Monday, August 08, 2011

September Course

This September (in just a few weeks) I will be visiting lecturer at CFI's online campus, teaching their one-month intro course The Real Origins of Christianity alongside Dr. John Shook (we co-taught the last course, on naturalism). Anyone can attend and receive a certificate of completion (though only students at UB receive college credit). It is all online and all flextime (you can work at any time of day or week).

Course description: This course examines the historical origins of the Christian religion from a secular and skeptical perspective. Course topics include the origins and composition of the New Testament; the sociological, cultural, and religious context and how they caused early Christian beliefs; discerning the historical, mythical and theological Jesus; and explaining early belief in his resurrection. It aims to give students a basic primer on the issue of early Christian origins and how to understand what happened without relying on dogma or the supernatural.

Students will be able to interact with both of us on a near-daily basis in professional-quality forum discussions of lectures and reading materials (or you can just listen in, although participation is required for a completion certificate). There are required readings but no grades, tests, or papers (we assess your level of participation and comprehension from your interactions with us each week). My book Not the Impossible Faith is the required course text (print, kindle, or PDF). Tuition is $60 ($50 for Friends of the Center, and only $10 for college students). To learn more, or register, visit the CFI course page: The Real Origins of Christianity (SCI 233).


Fadefury said...

Very excited about this. Richard, do you know of any future classes that will focus on biblical studies? Textual criticism or "higher" criticism classes would be fantastic.

Pikemann Urge said...

I always like to hear your presentations (i.e. on-line) so there's no doubt this short course would be a step above passive listening. I won't be registering, sadly - but perhaps in future!

However, I did follow the link to the PDF of NTIF, and I was flabbergasted at the price. $2.50? SOLD. Ah, the magic of electronic publishing.

I do have a bone to pick, though: the title of the course. The Real Origins of Christianity? I get a bit suspicious when people get insistent like that. It's a bit too much a self-assured, Lee Strobel type of a title (e.g. The Case for the Real Jesus - yeah, pick one!).

There's a history mini-series by Simon Schama, A History of Britain. I have the documentary mini-series, A History of Christianity by Diarmaid MacCulloch (haven't watched it yet). In the light of those titles, how about just The Origins of Christianity? Obviously it is not a devotional course, but still, ditch the 'skeptical perspective' bit. How about just a 'scholarly perspective'?

Just my two mites, as usual.