The first few centuries after Christ saw a mixture of ideas develop as early Christians navigated the world they lived in, with its competing beliefs, while trying to figure out the nature of whom and how they should worship. The questions they sought to answer are some of the great questions in any context: What does it mean to be human? How do we face the problem of evil? What is God like? What is the nature of spiritual authority? How do we come to agreement on complex issues?
This course will examine the major conflicts over these and other issues and trace the ways in which Christianity developed during that period, partly shaped by the very heresies it sought to counter. As many of these alternative doctrinal views have persisted into the present day, the historical debates can continue to inform the discussion of these core questions.