Assistant Professor Sherri Franks Johnson Department of History
This course will explore the development of Christian beliefs through examining the process of debate and disagreement from the origins of the movement through the Reformation. We will consider the intertwined nature of heresy and orthodoxy, as well as the role of religious and secular authority. Questions we will keep in mind will include:
- What is the difference between heresy and other kinds of differences in belief or practice?
- Who sets boundaries for inclusion in the religious community and how do they decide where those boundaries are?
- What happens to those who disagree?
- How do political, economic and cultural issues influence religious debate and change?
- What issues tend to become settled or uncontroversial and what issues re-emerge periodically?
We will be guided by the idea that you can learn a lot about how a group develops over time by what issues it considers important enough to argue about, how it attempts to resolve those arguments, and how it decides who is in and who is out.