Ancient Christian Literature
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The first part of the course aims at introducing students to some of the most important works of Ancient Christian Literature; particular focus will be on Ancient Christian Literature basics and literary genres.
The second part of the course, through selected readings, focuses on historical, cultutral and literary dynamics occurring within the first Greek and Latin christian communities.
- Knowledge and understanding
Through specific class activities, seminars and lectures the course will provide students with critical understanding of the literary and cultural background of the main and most important literary genres within the field of Ancient Christian Literature.
- Applying knowledge and understanding
The study of the Judean and Hellenistical historical context and the analysis of the most characterizing aspects of the very first Christian literary works will provide students with a general understanding of the main cultural and literary developments of Greek and Latin Christian Literature. Students will so be given the possibility to broaden their literary spectrum and to better place historical and literary issues in their proper context. This will possibly result in a more complete understanding of modern and contemporary theological and literary problems.
- Making judgements
Thanks to the theoretical, linguistic and literary data acquired during classes, students should be able to critically read and interpret ancient Greek and Latin Christian texts, and thus be able to make personal judgements on ancient Christian works and on their social and cultural background.
- Communication skills
At the end of the course students should be able to:
1) properly present a variety of literary and cultural topics;
2) properly produce cross-sectional studies on different historical and literary topics.
- Learning skills
The course aims at providing students with methodological and learning skills useful for future employment (with particular reference to teaching and communication).
Course contents summary
The first part of the course will focus on literary institutions and critical methodology, with particular reference to:
- evolution of Early Christian literary genres;
- intertextuality and hypertextuality:
- early stages of Ancient Christian Literature;
- formal and literary aspects of continuity and discontinuity: Ancient Christian Literature and its relations with Greek and Latin Literatures.
The second part of the course will focus on the relationship between early Christian communities and central political dynamics.
1) M. SIMONETTI, E. PRINZIVALLI, Storia della letteratura cristiana antica, ed. EDB, Bologna 2010 (selection)
2) One of the following books (the student will be given the possibility to choose among the books listed below):
- R.L. Wilken, I cristiani visti dai Romani, Brescia 2007;
- M. Simonetti, Il Vangelo e la storia. Il cristianesimo antico (secoli I-IV), Roma 2010.
The course consists of classroom lectures supplemented by weekly tutorials.
Through classroom lectures students will be guided to a first methodological approach for the study of different text according to the specific features of literary genres and authors.
Classroom lectures will be supplemented by practice sessions and tutorials to support students in gaining the resources and skills needed to properly read and translate texts and to understand the most important phonological and metrical aspects. Tutorial activities will be scaled up and down according to students’ abilities and needs.
Assessment methods and criteria
Students will be assessed by an oral comprehensive examination based on the readings and other material used in the course and that will be administered at the end of the term.
The assessment aims to test:
1) proper knowledge and critical understanding of the literary and cultural background of the main and most important literary genres within the field of Ancient Christian Literature;
2) general understanding of the main cultural and literary developments of Greek and Latin Christian Literature and of the readings and other material used in the course;
3) ability to critically read and interpret ancient Greek and Latin Christian texts, and to make personal judgements on ancient Christian works and on their social and cultural background;
4) ability to properly produce cross-sectional studies on different historical and literary topics.
Students will be assessed on:
written and oral proficiency; correct use of language; personal reinterpretation of contents; ability to make inter-disciplinary connections; proper use of specialist language; ability to give proper answers to given questions.
Students will have to score a minimum of 60 percent or better to get a pass grade.