RE223 Ancient Christianity

for FA 2012

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RE 223 Ancient Christianity


FA 2012 HO


Chambers, Ace



Office Hours

By appointment before or after class

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

August 20 - December 14, 2012

Class Days


Class Time

11:00 - 11:50 AM

Credit Hours


Burge, Gary M., Lynn H. Cohick, and Gene L. Green, The New Testament in Antiquity: A Survey of the New Testament within Its Cultural Context, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 2009). 479 pages. ISBN  978-0-310-24495-0.

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:


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Course Description:
RE 223 Ancient Christianity: A critical exploration of the origination and development of Christianity with the larger historical, cultural and religious setting of the ancient Graeco-Roman world. Particular attention is paid to how early Christians understood Jesus of Nazareth, organized and regulated their churches, and dealt with important religious and social concerns. Significant parts of the New Testament are studied with regard to these matters.

Educational Philosophy:

The instructor’s educational philosophy incorporates multiple communication mediums to introduce and reinforce concepts and learned skill sets. Learners will be encouraged to engage in class discussions, lectures, reading, quizzes, exams, a research paper, and class projects which will enhance their learning experience. 

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. The student will be able to identify various components of the historical context that impacted the beginning and development of the early Christian church.
  2. The student will be able to demonstrate an understanding of how the early Christian church viewed Jesus Christ.
  3. The student will demonstrate a knowledge of the expansion of the early Christian church
  4. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the various issues facing the early church and how the church addressed them.
Class Assessment:
Reading Assignments: Reading assignments will assist you in your understanding of the course content and are designed to supplement the lecture material.  Each reading assignment should be completed before the assigned class period.  Although the reading itself is not graded, it will have an effect on the grade you will receive on quizzes and exams.

Quizzes: Quizzes will be given on the weekly basis covering the reading assigned for that week. There will be 13 quizzes of which the 3 lowest scores will be dropped.  Quizzes are 10 points each for a total 100 points.  There will be no make-up on quizzes. 

Exams: There will be four Unit Exams, (one of which is the Final), which will cover material out of the textbook, handouts, and the class lectures, with the majority of the questions concerning the lectures.  The questions concerning the readings will be over the same material covered by the quizzes. A study guide will be given in advance to the student to aid in preparation. The types of questions on the test will be varied, including: fill-in-the-blank, matching, listing, multiple choice, short answer, and a choice of only one of three essay questions to answer. There will be no True-False questions on the test. You may use an unmarked Bible, but no class notes, for the essay portion of the exam. Point values for each type of question will be given on the exam itself. Make-up exams will only be given in emergency situations.  Each exam is worth 100 points.
  Map Study: Each student will do a study of Paul’s journeys (the 3 missionary journeys and the trip to Rome). The student will complete a map for each journey in accordance with the guidelines handed out in class. The Maps must be hand drawn and completed on the blank maps provided by the instructor.  The Maps will be graded on completeness of the assignment (doing each part of the assignment), accuracy, and neatness.  Creativity and color can help you score.  Details on the assignment will be handed out in class.  Each map is worth 50 points for a total of 200 points.
  Historical Backgrounds Research Paper: Each student will select one research paper to complete from a list of topics which will be provided in class.  Details of the requirements for the paper will be handed out in class, as well.  The research paper will be graded on: content, both quality and thoroughness; grammar; logical flow; clarity of thought; components listed in the instruction sheet; sources researched and sited—both number of sources and obvious omissions; and topicality.  The paper is worth 300 points.


Use the chart below to track your grades and figure out how well you are doing.


Points Possible

Points Earned

     Quizzes - 10 points each on 10 quizzes (13 quizzes; drop 3 lowest)


     Exam 1 - The Historical Background - 1st Century


     Exam 2 - Covering the Early Church's Understanding about Jesus


     Exam 3 - Regarding the Beginning and Expansion of the Early Church


     Exam 4 - Covering the Issues which Faced the Early Church


     Map Study Detailing the 4 Missionary Journeys of Paul


     Historical Backgrounds Research Paper


Total Points



Late Submission of Course Materials:

Late work will be accepted, except for Quizzes and Exams. Work missed due to an "Excused" absence must be turned in by the next class period and will not carry a penalty. A dated note from the doctor, a prescription or car repair receipt will be required to validate excused absences.  If the absence is "Unexcused" the grade received on any regular assignment turned in after the due date will be reduced by 10% for each class period it is late. Assignments that are more than 10 class periods late will receive a grade of zero. 

