Early Christianity: The Letters of Paul

The course “Early Christianity: The Letters of Paul” explores the context of these letters in the Roman Empire and the impact of these powerful texts today.

STUDENTS ENROLLED

    The letters of Paul are the earliest texts in the Christian scriptures, written by a Jew at a time when the word “Christian” hadn’t yet been coined. What is the religious and political context into which they emerged? How were they first interpreted? How and why do they make such an enormous impact in Christian communities and in politics today?

    Archaeological materials and ancient writings will help you to enter the ancient Mediterranean world and to think about religious groups, power, poverty, health, and the lives of elites and slaves in the Roman Empire. We’ll explore how immediately controversial these letters were, and how these letters are used today to debate relations between Christians and Jews; issues such as love, law, and grace; and topics such as charismatic Christianity, homosexuality, and women’s religious leadership.

    Whether you’ve been studying Paul’s letters for years or are merely curious about what Christian scriptures are, this course will provide you with information to deepen your understanding of the ancient contexts and present-day controversies about these texts.

    Before your course starts, try the new edX Demo where you can explore the fun, interactive learning environment and virtual labs. Learn more.


    HarvardX requires individuals who enroll in its courses on edX to abide by the terms of the edX honor code. HarvardX will take appropriate corrective action in response to violations of the edX honor code, which may include dismissal from the HarvardX course; revocation of any certificates received for the HarvardX course; or other remedies as circumstances warrant. No refunds will be issued in the case of corrective action for such violations. Enrollees who are taking HarvardX courses as part of another program will also be governed by the academic policies of those programs.

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    PRIVATE COURSE
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    • 84 Days

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