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26. The "Afterlife" of the New Testament and Postmodern Interpretation

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Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152)

How did a small group following an apocalyptic prophet in Palestine become Christianity - what is now called a "world religion"? This small movement saw many changes in the second, third, and fourth centuries, from the development of different sects, philosophical theologies, and martyrology, to the rise of monasticism, and finally to the ascension of Constantine to the throne and the Christian Roman Empire. It was not until the nineteenth century, however, that the term "world religion" came to be used and Christianity was categorized as such.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Christianity in the Second Century: Gnostics, Philosophers, Martyrs, and Apologists
20:26 - Chapter 2. Christianity in the Third Century: Asceticism, Monasticism, and Persecution
26:20 - Chapter 3. Christianity in the Fourth Century: Constantine and the Church Councils
30:36 - Chapter 4. Christianity as a "World Religion"
36:36 - Chapter 5. The Growth of Christianity before Constantine and Q&A

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website:

This course was recorded in Spring 2009.