HIST 2852 Judaism and the Origins of Christianity

HIST 2852 Judaism and the Origins of Christianity (also JWST 2852, RELST 2852) (HST-AS) (HPE, HEU)

Monday and Wednesday: 10:10-11:25 (3-credits)

Professor Olga Litvak

Most people think of Christianity as the “daughter religion” of Judaism. In this course, we will see that what we now know as Judaism and Christianity both claimed ownership of the same textual tradition and emerged together from the same set of historical circumstances, shaped by political crisis, a radical transformation of the social order and the challenge of Graeco-Roman culture. Through close reading of the principal sources of Christian literature, such as Paul’s letters to the first communities of gentile “believers” and the accounts of the life and death of the messiah, known collectively as the gospels, we will explore how and why the followers of Jesus first came to think of themselves as the “New Israel” and how a polemical engagement with their controversial interpretation of Hebrew prophecy shaped the development of the rabbinic movement in Roman Palestine.

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