Coptic, and Armenian traditions. In the end, students will be introduced to the greater Christian conversation and situation from the first millenia.
Charles Carman is a staff writer for The Curator. His writing has appeared in Books & Culture, Fare Forward, Front Porch Republic, and Solidarity Hall. He and his wife write from Phoenix, where they teach at a classical charter school. Carman is a doctoral student in Syriac and church history at Catholic University of America.
The syllabus for this class is available now. You can access it here.
Online only, runs 10 weeks, meeting 2 hr./wk. via Zoom. Students will also have the option to participate in class discussion on the Davenant Common Room Discord server. Register to reserve your spot and schedule will be set after a poll of participating students; if the class time does not fit your schedule, you will be eligible for a full refund.
This is a graduate-level course. Although a BA is not a necessary pre-requisite for this course, students should come prepared to do graduate-level work.