You are invited to journey back 2,000 years to the very start of Christianity and track 450 years of its fascinating early development. 

In Christian Origins 101, you will explore the rich history, early leadership, and groundbreaking theology, of early Christianity. Through 30 erudite lectures, you will focus on six major themes: the early Church’s relationship with its Jewish heritage, the Gnostic movement, Christianity and the Roman Empire, the early Church and women, debates about Jesus’ divinity in the fourth century, and debates about Jesus’ humanity in the fifth century. Each of these themes served as a locus for significant debates about the nature of Christian beliefs and practices. 

In exploring the fundamental questions that challenged Christianity from the Apostolic Age to the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD, you will gain a deep understanding of the roots of the beliefs Christians hold dear. By learning about Christianity’s remarkable origins and development, you will gain a richer understanding of the Church today. 

You will find these lectures extraordinarily well taught, highly informative and enjoyable.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Christian Origins 101: How the First Christians Lived, Believed, and Shaped History

    • Christian Origins Study Guide

    • 01 Introduction: The Early Church and Judaism

    • 02 The Early Church and the Torah

    • 03 Finding Christian Meaning in the Old Testament: The Case of Justin Martyr

    • 04 Christian and Jewish Identities in the Second Century: Who Is the Heir to God’s Covenant?

    • 05 Gnosticism, Ptolemy, and the Old Testament

    • 06 Gnostic Cosmology

    • 07 Gnostic Views of Christ and Christianity

    • 08 Reactions to Gnosticism: The New Testament Canon

    • 09 Reactions to Gnosticism: Ignatius and the Episcopal Structure

    • 10 Reactions to Gnosticism: Irenaeus, Apostolic Succession, and the Rule of Faith

    • 11 Reactions to Gnosticism: Tertullian, Irenaeus, and the Stereotype of Heresy

    • 12 The Spread of Christianity in the Empire

    • 13 Apologies for the Faith

    • 14 Persecution and Martyrdom

    • 15 The Conversion of Constantine

    • 16 Surveying the Evidence about Women in Early Christianity

    • 17 Paul’s Perspective on Women in the Church

    • 18 The Pauline Legacy in the Pastoral Epistles and the Acts of Thecla

    • 19 A Positive or Negative Tale for Early Christian Women?

    • 20 Early Christian Views of Jesus

    • 21 Logos Christology

    • 22 Arius and Arianism

    • 23 The Council of Nicea

    • 24 Alexander and Athanasius

    • 25 After Nicea

    • 26 The Trinity and the Council of Constantinople

    • 27 The Logos-Sarx Christology of Alexandria

    • 28 The Logos-Anthropos Christology of Antioch

    • 29 Nestorius of Constantinople and Cyril of Alexandria

    • 30 The Council of Chalcedon