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RELIGST 325: Syriac Christianity

In the first millennium, Christianity thrived throughout the Middle East. Because Roman Catholic and Protestant churches later declared many of these Christians to be heretics, their stories have often been excluded from the history of Christianity. This course challenges the assumption of Christianity as a "Western" religion and asks how our understanding of global Christianity changes when we include the history and perspective of Eastern Christians writing in the Aramaic dialect of Syriac. We will read in English translation such sources as the tale of a transvestite nun, a letter allegedly written by Jesus, ancient Christian hymns, the story of a demon-possessed monastery, and the first Christian writings on Islam. Although primarily designed for Ph.D. candidates who have interests in late antiquity or the middle ages, this seminar is also appropriate for graduate students working in other time periods; it does not assume previous background in Syriac or in Syriac Christianity.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3-5
Instructors: ; Penn, M. (PI)
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