Humanities Seminars Course: The Influence of Greece on Early Christianity

Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 10:00am to Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 12:00pm
Rubel Room, Poetry Center 1508 E. Helen Street Tucson, AZ 85721
THURSDAYS 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. October 1- December 10, 2015. No class on November 26, 2015. Register here.

Tuition: $150

What was the relationship of ancient Greek culture to early Christianity? This seminar will open with two topics of significance in the early development of Christianity: the image (or icon) and the Jesus story itself. The course will also include lectures on the tragic paradigm in Greek poetry (Homer and Sophocles) and a discussion of the soul in Plato's Phaedo. Then we trace the Hellenization of the ancient Mediterranean, beginning with the conquests of Alexander the Great and their influence on the diffusion of Hellenic philosophy and culture. We will also discuss the Logos in the Gospel of John, as well as how the Apostle Paul fits into ancient Epicureanism. The seminar will conclude with the conversion of the Emperor Constantine and the Council of Nicaea, and examine the fusion of Judaism and Platonism in the formation of the Nicene Creed in 325 CE.

Recommended Reading: 

Please note: The instructor is not going to assign any specific readings for this class. For those of you who enjoy some reading associated with ideas and topics that will be presented in the class, here are some suggestions:

Homer, Iliad

Sophocles, Ajax, Philoctetes

Plato, Phaedo

Gospel of Mark

Plutarch's Lives (Alexander)

Book of Acts

NORMAN AUSTIN, Professor Emeritus of Classics, received his PhD in Classics from Berkeley. He joined the University of Arizona in 1980 and has served twice as Head of the Department of Classics.  He retired in 2002 but returned to teaching in the Classics Department in 2011.  He is the author of several books on classical subjects including Homer's Odyssey  and the myth of Helen of Troy and her phantom double. His latest book, Sophocles'  Philoctetes and the Great Soul Robbery,  was published by the University of Wisconsin in 2011.  He has taught numerous seminars in the Humanities Seminars Program and received the Humanities Semianrs Award for Superior Teaching several times.