Take this free online class from Yale on the history of Christianity


The course covers the story of the Church from its persecution under the Roman Empire to its global expansion with the Jesuits.

The continuing coronavirus crisis presents the perfect opportunity to take one of the many free university-level courses that are offered online.

One such course that has caught our eye is “A Journey through Western Christianity: From Persecuted Faith to Global Religion (200-1650). Offered by Yale University through the Coursera website, the 11-week course surveys the history of the Church from its early persecution under the Roman Empire to its global expansion in the early modern era. One caveat: this is not Church history taught by the Church, but is meant for a broader audience.

Taught by Bruce Gordon, Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the Yale Divinity School, the class, made up of video lectures, readings and quizzes, takes about 46 hours to complete. Deadlines are flexible and can be adjusted to work with the student’s schedule.

Here’s an outline of the course, taken from the syllabus:

Week 1: Introduction: From Persecution to Empire

Week 2: Augustine and the North African Church

Week 3: Monastic Lives: Desert Fathers to Celtic Christianity

Week 4: Reformers and Crusaders

Week 5: Learning and Light

Week 6: Three Religions: Christians, Jews & Muslims in Medieval Spain

Week 7: Medieval Devotion

Week 8: Luther’s Reformation

Week 9: Fragmenting Reformation

Week 10: Catholic Reform

Week 11: Jesuits and Missions

To register for the free course visit the Coursera website here.

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