7AACM561 Christian Persecution: Violence and Memory under Rome
Credit value: 20 credits
Module convenor/tutor: Dr James Corke-Webster (2018/19)
Assessment pattern: 1 x 5,000 word essay
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Places on this module are capped at 16 and will be allocated in the first instance to those students from any College who are following the MA Ancient History degree programme. Any remaining places up the maximum size of the class will then be distributed proportionally between Colleges.
This module aims to introduce students to one of the most persistent and important historiographical issues in early Christian studies and Roman history - the so-called persecution of the Christians.
Perhaps the most prolific early Christian writers were those describing, explaining and condemning the mistreatment of Christians at the hands of Roman authorities in the first three centuries AD.
Students will study how scholarship over the last century has moved step-by-step towards a ‘minimalist’ view of the Roman ‘persecutions’, where a new model of local and sporadic episodes of violence against Christians has replaced the older idea of an Empire-wide witch-hunt of an outlawed sect in the scholarly imagination.
Students will learn both how to piece together a wide variety of ancient sources - literary, epistolary, papyrological etc. - to reconstruct the reality of Christian experience on the ground in the Roman provinces, as well as how to apply modern theoretical tools to understand how and why this experience was memorialised as persecution.
Core Reading List