The Catholic University of America

Early Christian sarcophogus

 

The CENTER for the STUDY of

EARLY CHRISTIANITY

 

Our Goal

First, to foster an interdisciplinary approach to the study of early Christianity across the University.

Second, to provide space and resources that will help faculty and graduate students in the field to share their work, build on what they have achieved, and develop new ideas and projects.

 
Three Key Principles
 
The development of early Christianity has to be studied in its social, political, and cultural context.  Although we pay close attention to theological ideas and religious practices, we have to reach beyond them and assess the character and impact of the circumstances in which they are observed.  This includes in a special way both Jewish traditions and the influence of classical "paganism."
 
We emphasize the importance of language skills and foster their development - Greek especially, but also Latin, Syriac, and Coptic (along with several other languages of the Christian Orient).  Our students are expected to read easily in German and in at least one other European language other than English (normally French or Italian).
 
Our aim is to develop within each student the skills proper to a range of disciplines and methodologies.  To that end, we prescribe courses taught in the Departments of Greek and Latin and of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures, and in the Schools of Theology and Religious Studies and of Philosophy. 
 

Applying the Principles in Practice

Regular seminars bring together invited speakers from outside the university, all graduates working on early Christian topics, and faculty teaching and researching in the same field.

Visiting lecturers, again from outside the university, speak on campus several times a year (and almost always preside over seminars as well).
Less frequently, we host larger-scale meetings - conferences and study days devoted to broader themes.
We publish the series "CUA Studies in Early Christianity," devoted to collections of essays united around a common theme. 
Funding is provided for graduate students in our own program (in the form of annual scholarships and fellowships), and for all graduates working in the field (in the form of conference fees and associated expenses).
 

The History of the Center

The Catholic University of America has, since its foundation, maintained a unique commitment to the study of the early Christian era. A strong tradition, now central to the university’s mission, was set in train by Monsignor Henri Hyvernat, distinguished Copticist and professor in Semitics at CUA for some 50 years, until his death in 1941.
 
Other forebears of significance include the patristic scholar Johannes Quasten (professor of theology 1938-1979), the classicist and patristic specialist Roy Deferrari (professor of Greek and Latin 1918-1960), and Thomas Halton, again a classicist and patristic specialist (1960-2000, now professor emeritus).
 

Research in the field is now conducted in the Schools of Theology and Religious Studies, of Philosophy, and of Arts and Sciences (Departments of Greek and Latin, History, and Semitic Languages and Literatures).

 

Upcoming Events

SEPTEMBER

 

Annual Mellon Lecture
Professor Philip Rousseau, The Politics of Humility Revisited, September 11, 2014, 5:30pm, 106 McGivney Hall Auditorium.
 
ECS & MBS Opening Reception

September 11, 2014, immediately following the Mellon Lecture, McGivney Hall Foyer.

 

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A special note of congratulations goes out to two members of WARBLS, who were awarded the Graduate Student Paper Prize at the North American Patristics Society.Sean Moberg was recognized for his paper, "Contemplation of Death in the Apophthegmata Patrum." Karen Carducci was also recognized for her paper, "A Theology of Money in theHomilies of Caesarius of Arles."  

 

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The Center for the Study of Early Christianity offers a variety of seminars and lectures throughout the academic term, many of which are open to the the public.  Please refer to our Current Events link for a listing of the current seminars slated for the Spring Semester! 

 
All inquiries from students and researchers are welcome. 
 
Please contact us at
132 Marist Hall 
620 Michigan Ave NE
Washington DC 20064
202.319.5795
202.319.6609 (fax)
 
Philip Rousseau
Director
 
Lola Lastrapes
Administrative Coordinator
Lastrapes@cua.edu