Check out my new course for the fall semester of 2012 here at Duke, co-taught with Lindsey Mazurek. Our website is up and running, with new content being added. Check it out here. We also have a spiffy new flyer.
Fall Registration has opened at Duke. Here are the two courses I will be teaching in the fall: Christianity in the Second Century (see the flyer: Xnity in the 2nd Century Flyer) and Roman Civilization: Life under the First Superpower (Classical Studies). Here are the synopses for both:
Christianity in the Second Century (REL 690S): Martyrs. Theological Controversy. Heresy. Miracles. The second century had it all. The various Christianities of the second century were shaped by heated debates over everything to do with theology, ethics, and identity. Out of the second century come some of Christianity’s most familiar concepts and some of its most interesting lost possibilities. It was a time of new possibilities, experimentation, and debate around issues not all that dissimilar from those that find there way into our own political and theological debates. Christians in the second century debated piety, education, identity, ethnicity, politics, and even the interpretation of art and architecture. Come explore this fascinating and vibrant period of Christianity’s history. In this course we will read together the surviving texts of the second century and explore the complex engagements between Christians, Jews, Greeks, and the broader Roman Empire. No prerequisites required. Undergraduate and graduate students are welcome.
Roman Civilization: Life under the First Superpower: A superpower with ambitions unchecked. A civilization with armies forever on the move to distant lands. A culture unrivaled in wealth, opulence, and power. A government made up of the richest fraction of the one percent. Sound familiar? If you are envisioning the Rome of the first century you are on the right track. In this course we will look at Roman culture, both high and low, asking questions about what it was like to live under the first great superpower. We’ll watch gladiators fight each other and cheer mock naval battles from the cheap seats in a Roman amphitheater, gaze out on life at the provincial fringes of the empire in Britain, Syria, and Gaul, walk through the dark alleys of Pompeii and peak in at the brothels and bars that dot the landscape. We’ll dine with the rich in their sumptuous villas, surrounded by luxury and art, and then peer back into the servants quarters to see the hard lot of enslaved men and women. We’ll follow the rise of Christianity and look at how it made its way from Palestine to the four corners of the Roman world. We’ll even spend time learning about the social history of Roman toilets and the ways that sewers, aqueducts, roads, and the eradication of pirates can change whole economies. So come and join us for an wild and exciting journey through Roman culture. No prerequisites required. This is an introductory course and open to anyone.
Come find out on Tuesday in our huge new classroom. No longer trapped in the confines of Gray 220, we will now be meeting in Westbrook 0016, just below the Divinity School chapel. And, of course, Mr. Rembrandt will be making an appearance.
Then make sure to check out my other course for Spring 2012 at Duke: The Bible and the Construction of Christian Sexuality (Religion 20S). Make sure to drop by Gray 220 on Wednesday from 2:50 to 4:05 pm. Check out the flyer for the course and pass it along to your friends: Sex and the Bible Flyer 2
This 6th to 7th century icon of Paul has what I think is the best artistic representation of Paul’s potbelly that I have yet seen. Though I am willing to be persuaded otherwise…
The next question that we can debate is whether the “historical” Paul did himself have a potbelly. Though it sounds frivolous, such a conversation might draw us into debates about Paul’s socioeconomic status, a hotly-contested question in Pauline studies. To find out more, make sure to sign up for The Life and Letters of Paul this spring (Duke students can follow the link on the right).
In my almost daily perusing of Google images for pictures of Paul, I was struck (following the Paul as Patrick Stewart image from yesterday) by the contrast between traditional icons of Paul (below right) and contemporary American reconceptions of Paul as a hyper masculine, ruggedly attractive fellow (below left). How do we explain these different takes on Paul? What ends do these ways of representing Paul’s face and body serve in debates about Paul, his authority, and his relevance? Come explore these in the Life and Letters of Paul (follow the link on the right to Aces to register)!
One of the topics we will be discussing this semester is Paul’s physique and body as described by himself and by other early Christians. Register for The Life and Letters of Paul to find out more!!
Registration for Spring 2012 starts tomorrow. Make sure to sign up for Life and Letters of Paul (REL 108) and tell your friends! If you have any questions, check the course’s ACES entry or email Prof. Concannon at email@example.com.