Religious Studies

Department of Religious Studies

The Department of Religious Studies at Yale provides opportunities for the scholarly study of a number of religious traditions and disciplines. At the undergraduate level, the Department offers a wide array of courses that cover the major religions of the world, with a strong emphasis on their history and their intellectual traditions. At the graduate level, the Department is organized into ten fields: American Religious History, Ancient Christianity, Asian Religions, Islamic Studies, Judaic Studies, New Testament, Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, Philosophy of Religion, Religious Ethics, and Theology. Learn more at http://www.yale.edu/religiousstudies/

This course provides a historical study of the origins of Christianity by analyzing the literature of the earliest Christian movements in historical context, concentrating on the New Testament. Although theological themes will occupy much of our attention, the course does not attempt a theological appropriation of the New Testament as scripture. Rather, the importance of the New Testament and other early Christian documents as ancient literature and as sources for historical study will be emphasized. A central organizing theme of the course will focus on the differences within early Christianity (-ies).

This course examines the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) as an expression of the religious life and thought of ancient Israel, and a foundational document of Western civilization. A wide range of methodologies, including source criticism and the historical-critical school, tradition criticism, redaction criticism, and literary and canonical approaches are applied to the study and interpretation of the Bible. Special emphasis is placed on the Bible against the backdrop of its historical and cultural setting in the Ancient Near East.