The Catholic University of America


The following courses will fulfill curricular obligations for students enrolled in the "Early Christian Studies" program.  All other graduate students are welcome to enroll with the permission of their Chair or Director.

Spring Semester 2012

ECST 600 (Lecture Course) "Introduction to Early Christian Studies"
Philip Rousseau TTh 11:10 - 12:25 300 McMahon Hall
This course is compulsory for students enrolled in the "Early Christian Studies" program.
The course will be divided into three sections, each requiring one piece of written work:
1. Interpretation: Themes contributing to an organic or integrated "shape" in our understanding of the early Christian period:
a) The church as a formative community
b) Christian witness (as in “mission,” martyrdom, apologetics, and persuasive rhetoric)
c) The anthropology of Jesus, the incarnate Christ/Logos
d) Early Christian cosmology and the place of the individual within it
e) The historical and documentary understanding of Christians as a "people"
2. Method: The techniques and disciplines employed in the study of that period since the sixteenth century.  Individual students will be able to focus on prominent individuals, institutions, and trends or interests that influenced scholarship down to the early twentieth century--for example:
a) The editing and printing of texts, with accompanying literary and critical developments
b) Ventures like the Bollandists and the Maurists
c) The importance of archaeology.
d) Individuals like Tillemont or Harnack
e) The impact of Enlightenment and Protestant interests
f) The uses of disciplines like anthropology and literary criticism
3. Address: How has early Christianity been most effectively presented to the contemporary world, to what ends, and with what audiences especially in mind?  This question need not be answered in terms of academic scholarship alone: art and literature have been equally in play.
ECST 732 (Seminar Course) "Asceticism after Chalcedon"
Philip Rousseau TTh 2:10 - 3.25 300 McMahon Hall
The Council of Chalcedon (451 AD) is traditionally noted as signaling, if not initiating, a strong trend towards formal "monasticism."  The 150 years following the council witnessed in all regions of the Roman world a marked increase in monastic foundations, accompanied by a proliferation of "rules" in one form or another. These institutional and literary developments had their antecedents, their more immediate causes, and (complicating our interpretation) their subsequent justifications and adjustments
Nevertheless, there was much ascetic practice that escaped the ordered intentions of churchmen, and it is these more "eccentric" developments that will provide the course’s other focus. There is also a gendered component to the inquiry, for many women inhabited this less regulated world, and even "convents" may have been essentially distinct from male communities in their structure and perceived purpose.