REL 325: History of Eastern Christianity
II: From the Fall
to the Fall of Communism
Internet Resources of General Use:
If you have a general question about a particular person, concept, etc.,
you might try these resources first to find an answer.
Schedule of Assignments and Suggested Internet Resources
Description and Objectives
subject of this course is the history of Eastern Christianity from the fall of
Constantinople in the 15th century until the fall of European Communism in the
late 20th. The first part of the class will focus on Christianity in the
Ottoman Empire, which took the place of the Byzantine Empire after the latter's
fall. The second half of the class will focus on the history of
Christianity in Russia and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Europe. In the
course of the term, students will write reflective essays on several primary
sources, each selected to represent the historical diversity of the Christian
traditions, as well as to present certain basic problems and issues from the
history of Christianity.
The Great Church in Captivity: A Study of the Patriarchate of
Constantinople from the Eve of the Turkish Conquest to the Great War,
Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-31310-4.
Pospielovsky, The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia, St.
Vladimir's Seminary Press, ISBN 0-88141-179-5.
Optional (for various paper topics - you will need
at least one)
Bacovcin, trans., The Way of a Pilgrim, Image Books, ISBN
Mastrantonis, Augsburg and Constantinople, Hellenic College
Press, ISBN 0916586820.
Oleksa, ed., Alaskan Missionary Spirituality (Blackboard).
Solovyov, The Meaning of Love, Lindisfarne Press, ISBN
of General Use
Encyclopedia Although this is an older edition (1907-12), there are many
excellent articles on many of the key people, events, concepts, etc. covered in
this class. Although the articles naturally reflect a particularly Roman
Catholic point of view, they are almost always fair and accurate. The
articles are often lengthy, but are usually worth the read.
of Theological Terms This glossary, taken from Alister McGrath's Christian
Theology (2nd edition) published by Blackwell Publishers, provides succinct
definitions for a number of theological technical terms.
Attendance at all class sessions is expected.
Since class sessions will involve a fair amount of student
discussion, students should read all the assignments carefully before
coming to class. Assignments
will generally involve about 100 pages of reading per week.
Everyone should be prepared to contribute both ideas and questions
to the class discussions. Assignments
and grading are as follows:
A. Two exams:
& 15:15 Wednesday, June 12 (60%)
B. Class attendance and
C. One 5-6 page (double-spaced: approx.
1500 words) essays (30%), chosen from the
Due 4/22. Read The
Way of a Pilgrim, 3-86 and the appended selections from the Philokalia
in the same book, 171-90 and answer the
following questions: “How does 'the Pilgrim' understand the Bible's
command to pray constantly? What sort of practices does the Pilgrim
adopt in order pray constantly? How does he understand the
relationship of prayer to other aspects of the Christian life, such as
serving others, or theology? What do you think of this
interpretation of Christianity? Do you have a different
understanding of what the command to pray constantly might mean?”
Due 5/8. Read
Mastrantonis, Augsburg and Constantinople, 31-103; 106-149 (and the
pages assigned below) and answer the following
questions: “What are the primary issues of disagreement between the
Lutherans and the Patriarch? Is there significant agreement on
certain points? Do you think that the two sides have more in common
than in dispute? Are some points of disagreement more significant
than the others? Do you sympathize with one side more than the
other? Explain your answer.”
Due 5/29. Read
Oleksa, Alaskan Missionary Spirituality, 68-72; 80-120; 132-135;
238-251; 285-340 (Blackboard) and answer the following questions:
“How would you characterize the relations between the Russian
missionaries and the native Alaskans? What is the nature of the
Christianity that the missionaries preach? To what extent to the
missionaries show respect for traditional religion? Do you see them
more as exploiters or protectors of the native peoples? Do you
observe any significant differences in the treatment of the natives by the
Russians and Americans?”
Due 6/5. Read
Solovyov, The Meaning of Love and answer the following questions:
“What is Solovyov's understanding of erotic love between humans and its
religious significance? What does erotic love have to do with
Christian faith and the relationship between God and human beings?
What do you think of Solovyov's views? What do you consider to be
the strengths and weaknesses of his position? To what degree do you
find his views compatible with the Christian tradition? Why or why
of Essay: In answering the questions, first of all,
briefly summarize the contents of the text(s) regarding the questions asked:
what do the texts say? Then, take a clear position in response to the
texts and defend it: imagine that your reader believes the opposite and that you
are trying to persuade him or her. Your assignment for this paper is to
write from a perspective outside of the traditions in question. Do not make the mistake of giving a
spiritual autobiography or a narrative of how this text relates to your own
personal spiritual life and faith. Do not make the mistake of just
dismissing the ideas of a text because you have different religious beliefs: if
you disagree, give convincing reasons why. In all instances, strive for an
impersonal and objective tone: you need to represent the contents of the text(s)
fairly and accurately and give thoughtful reasons for your response.
for this assignment is to approach and consider these religious traditions
as objects of study from the outside, NOT from the perspective of an insider,
legitimate as this perspective is in other contexts.
