The story of Christianity: history, beliefs, practices
Time: 14:00 - 16:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HRS04
Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)
What is the course about?
This course introduces you to Christianity, exploring its origins in the person and life of Jesus Christ and its development into an established religion centred around the institution of the Church and its sacred text the Bible. You will also learn about Christianity’s defining beliefs and practices, the distinctions between denominations within Christianity and how it is set it apart from other religions.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- The historical origins of Christianity, focusing on person of Jesus Christ, the establishment of the Church and the Bible.
- The ideas that define Christianity, in particular the belief in a Trinitarian God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), in Jesus Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension and in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
- The practices that define Christianity, specifically baptism and communion.
- The historical background to splits within Christianity and the differences between the resulting denominations.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Give a brief account of the origins of Christianity and be aware of the debates that shaped its early history.
- Identify the defining features of Christianity.
- Comment on the reasons for and differences between the various denominations.
- Comment on the similarities and differences between Christianity and other religions.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is an introductory course which does not assume any prior knowledge. Students from any or no faith perspective are welcome. However, you should come with an open and critical mind and a willingness to respect the beliefs and identities of others.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will be taught on a single Saturday and therefore no advance preparation is needed. It will be delivered as a series of short seminars, which will include lecturing and class discussion.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Handouts summarising the key points and suggesting further reading will be provided.There are no additional costs. Please bring a pen and paper if you wish to make notes.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You might be interested in HRS43 - Christmas unwrapped: an exploration of the story, imagery, carols and traditions of Christmas.
See also history courses within the Humanities programme.