This course, open to all religious backgrounds, studies the history of earliest Judaism up to the Jewish diaspora of the first century; then proceeds to examine the cultural-historical conditions surrounding the birth of Christianity. Topics include essential aspects of early Judaism, such as its ethical/religious content, its cultural-geographic milieu, pagan cults and philosophy and their possible impact on monotheism; the figures of the historical Jesus and the Jesus of faith, the influence of Paul, the formation of the Gospels, and the reasons for growth till achievement of a critical mass of Christians. We end with a short introduction to the rise of Christianity during the early Middle Ages. Cross-listed with REL/MES 308.
Department: Judaic Studies Program