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Center for Curriculum and Transfer Articulation
Introduction to Christianity
Course: REL270

First Term: 1998 Fall
Lecture   3 Credit(s)   3 Period(s)   3 Load  
Subject Type: Academic
Load Formula: S

Description: The nature and content of the Christian tradition developed over time, with overview of the New Testament, major historical trends and figures, major Christian ideas and practices, and survey of denominations

MCCCD Official Course Competencies
1. Describe the context and life of Jesus. (I, II)
2. Trace the development of the New Testament documents and canon. (III)
3. Trace the development of earliest Christian communities. (IV)
4. Describe the shift from Christianity as illegal religion to Christianity as state religion. (IV, V)
5. Describe the Christian sacraments, rituals, and liturgies. (V, VI, VII)
6. Describe the role and content of the Church Councils, including the definition of heresy and orthodoxy. (V)
7. Describe the various reform movements including the monastic movement, late medieval movements, the Protestant Reformation, and the Counter-Reformation. (V, VI, VII, VIII)
8. Describe the causes of the split between Eastern and Western Christianity. (VI)
9. Describe the historical roots and the basic convictions and perspectives of Lutheranism, Calvinism, Anabaptist tradition, and Anglicanism. (VIII)
10. Describe the impact of the Enlightenment on Christian thought. (VIII)
11. Describe the impact of the American experience on Christianity and the impact of Christianity on American perspectives, including the rise of the social gospel, fundamentalism, and the ecumenical movement. (IX)
12. Identify and describe the major issues and concerns facing contemporary Christianity. (IX)
MCCCD Official Course Competencies must be coordinated with the content outline so that each major point in the outline serves one or more competencies. MCCCD faculty retains authority in determining the pedagogical approach, methodology, content sequencing, and assessment metrics for student work. Please see individual course syllabi for additional information, including specific course requirements.
MCCCD Official Course Outline
I. The Jewish Context
   A. The groups of Judaism (priests, Pharisees, qumran, etc.)
   B. Judea, Galilee, Samaria and Rome
   C. Existing writings (Torah, prophets, writings and pseudepigrapha)
II. Jesus
   A. The sources of history
   B. Non-canonical perspectives of Jesus
   C. The problem of the crucifixion and varied answers
III. The New Testament
   A. The concerns of Christian scripture
   B. The process of Christian scripture (writing, distribution, canonization)
   C. The interpretive approaches to scripture
IV. The Period of Christianity as Outsiders
   A. The development of communities
   B. The relationship to Judaism
   C. Development of worship practices
   D. The centralization of authority
   E. The move to define orthodox Christianity
   F. The persecutions
V. The Period of Christianity as Roman State Religion
   A. The Edict of Milan
   B. Relationship between Church and State
   C. The Councils of the Church
      1. The Trinitarian controversy
      2. The Christological controversy
      3. The Gnostic controversy
      4. The Pelagian controversy
   D. Monastic movements
   E. Liturgical development
VI. The Division of East from West
   A. Theological differences between Orthodox Christianity and Western Christianity
   B. Political factors of the split
   C. Eastern mystic Christianity and traditional Western Christianity
VII. The Reformation
   A. 16th century Reformation as continuation of dissent
   B. Martin Luther
      1. Individual responsibility and Church authority
      2. The definition of grace
      3. The role of scriptural interpretation
   C. Jean Calvin
      1. Theocracy: State as Kingdom of God
      2. The depravity of the human will
      3. The sacraments redefined
      4. Predestination and divine authority
   D. Ulrich Zwingli
      1. Baptism as outward sign
      2. The sacraments as ordinances
      3. Rejection of ritual
      4. Making the Kingdom of God
   E. Henry VIII
      1. Authority: bishops and popes
      2. The vernacularization of Christianity
   F. The Council of Trent
      1. Affirmation of papal authority
      2. Transubstantiation
      3. The Jesuits
      4. The Inquisition, witch trials, etc.
VIII. The Post-Reformation Period
   A. The prince`s religion as state religion (England, German, Scandinavia, Spain)
   B. The conflict among Christian states
   C. Colonization and the flight from Europe
   D. Foreign missions (India, America, Australia, China and Japan)
   E. The challenge of the Enlightenment
   F. The demythologization of Christianity and the rise of fundamentalism
IX. Contemporary Christianity
   A. Denominational survey
   B. The trends of Church membership
      1. Mainline denominations, fundamentalism and Pentecostalism
      2. African and Asian Christianity
      3. Ecumenical movements
   C. The issues of contemporary Christianity: ethics, doctrines, style
MCCCD Governing Board Approval Date: 2/24/1998

All information published is subject to change without notice. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, but based on the dynamic nature of the curricular process, course and program information is subject to change in order to reflect the most current information available.