The HarvardX Course, “Early Christianity: The Letters of Paul” is available for free, following registration for the course. It is taught by Laura Nasrallah, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity. You may register either as an auditor (to merely read the materials and watch the lectures) or to receive a certificate by completing the tests. In either case, you have “complete access to all of the course material, tests, and the online discussion forum”.
The course is available from January 6, 2014.
The course “Early Christianity: The Letters of Paul” explores the context of these letters in the Roman Empire and the impact of these powerful texts today.
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.