This course is a survey of the teachings of the early church as those teachings were shaped by crisis and conflict within the church and by dialogue and competition with late ancient culture. The period addressed covers the beginning of Augustine's legacy in the West and the Council of Chalcedon in the East. (Because of Augustine's formative role in the western Church, the course that follows in Medieval and Reformation Theology will address many other aspects of his theology and legacy.) It meets the M. Div. core requirement in Church History "a" (CHA).
In the church since its beginnings, worship, doctrine, and life have informed each other to carry on and deepen the remembrance of Christ and further his work. This course introduces the student to a significant body of theological and historical data as a means to acquiring a broader perspective on one's own faith, a more sympathetic appreciation for that catholic and apostolic church, of which the student is a part, and training in that tradition in which the student participates. Moreover, through work in primary source readings, the student should acquire an improved facility in the analysis of theological arguments and the ability to articulate the meaning of the Christian faith in its historical development, both of which skills will carry over into the student's reading, understanding, and exposition of Scripture itself.