Document Type


Publication Date



This course is intended to introduce students to the dynamic tradition of Christianity. The course articulates and unpacks a working definition of tradition, which provides students with a framework for exploring the diversity and unity, as well as the continuity and change that have characterized the historical development and everyday practice of Christianity. At the foundation of this definition are the following elements: (1) authoritative voices and texts, (2) core beliefs, (3) historical development and change, (4) community, and (5) practices. In addition to the text book, the course utilizes fiction, film, music, contemporary news articles, and podcasts to explore each of these dimensions of Christianity. Most importantly, each student is encouraged to reflect critically and openly on the contemporary cultural, academic, and personal relevance of Christianity, regardless of her or his personal religious beliefs or academic focus.

The “Photographic Essay and Presentation” project allowed students to choose either to explore several important religious sites in Philadelphia or to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Students were placed in small groups (3-4 students) according to the option they chose. Each option included the following elements: a photographic documentation of the small-group trip, focusing on elements provided in the assignment description for the option students chose; a group Power Point presentation of their photographs, observations, and reflections to the rest of the class; and a 1-2 page personal essay written by each student individually.

Included in

Christianity Commons