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Religion can be a sensitive and controversial subject with strong convictions, beliefs, and expressions. Respect for fellow students and the instructor is required at all times as pursuant to the behavior consistent with Park University guidelines. The classroom and learning mediums are for the purpose of the exploration and expression of ideas.
1. Cell Phone Usage: Students who are expecting an emergency phone call may leave a phone or pager on if you set it to silent or vibrate. Students will notify the instructor in advance of the potential for the phone call.  If an emergency call or text is received, the student must take the call or text outside of the classroom.  Please NOTE, cell phone usage (including: receiving, answering and making phone calls; leaving the classroom to take a call, text messaging, and direct-connecting) is prohibited from the time class begins until dismissed.  Students who text during class will be counted as absent for that day.
2. Computer Usage: Computers are wonderful tools that allow us to organize, store and retrieve information quickly and easily. You are welcome to bring your laptop with you to class for this purpose. However, with the advent of wireless networks and broadband internet connections, computers now offer students many opportunities for distraction. If the distractions become too frequent or noticeable, computer usage for the entire class may be disallowed. Please do not let your web surfing, instant messaging, Facebook and Twitter status updating habits ruin this privilege for the whole class.  Students who violate correct computer usage during class will be counted as absent for that day.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Course Schedule

Week 1
(Aug 20-24)
Introduction and Historical Developments Prior to the First Century AD.  
Week 2 (Aug 27-31)
The Political Climate and the Roman Military Machine            
Read:  Antiquity: chs. 1-2
Quiz-1:  Mon., Aug. 27th.

Week 3 (Sept 3-7) --- No Class Mon., Sept. 3rd.
Daily Life in the First Century
Read:  Antiquity ch. 3
Quiz-2:  Wed., Sept. 5th.

Week 4 (Sept 10-14)
The Jewish Cultural and Religious Climate
Read:  Antiquity chs. 5-7
Quiz-3:  Mon., Sept. 10th.

Week 5 (Sept 17-21)
A Jewish Perspective of Jesus Christ
Exam 1:  Mon., Sept 17th
Read:  Antiquity chs. 8; Bible: Matthew
Quiz-4:  Wed., Sept. 19th.

Week 6 (Sept 24-28)
A Jewish Perspective of Jesus Christ (cont.)
Read:  Antiquity ch. 11; Bible: John
Quiz-5:  Mon., Sept. 24th.

Week 7 (Oct 1-5)
A Gentile Perspective of Jesus Christ
Read:  Antiquity chs. 9-10; Bible: Mark and Luke
Quiz-6:  Mon., Oct. 1st.

Week 8 (Oct 8-12)
Setting the Stage for the Formation of the Early Church
Exam 2:  Fri., Oct 12th
Read:  Antiquity chs. 4 & 12; Bible: Acts
Quiz-7:  Mon., Oct. 8th.

Week 9 (Oct 15-19): NO CLASSES, FALL BREAK

Week 10 (Oct 22-26)
The Work of Peter and the Other Apostles
Read:  Antiquity chs. 13-15; The Bible: Galatians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians
Quiz-8:  Mon., Oct. 22nd.

Week 11 (Oct 29-Nov 2)
The Expansion of the Early Church and the Work of Paul
Read:  Antiquity chs. 16-18: The Bible: 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans
Quiz-9:  Mon., Oct. 29th.

Week 12 (Nov 5-9)
Paul's Letters to the Early Churches
Read:  Antiquity chs. 19-21; The Bible: Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, & Philemon
Quiz-10:  Mon., Nov. 5th.
DUE:  Map Study is due at the beginning of class Fri., Nov. 9th.

Week 13 (Nov 12-16)
The Early Church and Its Jewish Roots
Exam 3:  Wed., Nov. 14th
Read:  Antiquity chs. 22-23; The Bible: James & Hebrews
Quiz-11:  Mon., Nov. 12th.

Week 14 (Nov 19-23) --- No Class Fri., Nov. 23rd.
The Early Church's Place in Society
Read:  Antiquity ch. 24; The Bible: 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude
Quiz-12:  Mon., Nov. 19th.

Week 15 (Nov 26-30)
The Issues Facing the Early Church
Read:  Antiquity chs. 25-26; The Bible: 1,2,& 3 John, and Revelation
Quiz-13:  Mon., Nov. 26th.
DUE:  Historical Backgrounds Research Paper due at the beginning of class Fri., Nov. 30th

Week 16 (Dec 3-7)
Rome and the Early Church
Read:  Antiquity ch. 27.
No Quiz

FINAL EXAM:  Wed., Dec. 12th,  10:15-12:15

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


Ferguson, Everett. Backgrounds of Early Christianity. 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2003).
Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993).
Barrett, C.K., ed. The New Testament Background: Writings from Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire that Illuminate Christian Origins. Rev. ed. (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995).
House, H. Wayne, Chronological and Background Charts of the New Testament. 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009).
Shelton, Jo-Ann, As the Romans Did, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1998).


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Last Updated:8/17/2012 12:06:21 AM