Fall Semester 2009

Classes are in session in lovely Charlottesville!  I’m still working out my schedule, but I’m definitely taking both of these:

RELC 5559: Reading Practices in Early and Medieval Christianity

Robin Darling Young

This course traces the origins and development of Christian ways of reading sacred texts, from the second century through the twelfth. It considers the early tradition of rewritten scripture and prophetic inspiration, and moves next to the paidetic philosophy common in the schools of the Graeco-Roman empire and adopted by Christian writers of the third and fourth centuries. It traces, also, Christian interpreters’ cultivation of the “spiritual senses” and their preparation for reading by observing various ascetic and liturgical practices. In addition it will consider the preservation of midrashic interpretation among two fourth-century Syriac authors, to demonstrate an ongoing connection, in the late ancient near east, with rabbinic interpretation. Thus the course will examine the works of interpreters from Hermas in second-century Rome, through the Alexandrians and their monastic heirs, and then, in the Latin West, authors from Augustine through Bernard of Clairvaux and Hugh of St. Victor.


RELC 5310 – Early Christianity and Greco-Roman Culture

Wendy Mayer

This course immerses the student in early Christianity and its cultural setting in the East via a focus on Syrian Antioch. The period covered will be the 4th to 6th centuries CE. Through a combination of the close study of texts, archeology, and art the student will explore competition between Christianity, Judaism, and Hellenic religions in the city, the cult of the saints, liturgy, Syrian asceticism, the city’s churches, the role of religion within the civic calendar, religious welfare programs, the Antiochene approach to exegesis, and how the Christian doctrinal disputes of these centuries impacted the city. Attention will also be paid to the influence of the city and its Christian clergy and ascetics in the broader context of the late-antique East. The aim is for the student to develop the capacity to view Christianity through the eyes of a resident of late-antique Antioch, as well as to deepen their understanding of the methodological problems involved in achieving this perspective. An ability to read classical or koine Greek is an advantage, but not required.


  • TBA

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August 2009


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