The Churches of the East: the Eastern Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox Church and the Church of the East

REL680
Spring 2018
TTh 1:30-2:50pm
Area: 
Area II
Permission Not Required
No Limit to Enrollment
Course Description: 

This course will give an introduction to the different Churches of the East. It will examine the Christological controversies that caused the divisions between the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Church of the East, using primary documents in English translation. It will then focus on the  liturgies of the Byzantine, Syrian Orthodox and Assyrian (Church of the East) Churches, using primary liturgical texts, classical commentaries of each tradition, and secondary sources from modern liturgical scholarship.

Background Expected: 

Foundations of Christian Worship and/or Patristics.

Students with no exposure to the Eastern Christian Traditions are strongly encouraged to explore the travel journal by William Darlymple, From the Holy Mountain: A Journey Among the Christians of the Middle East (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1997) ISBN: 0-8050-5873-7 PRIOR TO TAKING THIS COURSE

Course Requirements: 

1.      Completion of all course readings

2.      Active participation in all class sessions

3.      Completion of assigned projects/papers

Basis of Evaluation: 

Two papers and participation in class.

A grade of H (= exemplary).  The paper theoretically approaches publication quality. In a research university, publication quality is your standard because public scholarship of some sort is the goal of your professional education. These papers clearly understand and helpfully interact with the texts and arguments of a broader conversation;

·         have an original, helpful thesis that develops new insights, directions, or connections (thus making it worthwhile reading to some public);

·         make that thesis discipline the entire essay, especially the conclusion;

·         anticipate criticisms and, insofar as possible, account for alternative positions;

·         use an effective rhetorical structure, including an accountable method of argument and a clear flow of ideas.

H- (= excellent,) but would require more work for it to be publication quality.

A grade of HP+ (=very good) indicates that you have successfully and competently written an essay. You demonstrate accurate understanding of texts and arguments and you have a clear thesis in a well-written paper.  MOST STUDENTS WILL ACCOMPLISH THIS VERY GOOD and RESPECTABLE GRADE.

A grade of HP (=good) indicates acceptable completion of the assignment, with room for improvement in argument, and/or in understanding of other texts. This may be the grade for a reasonable essay that remains descriptive rather than critical, or that seems rushed in its consideration. It may be the grade for an exciting idea that suffers from sloppy writing and argumentation.

A grade of HP- (=satisfactory/acceptable) indicates inadequate completion of the assignment but good faith effort in approaching it. The paper probably suffers from lack of a clear thesis and disorganized argument, and may incorrectly understand other arguments, express undefended assumptions, or inappropriate reading of other arguments.

A grade of P acknowledges that something was submitted, and that it fails to approximate professional writing.

F.  What was submitted falls below graduate school work.