The emergence and growth of Christianity is probably the single most important turning point in all of history. The spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire ultimately brought about changes in virtually every aspect of life, changes that continue to affect the world today.  This class will examine the process by which the Christian church grew from a hated and persecuted fringe group to become the single most powerful force within the Roman Empire.


    The Bible (I prefer you use the KJV, RSV, NRSV, NKJV or NAS)
    The History of the Church (Eusebius of Caesarea)
    New Testament Survey (Tenney)

The main text for this course, Tenney's New Testament Survey, will give you a different perspective on the figures and events discussed in class and serve as an excellent supplement to your lecture notes as you prepare for your midterm and final exams.  You should find the outlines and time lines in the Tenney book particularly helpful. You will not usually need to bring the Tenney book to class, and it doesn't really matter whether you do the Tenney readings before or after the associated lecture.

The other readings (those from the Bible and from Eusebius of Caesarea's History of the Church) must be done before class on the day assigned.  We will be discussing these works in class, and you will be lost and confused if you haven't done the reading.


For each class day that includes a primary source reading assignment(almost every day the class meets!), I would like you to add an entry to the class blog, Early Church Keyline Blog 2015 (http://earlychurchkeyline2017.blogspot.com).

Since the goal of the “blog” is to make sure you are prepared for class discussion, late blog entries will not be accepted.  There will be some extra credit blogs near then end of the semester, but it’s much better to do the blogs on time and be ready for class discussion.

Your grade for this course will be based primarily on your midterm and final exams, each of which will count approximately 25% when I determine your final grade.  In addition, I will take into account attendance, participation, and quiz scores.  I expect all students to attend class faithfully, to keep up with the readings, and to participate in class discussion. I do take attendance into account when figuring out your final grade.

My grading method allows from improvement, and I frequently have students who fail the first exam who nevertheless end up earning "A" or "B" grades in the course. Please note, though, that I factor "improvement" into your course grade *only* if you demonstrate your commitment to the course through good attendance and other evidence of hard work.

1/10     Introduction (Tenney 1-5)
1/12     Roman and Jew in the time of Christ (Matthew 1-14/Tenney 8)

1/17     The Gospel for Those Who Need No Gospel (Matt. 15-28)    
1/19     The Gospel for the Gentiles (Luke 1-12/Tenney 10)

1/24      The Most Beautiful Book Ever Written (Luke 13-24)
1/26     Professing Themselves to Be Wise...

1/31         ... The Glorious Achievements of Modern NT Scholarship (Tenney 6-7)
2/2      Crooked Questions and Straight Answers (John 1-11/Tenney 11)

2/7     The Rest of the Story (John 11-21)
2/9          *** MIDTERM I (Please Bring a Blue Book ***

2/14    (Acts 1-12/Tenney 13-14)
2/16    (Acts 13-28/Tenney 15)

2/21     An Undivided House (I Corinthians/Tenney 16)           
2/23     Who Really Knows?  (II Peter and Jude/Tenney 21)

2/28     Sin, Sins, and Sons (Romans/Tenney 16)
3/2     The Great Mystery (Ephesians/Tenney 17)

3/4—3/12      *** Spring Break: No Class ***

3/14     When the Going Gets Tough (James/Tenney 15)
3/16     The Tough Get Growing (I Peter/Tenney 19)

3/21        *** Assessment Day: No Class ***
3/23     Beautiful Things Are Difficult (Revelation 1-12, Tenney 22)

3/28     Difficult Things are Beautiful (Revelation 13-22)     
3/30           *** MIDTERM II (Please Bring a Blue Book ***

4/4     Eusebius as a Historian (Eusebius Chapters I-II)      
4/6     The Formation of the Canon (Eusebius Chapter III/Tenney 23)

4/11     The Lost Books of the Bible?
4/13     Persecution and the Church (Eusebius Chapter IV-V)

4/18     Division in the Church (Eusebius Chapters VI--VII)
4/20     Division in the Church (Eusebius Chapter VIII)
4/25     Christian Philosophers (Eusebius Chapters IX)
4/27     They Say That All Good Things Must End (Eusebius Chapter X)
***** Final Exam: Friday, May 5 2:15-4:15 ******


Your grade for this course will be based primarily on your three major exams and your blog entries, each of which will count approximately 20% when I determine your final grade. In addition, I will take into account attendance and participation.


Midterms and Final exam--8 ID's, 1 essay
ID's will be selected from the terms put on the board at the beginning of each lecture.  You will be asked not only to identify the terms, but also to explain their historical significance.  I am impressed when students can include plenty of detailed information, but I am even more impressed when students can show how the ID terms relate to important themes discussed in this class.

Essay questions will deal with major themes discussed in the lectures.  Most often, the exam question will be a generalization I have made in class with the additional word, "comment."

A student who studies hard and does the required reading should have plenty to say in response to each of these questions.  You will be given 75 minutes for each midterm and two hours for the final exam.  Most students will need the full time to do a good job.

What is a good job?  I tell students over and over again that a good essay consists of a series of good generalizations based on the exam question and backed up with specific support from the lectures and the readings.  I am particularly impressed when students include in their essays references to primary source material.


Cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty and misconduct run contrary to the purposes of higher education.   Cheating includes the use of any notes during the midterm or final exam.  Please place no marks of any kind on or in your blue book before I give the signal to begin taking the exam.  All exams must be taken on blank bluebooks.  On at least one exam, bluebooks will be checked before the exam.  Bluebooks that have not been checked, have missing pages, or pages with large erasures will not be accepted.
It is not cheating to study with another student, to share notes, or to prepare essays or ID's together. However, if you do study with another student, be sure you do not sit next to each other during the exam.  
Please be especially careful to observe academic integrity standards on the blogs. The blog entries are intended to make sure you have done the primary source readings, and your comments should be based on your own observations, not someone else’s ideas. Plagiarism (e.g. copying material from the internet or recycling work done by another student) is not allowed.
Northern State University's official policy and procedures on cheating and academic dishonesty as outlined in the Northern State University Student Handbook applies to this course. Students caught cheating will receive a zero for the assignment, and, since zeros are worse than F[‘s, they are likely to fail the course as a whole.


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Under Board of Regents and University policy student academic performance may be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards. Students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled. Students who believe that an academic evaluation reflects prejudiced or capricious consideration of student opinions or conduct unrelated to academic standards should contact the academic dean administratively in charge of the class to initiate a review of the evaluation.


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