Christianity and the Roman Empire

The American University of Rome

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Christianity and the Roman Empire

  • Host University

    The American University of Rome

  • Location

    Rome, Italy

  • Area of Study

    European Studies, Religion

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course description.
    This course offers an overview of the history of the Early Church from 100‐425 AD, focusing on the confrontation of Christianity with Roman life and thought. It will examine that relationship both from the early Christian and early Roman perspectives. Field trips to historical sites and museums in Rome will be used to reanimate ancient Roman history.

    Course Learning Objectives.
    At the end of the course, students will be able to:
    1. Outline the major events of the early history of Christianity, as narrated and dramatized in contemporary source material both Christian and Roman (in translation)
    2. Discuss the original cultural contexts in which these texts were written, and critically assess their role in ancient society
    3. formulate arguments and produce written commentaries on historical topics.

    Course Learning Activities.
     Out of class reading and writing assignments: students will read texts in translation (as per the attached schedule) in preparation for seminar discussion.   
     Students will produce a final research paper.  The final paper will consist of the development of a thesis, analysis of textual reference, and use of textual evidence and conclusions.
     In-class analysis: students will read and analyze primary texts; they will become familiar with the analytic methodology and critical terms; they will answer orally and in writing to questions stemming from the assigned readings.  Critical and interpretive essays will also be subject to critical analysis.

    Sample Syllabus.
     In-class discussions: Students will participate in discussions, sustain their views and ideas by using a new and specialized lexicon.
     Oral presentations: students will choose a topic which they will prepare and present to the class, using elements of critical terminology already learned.

    Assessment tools.
    Discussions the assigned readings 15%
    Oral presentations 20%
    Midterm exam 15%
    Final exam 25%
    Final paper 25%

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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