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Department of the Study of Religions

Eastern Christianity

Course Code:
158000132
Unit value:
0.5
Year of study:
Year 2 or Year 3
Taught in:
Term 1
Eastern Christianity is one of the three main branches of Christianity, and includes the Church of the East as well as the various Monophysite churches (Coptic, Syrian Orthodox and Armenian). These churches which seceded from the Orthodox and Latin churches as a result of the Christological debates in the fourth century, are distinguished by their theologies, as well as by political, linguistic and cultural factors. This course analyses the development of Eastern Christianity in India, Egypt, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Ethiopia, from its origins to the present.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

The course will open up to students the whole area of Christianity in the Near and Middle East and in Asia. It will enable students to understand their history, religious development, relation to the religions of their area, their theology, practice, worship and current challenges.

Scope and syllabus

The course will deal with the Syriac speaking church (primarily) and the Armenian,Georgian and Greek churches. It will also cover the Christian communities in Jordan, Iran and India. The course will cover the material chronologically, from the rise of oriental Christianity within Judaism Amidst the Graeco-Roamn world, through the separations from the Orthodox and Latin churches, through the relations with Islam after its rise in the seventh century, to the situation today.

Method of assessment

1 essay (3,000 words) (40%), 2-hour exam (60%).

Suggested reading

  • Gillman, I and H J Klimkeit (1999) Christians in Asia before 1500, London: Curzon.
  • Dalrymple, W (1997) From the Holy Mountain, Harper Collins.