00555 - Ancient Christian Literature

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The course leads the student to know ancient Christian Literature in its historical development, and in its connection with jewish and graeco-roman tradition and with literary genres. The student will learn how to read and analyze ancient Christian texts.

Course contents

Forms, characters, and historical development of early Christian Literature between Ist and IInd century.

The course aims at presenting the many forms and characters of early Christian Literature as a literary and theological workshop of Christianity in its beginnings; both 'orthodox' and 'heretical' authors and texts will be considered, from the 'Apostolic Fathers' to the gnostic, Marcionite and Montanist movements.

– First module of the course (30 hours): general introduction; Letter to Philippians by Polycarp; Shepherd of Hermas; Gospel of Truth; Letter to Flora by Ptolemy; Irenaeus' Aduersus haereses; the fragments of Montanist oracles.

– Second module (30 hours): Didachè, Letter of Barnabas, Letters of Ignatius of Antioch; the Martyrdom of Polycarp; the fragments of Marcion.

 

Readings/Bibliography

1) Texts:

a) (anthology of Christian texts [I-II centuries]):

M. SIMONETTI – E. PRINZIVALLI (a c. di), Seguendo Gesù: testi cristiani delle origini, I-II,
Milano, Mondadori 2010-2015

A.A.R. BASTIAENSEN (a c. di), Atti e passioni dei martiri, Milano, Mondadori 1987

b) (anthology of gnostic Christian texts):

M. SIMONETTI (a c. di), Testi gnostici cristiani, Bari, Laterza 1970;

T. ORLANDI (a c. di), Evangelium Veritatis, Brescia, Paideia 1992;

– A. von Harnack, Marcione, Genova-Milano, Marietti 2007, pp. 141-164;

Montanist oracles (unpublished Italian translation, to be uploaded to teaching materials).

2) Studies:

a) (Handbook of Early Christian Literature):

– M. SIMONETTI-E. PRINZIVALLI, Letteratura Cristiana Antica, EDB, Bologna 2010 (solo le pp.: 11-54; 79-100; 103-224; 502-519; 531-556.

b) (general introduction to authors and writings of the 2nd century):

– C. MORESCHINI – E. NORELLI, Storia della letteratura cristiana antica greca e latina. Vol. 1: Da Paolo all’età costantiniana, Morcelliana, Brescia 1995 (solo le pp.: 161-174; 188-196; 237-283; 311-317; 325-383);

– M. SIMONETTI, Ortodossia ed eresia tra I e II secolo, Rubbettino, Messina 1994 (solo le pp.: 11-46; 101-140; 291-331).

Teaching methods

Lectures; use of bibliographic and electronic databases.

Assessment methods

Oral exam. In order to pass the test students must:

a) demonstrate full acquaintance with the texts read during the course;

b) identify the main features of apocalyptic literature in its historical development, from the Old Testament to intertestamentary literature, up to the writings of the New Testament (gospels, letters), and especially the book of Revelation;

c) describe the main lines of forms and development of Christian literature in the first two centuries.

Students can frequent both modules (12 cfu), or only one module (6 cfu) at their choice.

1st module (30 hours, 6 cfu);

for students who frequent the lessons:

- the handbook (see over, Studi, point [a]);

- the texts commented and the teaching notes concerning:

– the Letter to Philippians by Polycarp (in: Seguendo Gesù I, pp. 35-50; see Bibliography, texts [a]);

– the Shepherd of Hermas (in: Seguendo Gesù II, pp. 221-489; see Bibliography, texts [a]),

– the Gospel of Truth, see Bibliography, texts [b]),

– the Letter to Flora by Ptolemy (in: Evangelium Veritatis (in: Testi gnostici cristiani, pp. 169-177; see Bibliography, texts [b]),

– information on Valentinus, apud Irenaeus' Aduersus haereses (in: Testi gnostici cristiani, pp. 178-208; see Bibliography, texts [b]),

Martyrdom of Polycarp (in: A.A.R. BASTIAENSEN (a c. di), Atti e passioni dei martiri, Milano, Mondadori 1987, pp.

fragments of Montanist oracles (see Bibliography, texts [b]).

– 2nd module (30 hours, 6 cfu);

for students who frequent the lessons:

- the handbook (see over, Studi, point [a]);

Didachè (in: Seguendo Gesù I, pp. 53-78; see Bibliography, texts [a]);

Letter of Barnabas (in: Seguendo Gesù II, pp. 113-178; see Bibliography, texts [a]);

Letters of Ignatius of Antioch (in: Seguendo Gesù I, pp. 345-428; see Bibliography, texts [a]);

– the Martyrdom of Polycarp (in: Atti e passioni dei martiri, pp. 6-31; see Bibliography, texts [a]);

fragments of Marcion's writings see Bibliography, texts [b]).

 

For students who cannot attend lessons the program will be the same as for students who attend lessons; they will substitute lesson notes with two essays at choice (one module, 6 cfu), or with four essays at choice (two modules, 12 cfu), from the list given below (to be uploaded on teaching materials):

– J. CARLETON-PAGET, The Epistle of Barnabas and the Writings that Later Formed the New Testament, in The Reception of the New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers, ed. by Andrew Gregory and Christopher Tuckett, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2005, 229-249;

– M. DELL’ISOLA, Il dibattito esegetico su vera e falsa profezia in Epiph. Pan. 48.: la costruzione eresiologica del fenomeno profetico montanista, Adamantius 21 (2015) 195-210;

– C. GIANOTTO, L’uso delle scritture in Marcione e negli gnostici, Ricerche Storico-Bibliche 19/2 (2007) 261-273;

– H.O. MAIER, From Material Place to Imagined Space: Emergent Christian Community as Thirdspace in the Shepherd of Hermas, in Christian Communities in the Second Century: Between Ideal and Reality, ed. by M. Grundken and J. Verheyden, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2015, 66-89;

– E. NORELLI, Il problema delle fonti ecclesiastiche di Ireneo: alcune considerazioni e un esempio, in Consonantia salutis: studi su Ireneo di Lione, a cura di E. Cattaneo – L. Longobardo, Il Pozzo di Giacobbe, Trapani 2005, 25-60;

– E. PRINZIVALLI, La Prima Lettera di Clemente ai Corinzi e il cristianesimo romano, Ricerche Storico-Bibliche 23/2 (2011) 125-144;

– M. SIMONETTI, ΨΥΧΗ e ΨΥΧΙΚΟΣ nella gnosi valentiniana, Rivista di Storia e Letteratura Religiosa 2 (1966) 1-47 (ristampato in Ortodossia ed eresia, cit., 141-198).

Teaching tools

Projector; PC.

Office hours

See the website of Antonio Cacciari

See the website of Daniele Tripaldi