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A Journey through Western Christianity

from Persecuted Faith to Global Religion (200 - 1650)

This course follows the extraordinary development of Western Christianity from its early persecution under the Roman Empire in the third century to its global expansion with the Jesuits of the early modern world. We explore the dynamic and diverse character of a religion with an enormous cast characters. We will meet men and women who tell stories of faith as well as of violence, suppression, and division. Along the way, we encounter Perpetua and her martyrdom in Carthage; the struggles of Augustine the bishop in North Africa; the zeal of Celtic monks and missionaries; the viciousness of the Crusades; the visions of Brigit of Sweden; and the fracturing of Christianity by Martin Luther’s protest. We hear the voices of great theologians as well as of those branded heretics by the Church, a powerful reminder that the growth of Christianity is a story with many narratives of competing visions of reform and ideals, powerful critiques of corruption and venality, and exclusion of the vanquished. The troubled history of Christian engagement with Jews and Muslims is found in pogroms and expulsions, but also in the astonishing ways in which the culture of the West was transformed by Jewish and Islamic learning. We shall explore the stunning beauty of the Book of Kells, exquisitely prepared by monks as the Vikings terrorized the coast of England. We will experience the blue light of the windows of Chartres, and ponder the opening questions of Thomas Aquinas’ great Summa. We will read from the Gutenberg Bible of the fifteenth century, which heralded the revolution brought by the printing press. We will travel from Calvin’s Geneva to Elizabeth’s England to Trent, where a Catholic Council met to inaugurate a modern, missionary Catholic church. We will walk through the great Escorial of Philip II of Spain, hear the poetry of John of the Cross, and follow the Jesuits to Brazil and China. Christianity in the West was forged in the fires of conflict and tumult, and it brought forth both creativity and violence. It echoed with calls for God’s world to be transformed, it inspired the most sublime art and architecture, yet it also revealed the power of the union of cross and sword to destroy. The course is a journey through the formation of the West as one strand of Christianity, as one chapter in a global story. It is a journey that has shaped our world.

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Yale University

Rating 4.8 based on 56 ratings
Length 12 weeks
Starts Mar 4 (next week)
Cost $49
From Yale University via Coursera
Instructor Bruce Gordon
Download Videos On all desktop and mobile devices
Language English
Subjects Humanities Art & Design
Tags History Arts And Humanities

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What people are saying

We analyzed reviews for this course to surface learners' thoughts about it

western christianity in 4 reviews

Good teachers Everthing A good survey of Western Christianity taught in an engaging manner.

I had some knowledge of the subject from a particular viewpoint but I found I gained a broader understanding and more complete perspective on the development of Western Christianity through this course.

Fernando González Davison outstanding survey class: anyone that wants to understand Western Christianity would be well served to take this class!

I did learn a lot about Western Christianity Muito bom.

history of christianity in 3 reviews

So they will have a better understanding in history of Christianity.

For a free resource, all things considered, this was a helpful and useful brief overview of the early history of Christianity, that can be taken and underwent (excluding the 'bonus' material, which I liked very much) in a short period of time.

I understand that describing the history of Christianity from the first century until the 16th is a great task.

However as a theologian I would like to learn more facts about the recent history of christianity and especially the modern period Enlightenment and the 20th century.

I understand that something like this requires even more work,but it would be great to learn about the modern history of Christianity too!

rather than in 3 reviews

I often read the transcripts of his videos rather than listen to his voice.

I rated it four stars rather than five however because I missed interactivity.

If I have a criticism, it is just that sometimes I thought that the course presented a little more of a faith-based presentation rather than a more strict historical perspective.

so much in 3 reviews

Thank you so much for creating it and making it available to us!

The material was presented well and I learned so much about the subject matter.

Thank you so much for putting the rich contents all together!

church history in 3 reviews

I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the topic of church history.

I've studied church history in "chunks" before, but this course made its historical development and sequence logical for me.

Beautiful course as a Christian missionary in Spain it open my mind of the rich tradition of christianity in arts and other disciplines, i will try to pursuit graduates studies in medieval mediterranean history and specialize in church history.

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Coursera

&

Yale University

Rating 4.8 based on 56 ratings
Length 12 weeks
Starts Mar 4 (next week)
Cost $49
From Yale University via Coursera
Instructor Bruce Gordon
Download Videos On all desktop and mobile devices
Language English
Subjects Humanities Art & Design
Tags History Arts And Humanities