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Religion V3418y, Spring 1995
Professor Alexandros (Alexander) Alexakis, x43218

Week 1


Wed. 01/18 Some definitions. (Orthodox Christianity in space and time and other issues)

Required Reading:

C. Mango, Chapter I (pp. 13-31) (Xerox)

T. Ware, Orthodox Church, Introduction (pp. 1-8)

J. Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology, Introduction (pp. 1-13)

Primary Source (recommended): Cyril of Jerusalem, Prokatechesis and Catechetical Lectures I-IV.

Week 2
The Period of Formation I


Mon. 01/23 I. The Common Ground of Western and Eastern Christianity.

Required Reading:

J. Pelikan, The Christian Tradition I (pp. 332-357) (Xerox)

------------ The Christian Tradition II (pp. 148-170)


Wed. 01/25 II. The Ecumenical Councils.

Required Reading:

T. Ware, Orthodox Church, (pp. 18-35)

J. Pelikan, The Christian Tradition II (pp. 37-61)

Primary Source: Cyril of Alexandria, Letters 2, 4, 6, 7, and 11 to Nestorius (pp. 34- 36; 38-42; 49-50; 80-92). (Xerox)

Week 3
The Period of Formation II


Mon. 01/30 III. The Ecumenical Councils (cont.)

Required Reading:

J. Pelikan, The Christian Tradition II (pp. 62-90)

J. Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology (pp. 32-41)

Primary Source: The Synodicon Vetus (pp. 29; 69-71; 81; 104; 116-118) (Xerox)


Wed. 02/01 IV. Iconoclasm

Required Reading:

J. Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology (pp. 42-53)

J. Pelikan, The Christian Tradition II, (pp. 91-145)

Primary Source: The Synodicon Vetus (pp. 122-132) (Xerox)

Instructions for the First Essay

Week 4
The Age of Photios


Mon. 02/06 V. Later Councils-Photios

Required Reading:

F. Dvornik, "The Patriarch Photius and Iconoclasm," in Dumbarton Oaks Papers 7 (1953), (pp. 67-97) (Xerox)

Primary Source: Photius, The Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit, translated by J.-P. Farell, (Brookline, Mass., 1987).


Wed. 02/08 VI. The Christianization of Slavs

VII. Rome and Constantinople from 7th to 11th c.

Required Reading:

J. Hussey, Orthodox Church (pp. 90-101)

S. Runciman (pp. 1-54)

Week 5
The Byzantine Church


Mon. 02/13 VIII. Rome and Constantinople from 11th to 15th c.

Required Reading:

J. Hussey, Orthodox Church (pp. 167-183)

J. Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology (pp. 91-102)


Wed. 02/15 IX. The Byzantine Church after 1261. Internal Problems and Solutions.

Required Reading:

J. Hussey, Orthodox Church (pp. 220-295)

J. Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology (pp. 103-114)

Week 6
The Emperor and the Patriarch


Mon. 02/20 X. Church and State from 6th to 9th c.

Required Reading:

J. Hussey, Orthodox Church (pp. 13-44; 69-90)

H. Magoulias, Byzantine Christianity: Emperor, Church and the West, (Chicago, 1970), (pp. 1-16)

Primary Source (Suggested), D.S. White and J.R. Berringan, The Patriarch and the Prince: The Letter of Patriarch Photios of Constantinople to Khan Boris of Bulgaria, (Brookline, Mass., 1982)


Wed. 02/22 XI. Church and State from 10th to 15th c.

Required Reading:

J. Hussey, Orthodox Church (pp. 102-116)

Primary Source (Suggested), P. Karlin-Hayter, Vita Euthymii Patriarchae CP, (Brussels, 1970), (pp. 66-142)


Week 7
Mon. 02/27 Written Exam


Wed. 03/01 Orthodox Church in Byzantium, Organization

Required Reading:

J. Hussey, Orthodox Church (pp. 297-335)

Week 8
Life in Church


Mon. 03/06 Orthodox Liturgy and Sacraments

Required Reading:

T. Ware, Orthodox Church (pp. 264-297)

J. Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology, (pp. 191-211)

R. Taft, "How Liturgies grow: The Evolution of the Byzantine 'Divine Liturgy'", in Orientalia Christiana Periodica 43, (1977), 355-378, (Xerox).

First Essay Due in Class



Wed. 03/08 Orthodox Liturgy and Sacraments (cont.)

Orthodox Church and Education

Required Reading:

C. Walter, Art and Ritual of the Byzantine Church, (London, 1982), (pp. 121-136; 184- 196). (Xerox)

Primary Source, (Suggested): N. Kabasilas, A Commentary on the Divine Liturgy, trans. by J.M. Hussey and P.A. McNulty (London, 1960).

