Early christian literature

A.Y. 2021/2022
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
L-FIL-LET/06
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
Early Christian Literature (a.k.a.: "Patristic") has a fourfold objective:
1) it intends to introduce students to the fundamental literary collection and history of ideas that emerged in Christian origins;
2) the course also intends to illustrate the main trajectories along which the continuing cultural relevance of these texts has been consolidated (from the New Testament collection to authors such as Origen of Alexandria, Eusebius of Cesarea, Augustine of Hippo, Girolamo di Stridone etc.) in the history of thought and the various literary cultures;
3) it aims to introduce the main methodological tools, characteristic of this Discipline and distinctive of its most recent critical developments;
4) Finally, this Discipline aims to show students the opportunities to undertake a research itinerary in this specific field of study.
This articulated methodological and knowledge heritage is aimed, ultimately, at allowing the student to interact critically with the documentary heritage studied by the Discipline and with the complex constellation of studies and researches that, around it, the different critical traditions have animated.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge
At the end of the course, the student should have acquired a basic critical knowledge of the primary literary dynamics, of the respective referring historical contexts (Sitz im Leben), of the most significant moments of this literary history and of thought. Alongside this, the course intends to provide critical skills concerning the Discipline's principal methodological resources to orientate the student within the critical analysis of this variegated and plural heritage.

Skills
This knowledge requires an initial competence with the main critical tools developed by and for research in the field of New Testament and "patristic" criticism.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Responsible
Lesson period
First semester
In the emergency teaching phase, the program will face the following changes.

Teaching methods:
The lessons will air on the Skype platform.
The calendar of the lessons and all the further details will find adequate space on the teacher's Ariel website before the beginning of the lessons. Any updates will reach the students again through the teacher's Ariel website.

Learning assessment procedures and evaluation criteria:
The exam is oral and held on Teams, according to the instructions provided by the University or, where the regulations will allow it, in presence, again in oral form.
The objectives of the course and the evaluation criteria will remain unchanged.
Course syllabus
Title: «Tradunt maiores nostri». From the Kerygma to the Symbols in Christian origins. The case of Rufinus of Aquileia, Explanation of the Creed

"Symbol" (or "Creed") is the title of numerous short textual compositions, whose formal affinities have made it possible to classify a literary genre, consolidated from the beginning of the third century, characterized by axiomatic collections, articulated in rhetorical structures distinctly paratactic.
These brief papers had the task of defining and preserving the features of the religious identity of each Christian community; this decisive function meant that the complex process of identification and improvement of this "textual genre" coincided with the troubled process of parting and consolidating the various ecclesial identities within which the original Christian traditions were arranged.
"Professing the kerygma" - and, later, "professing the faith" - meant giving public visibility to personal adherence to a Church, confessing as one's own the theological theses (the "theologumena") that that particular religious tradition held.
The itinerary that led to the definition of the first Symbols went through different phases: starting from the simple affirmation of the Name, proclaimed at the moment of entering into the community ("In the Name of Jesus, the Christ ...", "In the name of the Lord ..." etc. ), short series of questionnaires arose ("Do you believe in ...?") which established the rubrics around which the backbone of the first Symbols of faith was finally structured. These bornt as series of theological propositions to be publicly confessed - coram populo e coram Deo -, in which each Church placed the memory of its own religious life and the foundations of an identity that ideally went back to the preaching of Jesus, the Christ.
Contrary to the common belief, given the characteristic identitarian value that these texts assumed, the Christian origins produced numerous symbols of faith, in most cases comparable in structure but never completely coinciding in theological content.
The course aims to investigate this specific literary tradition starting from the oldest treatise dedicated to the Explanation of one of these formulas: the Explanation of the Creed by Rufino of Aquileia.
The development of the course will follow three Argumentative Units:
I Argumentative Unit: the concept of the kerygma in proto-Christian traditions: from Paul to the Synoptics.
II Argumentative Unit: from the kerygma to the Symbol. Identity, controversy and worship in the ancient Christian Churches.
III Argumentative Unit: Rufin of Aquileia, The Explanation of the Creed.
In the I Unit, the class will try to go back to the origin of the concept of the kerygma, observing how it is constitutive of the most ancient Christian movements. The examination of the genesis of this theme will allow the class both to consider the characteristic features of the most ancient Christian textual production and to recall the epistemological principles on which the disciplinary autonomy of the Discipline is based, whose main methodological acquisitions will be applied exemplarily to the criticism of the texts analyzed. This examination will also allow the class to enter into the merits of the most recent debate on the original character of these movements of believers in Jesus, the Christ, if they should be considered as a-kerygmatic sapiential aggregations or if they were actually based on recognition, in the Passover of Jesus, of the event which fulfilled history, inaugurating the kingdom of God.
In the II Unit, the genesis of the first symbols of faith will be observed, with particular attention to the liturgical, polemical (especially from an anti-heresiological perspective) and identity value of the different kerygmatic formulations and of the different Symbols. Specifically, the genesis of the Aquileian tradition will assume the function of a "case study".
Finally, the last Argumentative Unit (III) will be dedicated to the Explanation of the Creed of Rufino of Aquileia. The analysis of the text aims at several objectives: 1. it aims to return the document to its own Sitz im Leben; 2. it is intended to isolate and analyze the kerygmatic formula reported by the Explanation; 3. it will underline the peculiarities of the Aquileian Creed and the argumentative strategies with which Rufino presented them.
Prerequisites for admission
No prerequisites for admission.
Teaching methods
The course will be offered in a lecture format (although the possibility of exercises and group work is not excluded). Class attendance is highly recommended.
Teaching Resources
GENERAL BIBLIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES:
To support class attendance and exam preparation, all students are requested to have a Bible edition of their choice between:
a) La Bibbia di Gerusalemme, Bologna (EDB) 2009;
b) E Dio disse La Bibbia. Nuovissima versione dai testi originali, Cinisello Balsamo (San Paolo) 2007.
Students with a Classics Curriculum are also very kindly requested to supplement what the chosen Bible edition with:
* Nestle - Aland, Novum Testamentum Graece, Stuttgart (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft) 2012 (28th edition).
The texts listed above will be used during the final examination.