Even if one is a believer in a particular tradition, the purpose of
taking this class is to learn how to see and study the same phenomena from a
perspective outside of the tradition. In general, it is good to avoid
using "I," "me," "my," "we,"
"our," "you", "your" (except in quotations of
course); you should give your opinions, but write them using the third person.
Also, while you should cite examples from the texts, be sure to explain and
contextualize any quotations made, and be sure that your own voice is not lost
in a sea of quotations. All quotations must be identified as such, and
references to the text should be given parenthetically either as a page number
or section number, as appropriate. Take care to write correctly and well:
you will be graded for grammar and style as well as content. Finally,
please number your pages. For extra help and advice on writing your paper,
University Teaching and Learning Center in the basement of PLC is an invaluable
Expectations and Regulations
1. Preparation: You are expected to come
to class having completed the reading assignments for that session. You
should be prepared to discuss and ask questions about the assignments.
Note also that some material from the readings that is not covered in class
may be included on the examinations.
2. Participation and Class Attendance: You should come
to class prepared to ask questions and to discuss the readings for that
session. Regular class attendance is required, and attendance will
be taken. If you expect to miss class doe to illness, observance
of religious holy days, or other extenuating circumstances, please notify
the instructor in advance at sshoemak (at) uoregon (dot) edu.
3. Late Papers: Unless an extension has been arranged in
advance, late papers will be marked down one full letter grade for each
day after the due date. Late papers will not be accepted more than
three days after the due date.
4. Make-up or Early Exams: will be allowed only
in truly exceptional
circumstances, in the case of unforeseeable events beyond the
student’s control and must be approved by the instructor in advance.
5. Plagiarism or Cheating: Plagiarism or Cheating: Students caught plagiarizing
or cheating on any assignment will be reported to the Student Conduct
Coordinator in the Office of the Dean of Students. Students who
are aware of cheating or plagiarism are encouraged to inform the instructor.
If you are uncertain as to what constitutes plagiarism (or other forms of
academic dishonesty), please consult this helpful guide from the UO library
as well as the UO's Policy
on Academic Dishonesty.
6. Completion of Assignments: Completion of all required
assignments is necessary to pass and receive
credit for the course. Incompletes will be granted only at the discretion
of the instructor and only in case of circumstances beyond the student's
7. Special Needs: Students with special needs requiring
academic accommodations should 1) register with and provide documentation to Disability
Services; 2) bring a letter to
the instructor indicating that you need academic accommodations,
and we will arrange to meet them.
This should be done during the first week of class.
Read: Runciman, 3-18; Pospielovsky, 1-14
4/3 The Fall of Constantinople
Read: Runciman, 18-37; 75-81;
112-61; Patriarch Anthony: Defending
the Position of the Emperor, 1395
4/8 Constantinople and Istanbul
Read: Runciman, 165-225; The
Status of Jews and Christians in Muslim Lands; James M. Ludlow: The
Tribute of Children, 1493
4/10 NO CLASS - Instructor away for
4/15 Constantinople and Rome
Read: Runciman, 81-111; 226-37; The
Council of Florence (selections)
Constantinople and Wittenberg
Read: Runciman, 238-58; Mastrantonis, Augsburg and Constantinople,
289-306; 308-14 (Blackboard)
4/22 Constantinople and Geneva
Runciman, 259-88; Cyril Loukaris, Confession
Read: Runciman, 289-319; Selected
Correspondence between the Nonjuring English Bishops and the Eastern
4/29 Constantinople and Moscow
Read: Pospielovsky, 15-50; 81-84; Russian Primary
Christianisation of Russia
5/6 Moscow and Rome
Read: Pospielovsky, 84-103; Filofei: Moscow as
the Third Rome; Peter Moghila, Orthodox Confession (selections)
5/8 Divisions and Schisms in the
Early Russian Church
Read: Pospielovsky, 50-55; 57-77; Life
of the Archpriest Avvakum (selections)
5/13 Church and State in Imperial Russia
Read: Pospielovsky, 105-30; 133-54;
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, Pt
II, Bk 6, Ch 3; Nikolai Berdyaev, A.
S. Khomyakov as
5/15 Contacts with the West: Missions
Read: Pospielovsky, 154-57; 159-86; The
Life of St Herman of Alaska; Alexei Khomiakov, Second
Letter to William Palmer
5/20 The Russian Renaissance and the
End of the Empire
Read: Pospielovsky, 186-89; 191-215;
Overview Of Russian Philosophy; Outlines
of Four Major Thinkers' Ideas; Fyodor Dostoevsky, The
Grand Inquisitor; Alexei Khomiakov, Third
Letter to William Palmer
5/22 The Old Believer Communities of
Oregon & Eastern Christianity in the US
History of Oregon's Old Believer Community; John Erickson, Orthodox
Christians in America, 54-101 (Blackboard)
5/27 NO CLASS - Memorial Day
5/29 The Bolshevik Revolution and the
Read: Pospielovsky, 219-66; Letter
from Lenin to Molotov; From
the Lives of the Newly Canonized Martyrs; Letter
from Gorky to Stalin
6/3 The Russian Church and the Second
the Cold War
Read: Pospielovsky, 269-310; Speech
of M. G. Karpov at Council of the Orthodox Church, 1945
Read: Pospielovsky, 313-49