Instructions for the Second Essay


March 12-19: Spring Holiday

Week 9
Byzantine Monasticism


Mon. 03/20 Byzantine Monasticism until Iconoclasm

Required Reading:

C. Mango (pp. 105-124) (Xerox)

Alice-Mary Talbot, "An Introduction to Byzantine Monasticism", Illinois Classical Studies XII.2 (1987), 229-241. (Xerox)

Primary Source: Athanasius of Alexandria, Life of St. Antony, Trans. by R. C. Gregg (New York-Toronto, 1980)


Wed. 03/22 Major Byzantine Monastic Communities after Iconoclasm

Required Reading:

P. Charanis, "The Monk as an Element of Byzantine Society," Dumbarton Oaks Papers 25 (1971), 61-84. (Xerox)

Week 10
Byzantine Church and Heresy


Mon. 03/27 From Arius to Iconoclasm,
Required Reading:

C. Mango (pp. 88-104) (Xerox)

(Suggested) J. Gouillard, "L'heresie dans l'Empire byzantin des origines au XIIe siècle," in Travaux et Mémoires I (1965), (pp. 299-324). (Xerox)


Wed. 03/29 Iconoclasm and later (especially dualistic) Heresies

Required Reading:

P. Alexander, "Religious Persecution and Resistance in the Byzantine Empire of the Eighth and Ninth Centuries: Methods and Justifications," in Speculum 52 (1977), 238-264.

N.G. Garsoian, "Byzantine Heresy, A Reinterpretation," Dumbarton Oaks Papers 25 (1971), 85-113.

Week 11
Orthodox Tradition I


Mon. 04/03 I. Definitions and Content

Required Reading:

T. Ware, Orthodox Church (pp. 195-207)


Mon. 04/05 II. Orthodox Tradition, Particular Aspects: The Fathers and their Works

(No required reading for this session, but one is expected to take detailed notes during the lecture).

Week 12
Orthodox Tradition II


Mon. 04/10 III. Orthodox Tradition, Particular Aspects: Canon Law

Required Reading:

J. Hussey, Orthodox Church (304-310)

I.M. Konidaris, "The Ubiquity of Canon Law," in Law and Society in Byzantium, Ninth-Twelfth Centuries, (Washington D.C., 1994) (pp. 131-150) (Xerox).

N.N. Afanasiev, "The Canons of the Church: Changeable or Unchangeable?," in St. Vladimir's Seminary Quarterly 11 (1967), 54-68


Wed. 04/12 IV. Orthodox Tradition, Particular Aspects: Icons

Required Reading:

G.B. Landner, "The Concept of the Image in the Greek Fathers and the Byzantine Iconoclastic Controversy," Dumbarton Oaks Papers 7, (1953), (pp. 1-34)

(Suggested): E. Kitzinger, "The Cult of Images in the Age Before Iconoclasm," Dumbarton Oaks Papers 8 (1954), (pp. 83-150)

Primary Source: St. Theodore the Studite, On the Holy Icons

Second Essay Due in Class

Week 13
Orthodox Mysticism


Mon. 04/17 Orthodox Mysticism before the 14th century

Required Reading:

N. Arseniew, Mysticism and the Eastern Church, (London, 1926), (pp. 17-61),

J. Pelikan, The Christian Tradition II (pp. 254-270)


Wed. 04/19 Hesychasm

Required Reading:

J. Romanides, "Notes on the Palamite Controversy and Related Topics," in Greek Orthodox Theological Review 6, (1960/61), (pp. 186-205); 9 (1963/64), (pp. 225-270).

Week 14


Mon. 04/24 Final Note: The Orthodox Church after Byzantium.

Required Reading:

T. Ware, Orthodox Church (pp. 87-144)

Wed. 04/26 Orthodoxy Today (an Outline).

Mon. 05/01 Final Review


Final Exam: To be announced.

Required Books:

J.M. Hussey, The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire, (Oxford, 1990)

J. Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology, Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes, (New York, 1979)

J. Pelikan, The Christian Tradition II, The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700).(Chicago, 1974)

T. Ware, The Orthodox Church, (Penguin Books, London-New York, 1993).



Required readings must be read with much attention. However, class participation is essential and the reading of the assigned texts is only supplementary to the material imparted in class.

Two essays, four to five pages in length, typed in double space. Instructions will be given in class.

The final grade will be based on the two essays, the two exams, and your class preparation and participation. The particular essays and exams will contribute to your final grade as follows:


First essay: 15%
Second essay: 15%
First Exam: 30%
Final Exam: 30%
Class participation: 10%


Copyright 1996, Alexander Alexakis

This syllabus is presented on Byzantium: The Byzantine Studies Page.



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