Bibliographic indications and examination programme for ATTENDING STUDENTS.
I Part
* W. Weren, Finestre su Gesù, Torino (Claudiana) 2001;
* C. Moreschini - E. Norelli, Manuale di letteratura cristiana antica greca e latina, Brescia (Morcelliana) 2006 (2ed.).
* Lectures notes and materials of the course.
II Part
* G. Pelizzari (cur.), Rufino, Spiegazione del Credo, Paoline (Milano) c.d.s. (Letture cristiane del primo millennio 62) [Please, pay attention: also the Introduction to the text is an integral part of the program!]: the book will be published on the next november 2021.
* Lecture notes and materials of the course.
III Part
* Lecture notes and materials of the course.

For the achievement of the 6 c.f.u., both the attendance and the study of the materials indicated for the first two Units are mandatory;
For the achievement of the 9 c.f.u., both the attendance and the study of the materials indicated for all the three Units are mandatory.

Bibliographic references and examination programme for NON-ATTENDING STUDENTS.
I Part
* W. Weren, Finestre su Gesù, Torino (Claudiana) 2001;
* C. Moreschini - E. Norelli, Manuale di letteratura cristiana antica greca e latina, Brescia (Morcelliana) 2006 (2ed.).
* P.R. Tragan, La preistoria dei vangeli. Tradizione cristiana primitiva, Sotto il Monte (Servitium Editrice) 1999.
II Part
* G. Pelizzari (cur.), Rufino, Spiegazione del Credo, Paoline (Milano) c.d.s. (Letture cristiane del primo millennio 62) [Please, pay attention: also the Introduction to the text is an integral part of the program!]: the book will be published on the next november 2021.
* J.N.D. Kelly, I Simboli di fede nella Chiesa antica. Nascita, evoluzione, uso del Credo, Bologna (EDB) 2009, pages 31-264.
III Part
* J.N.D. Kelly, I Simboli di fede nella Chiesa antica. Nascita, evoluzione, uso del Credo, Bologna (EDB) 2009, pages 265-530.

For the achievement of the 6 c.f.u., the study of the materials indicated for the first two Units is mandatory;
For the achievement of the 9 c.f.u., the study of the materials indicated for all the three Units is mandatory.


Non-Italian mother-tongue students are requested to contact the teacher to set an alternative bibliography.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Through exemplary case studies, the course aims to effectively present the specificities, from a critical and historical point of view, of the early Christian literary traditions, emphasizing above all their paradigmatic value and their influence on the subsequent literary history and history of thought.
With particular reference to the use of the methodological and critical instruments elaborated by this Discipline, the course objective is to enable students to analyse a literary document of Early Christianity critically.
The evaluation, expressed in thirtieths and communicated at the end of each exam, takes into account the following criteria:
1) critical reasoning skills (critical evaluation of the document; critical evaluation of the scientific literature; formulation of critical opinions; analytical ability; deductive capacity);
2) methodological rigour (knowledge of the methodological foundations of the discipline; ability to use this methodology);
3) knowledge of the fundamental notions (notional cognition; organization of notions in an ordered framework of knowledge);
4) expressive effectiveness (timely and non-allusive exposition; discursively organization of knowledge; acquisition of a specialized vocabulary).
Unita' didattica A
L-FIL-LET/06 - ANCIENT CHRISTIAN LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
L-FIL-LET/06 - ANCIENT CHRISTIAN LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
L-FIL-LET/06 - ANCIENT CHRISTIAN LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Educational website(s)