Early Christianity: The Letters of Paul

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edX online courses
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Course Description

The letters of Paul are the earliest texts in the Christian scriptures, written by a Jew at a time when the word “Christian” hadn’t yet been coined. What is the religious and political context into which they emerged? How were they first interpreted? How and why do they make such an enormous impact in Christian communities and in politics today?

Archaeological materials and ancient writings will help you to enter the ancient Mediterranean world and to think about religious groups, power, poverty, health, and the lives of elites and slaves in the Roman Empire. We’ll explore how immediately controversial these letters were, and how these letters are used today to debate relations between Christians and Jews; issues such as love, law, and grace; and topics such as charismatic Christianity, homosexuality, and women’s religious leadership.
 
Whether you’ve been studying Paul’s letters for years or are merely curious about what C...

The letters of Paul are the earliest texts in the Christian scriptures, written by a Jew at a time when the word “Christian” hadn’t yet been coined. What is the religious and political context into which they emerged? How were they first interpreted? How and why do they make such an enormous impact in Christian communities and in politics today?

Archaeological materials and ancient writings will help you to enter the ancient Mediterranean world and to think about religious groups, power, poverty, health, and the lives of elites and slaves in the Roman Empire. We’ll explore how immediately controversial these letters were, and how these letters are used today to debate relations between Christians and Jews; issues such as love, law, and grace; and topics such as charismatic Christianity, homosexuality, and women’s religious leadership.
 
Whether you’ve been studying Paul’s letters for years or are merely curious about what Christian scriptures are, this course will provide you with information to deepen your understanding of the ancient contexts and present-day controversies about these texts.

Before your course starts, try the new edX Demo where you can explore the fun, interactive learning environment and virtual labs. Learn more.


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Reviews 9/10 stars
10 Reviews for Early Christianity: The Letters of Paul

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8/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 11 months ago
A difficult course. On the one hand, it does make one familiar with ancient history of early Christianity. On the other, it teaches it from a modern perspective, sounding at times as if chastising St Paul for failing to live up to modern Western cultural standards. But the staff all have hearts of gold and gigantic patience with presenting the academic point of view to the fundamentally inclined believers and non-believers. After this course, in discussions with others I've found myself being more understanding of different points of view and able to present my own view more clearly and concisely. The greatest problem I had with this course was that there was just too many people, so if you wanted to participate in the discussions, you had to sometimes skip doing the readings and jump in to the discussion as quickly as possible, before the number of participants grows into hundreds, after which time nobody can dig down to your posts.
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Dr.John Newsome profile image
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Dr.John Newsome

