Coordinators: Professor George Kalantzis, Associate Professor Gregory Lee
The Certificate in Early Christian studies is an interdisciplinary program that fosters the study of early Christianity as a source of wisdom for contemporary issues. It provides the most rigorous and integrative academic opportunity at Wheaton College for undergraduates to explore how theology relates to the world today.
Early Christianity is the most fertile source of theological reflection and spiritual renewal after the Bible. It marks the era of the martyrs, the monastics, the formation of orthodoxy, the conversion of the Roman Empire, and the synthesis of theology and classical learning. Christians throughout the centuries have drawn on the early church to generate new expressions of faithfulness. Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer were all students of early Christianity who appropriated its teachings and practices to face the challenges of their day. The early church continues to attract interest across Christian traditions for how it embodied intellectual creativity, spiritual vitality, and concrete action in the midst of great social and political change.
The Certificate’s academic home is the School of Biblical and Theological Studies, but it draws from several other departments, including Art, Anthropology, History, Christian Education and Ministry, Modern and Classical Languages, and Sociology. Students from any major are eligible for the Certificate.
The Certificate requires 24 total credits. All students are required to complete 2 credits of a cross-disciplinary course or experience, and to take a 4-credit seminar called Ancient Faith for the Modern World. The Certificate culminates in a 2-credit Early Christianity Senior Seminar where students will participate in the publication of annotated early Christian texts through a unique collaboration between The Wheaton Center for Early Christian Studies and a major publisher.
Academic Rigor: Wisdom and insight emerge from sustained reflection. The Center trains students to study the early church according to the highest scholarly standards.
Focus and Breadth: The Center expands students' proficiencies by concentrating their attention on a specific period of history. As students explore interconnections across a range of early Christian phenomena, they develop interdisciplinary skills and creative perspective to address contemporary issues.
Theology and Practice: The early church faced many of the same challenges Christians encounter today. By integrating action and reflection, the early church modeled how Christians can live out their faith in the present.
Human Flourishing: The goal of Christian thought and practice is life in God in all its fullness. By attending to the whole person, the early church nurtured the kind of formation Christian liberal arts also seeks to develop. The Center especially promotes the restoration of human flourishing in places of hardship and need.
Requirements for a Certificate in Early Christian Studies are 24 credits:
|BITH 371||Early Christianity: From Rome to Byzantium||4|
|or BITH 372||Historical Theology|
|BITH 346||Ancient Faith for the Modern World||4|
|BITH 491||Early Christianity Senior Seminar||2|
|To prepare for an integrative project through the Early Christianity Integration Seminar, students must complete a 2-credit cross-disciplinary course or experience. Students may fulfill this requirement through a non-BITH course, an internship, or a global or experiential opportunity. This requirement must be completed before or concurrently with the Integration Seminar. Approval is required. 1|
|Students must complete at least 4 credits in each of two areas: Doctrinal and Textual. Students may apply for the opportunity to write a thesis for 2 or 4 elective credits (BITH 499).|
|BITH 385||Triune God||4|
|BITH 388||Person and Work of Christ||4|
|BITH 389||Holy Spirit and Last Things||4|
|BITH 396||Roman Catholic Theology||4|
|BITH 398||Eastern Orthodox Theology||4|
|BITH 327||Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers||2|
|BITH 484||Thomas Aquinas||4|
|GREK 342||NT and Patristics||4|
|BITH 354||Women in the World of the NT||2|
|ARCH 325||Archaeological Field Work||4|
|or ARCH 326||Archaeological Field Work: Tel Shimron, Israel|
|ART 352||Medieval & Byzantine Art||4|
|PHIL 311||History of Philosophy - Ancient and Medieval||4|
|Other - approval required 2|
|BITH 377||Topics in Christian Thought (Doctrinal or Textual)||2|
|BITH 393||Topics in Christian Thought (Doctrinal or Textual)||4|
|BITH 489||Advanced Topics in Christian Thought (Doctrinal or Textual)||2|
|BITH 482||Advanced Topics in Christian Thought (Doctrinal or Textual)||4|
|BITH 381||Topics in Spiritual Classics (Textual)||2|
|BITH 394||Topics in Christian History (HP; Textual)||4|
|BITH 339||Topics in Perennial Theological Questions (PI; Doctrinal)||4|
|GREK 334||Advanced Koine Reading (Textual)||2,4|
|GREK 487||Topics in Greek Language and Literature (Textual)||2|
|GREK 489||Topics in Greek Language and Literature (Textual)||4|
|GREK 495||Independent Reading (Textual)||1-4|
|LATN 333||Advanced Latin Readings (Textual)||2,4|
|LATN 487||Topics in Latin Language and Literature (Textual)||2|
|LATN 489||Topics in Latin Language and Literature (Textual)||4|
|LATN 495||Independent Study (Textual)||1-4|
|PHIL 454||Historical Seminar (Textual)||2|
|PHIL 455||Historical Seminar (Textual)||4|
Students are encouraged to consider opportunities in the following contexts:
With approval of the coordinator of the Certificate program.