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 4 months ago
The Letters of The Apostle Paul are awesome!!! Dr. Nasrallah is an awesome teacher, she made the class exciting and interesting and life changing!!! The content, The Scripture is life changing in Its self!!! Great University, great course, great instructor! Dr. John Newsome
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 4 months ago
I loved to learned and follow each lecture with Prof. Nasaralla, I hope to be more courses with her or in this area (theology or bible studies)
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 5 months ago
This was a brilliant course to study early Christianity, and the self-paced course is also an excellent idea where students can study at their own pace and time.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 5 months ago
A complete source of information. Simple to understand . Prof Nasrallah explain on very easy concepts and helps you improve your knowledge on the vast majority of the New Testament, with out doubt Paul' letters, and the history of early Christianity.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 7 months ago
Great course; strengthened my understanding of the New Testament and my appreciation of the writings of Paul. To say I feel empowered is an understatement. This course enhanced my walk with Christ as well as knowledge of historical aspects of the time in which Christ and Paul lived.
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Daniel N. Gullotta profile image
Daniel N. Gullotta profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
6 years ago
Outstanding course! Prof. Nasarallah is an extremely gifted instructor and academic. The videos, tools, texts, and study guides allow students to go deeper into the world of the earliest Christians, focusing on the life of the Apostle Paul. Prof. Nasarallah highlights the great challenges Paul faced, the defeats he suffered, the successes he enjoyed, all from a historical prospective. Amazing, glad I signed up!
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10/10 starsCompleted
6 years, 1 month ago
Some experience with the subject. I was thoroughly intrigued with Professor Nasarallah and her staff in their exciting and scholarly treatment of this period of history. I looked forward to each video as a rock star would to a concert. Professor Nasrallah in introducing a topic was charismatic and informative. I found myself viewing the videos several times to absorb the contents and hear the mellifluous voice of the professor. The course has deepened my interest in this period of history and led me back to the Bible and other sources. My experience with the many scriptures was truly gratifying. Look forward to more of this period of history. This being my first online course that I have taken I found that the pace of the course was rapid, but nonetheless held my interest. Not having taken any history courses since my early years in grad school, I would find it difficult to compare it to those courses. Technology is an added plus to ... Some experience with the subject. I was thoroughly intrigued with Professor Nasarallah and her staff in their exciting and scholarly treatment of this period of history. I looked forward to each video as a rock star would to a concert. Professor Nasrallah in introducing a topic was charismatic and informative. I found myself viewing the videos several times to absorb the contents and hear the mellifluous voice of the professor. The course has deepened my interest in this period of history and led me back to the Bible and other sources. My experience with the many scriptures was truly gratifying. Look forward to more of this period of history. This being my first online course that I have taken I found that the pace of the course was rapid, but nonetheless held my interest. Not having taken any history courses since my early years in grad school, I would find it difficult to compare it to those courses. Technology is an added plus to presenting the material. Hope the Professor will present another course on this significant period of history.
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10/10 starsCompleted
6 years, 3 months ago
Dr. Laura Nasrallah @ Harvard on 'Letters of Paul' (HDS 1544.1x) Harvard (EdX and Laura) offer a FREE college course on NT Epistles, Pauline Theology.  It's multi-lingual, in English and Spanish, but it require a good computer, a printer, and high-speed internet. A MOCC is available to anyone, anywhere, at any-time.  Her lectures are available 24x7, with five 9's of uptime.  That's at least 99.9 % of the time. The computer Gurus of Boston manage the delivery, Laura provides the content. Where did she come from ?  She's a Harvard Professor, a solid teacher. She's contributes to educational Free-ware, FREE instruction at the Click of a Mouse. If you reach Yahoo, you will be in her Lecture Room at Harvard. Then enjoy and learn. This course was Joy and fun. It's not for the faint of heart. If you take this course, make sure you're IN the first day or First week of class. If not, you can quickly fall behind. Stay caught up on your Homewor... Dr. Laura Nasrallah @ Harvard on 'Letters of Paul' (HDS 1544.1x) Harvard (EdX and Laura) offer a FREE college course on NT Epistles, Pauline Theology.  It's multi-lingual, in English and Spanish, but it require a good computer, a printer, and high-speed internet. A MOCC is available to anyone, anywhere, at any-time.  Her lectures are available 24x7, with five 9's of uptime.  That's at least 99.9 % of the time. The computer Gurus of Boston manage the delivery, Laura provides the content. Where did she come from ?  She's a Harvard Professor, a solid teacher. She's contributes to educational Free-ware, FREE instruction at the Click of a Mouse. If you reach Yahoo, you will be in her Lecture Room at Harvard. Then enjoy and learn. This course was Joy and fun. It's not for the faint of heart. If you take this course, make sure you're IN the first day or First week of class. If not, you can quickly fall behind. Stay caught up on your Homework. Don't make her get that virtual 'Wooden Ruler' out of her Desk drawer ! The student body in 1544 is superb. You study with Champions, industrial heavy-weights from every nation, every occupation. The older (and retired) students in class is a huge plus. Build your own network of elite advisors who have retired from nearly every occupation. What they Post in Chat Sessions is phenomenal. The international Flavor of this course is superb. Who is Laura Nasrallah ?  "The voice of one crying in the wilderness" of modern Distance Learning, higher education, and MOOC assemblies. Prof Nasrallah is the face of God's international Redeeming Love, using the lips of Harvard, speaking with the voice of Princeton. She does this in an exquisite and luxurious way. She's delightful and entertaining. Laura has a Joy and enthusiasm sharing her Subject. She takes us 2,000 years back in time to the Publishing and Manufacturing (engineering) process of Letter Writing (and ideals) of the First Century. She includes lifestyles, Labor and Management, Philosophy, History, Marriage, and Religion. This train load of blessings comes packaged in just one Lady Princeton Tiger. Roar ! Laura dumps an ocean of rich wisdom into your lap. How can we use these insights into Wisdom, and Paul's Jewish ethics of right and wrong, good and bad ? It can only be used in 4 parts of your Life. That is, in - Relationships (at home and at community); at work (a Career, Occupation), in Material Assets (Finance, Money), and Health (Healing, Wholeness, Holistic living). So, the application of what Laura presents can only change and transform your entire LIFE ! The content. If you're looking for some New Age, whacky, way out ideas - Stay away. She is straight edge, conservative, and charismatic in a refreshing way. She understands Mainline denominations, and stays in the middle of the road. I was not disappointed. I expected to learn more about God, Life, marriage, health, and how to excel in the workplace. That's what I got. Laura is emerging as a Rock- Star of Gospels in the MOOC format.  She's a contemporary of authors and Televangelists like Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, Joyce Meyer, Janet Parshall, and Mother Angelica.  They built on earlier success of- Maria Woodworth-Etter, Aimee Semple McPherson, Anne Dutton, and Elizabeth Ann Seton, St Therese, St Catherine, Joan of Arc.   Jesus of Nazareth spent most of His life within a 100 Mile radius of Nazareth and Jerusalem. He wore a robe and sandals, taught face to face, and walked from Town to Town. Dr. Laura relentlessly proclaims her message Non-stop, 24x7, around the world, as students Logon. Laura spread the Good News around the clock at the speed of Light ! “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12) If you're hungry to discover what's inside of your Bible, register and logon. If you want to be become strong and prosperous in every aspect of your life - Dive in ! Donato en Saint Louis
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Andrew Kahr profile image
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2/10 starsDropped
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 4 months ago
I expected to see Paul's life and work, primarily through his own words and those of others of his time and slightly later, in a thoughtful and coherent perspective, with focus on key uncertainties and problems. I got virtually none of that. How did the relationship between Paul, Jerusalem, the diaspora, and the Christian/Jewish complex evolve over time? What did he preach? How did he administer the churches? What were his priorities? This course is scattered, the whole is less than the sum of its parts, and has little value.
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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.