Celebrating Biblical and Messianic Feasts in Early Christian Traditions and the Orthodox Churches
SB HIST 201
Course Instructor: Dr. Petra Heldt
Class Times: The course will be presented in 12 sessions on Wednesdays between the dates 8 March 2023 and 14 June 2023 at 16:30-19:00 PM Israel Time (9:30 AM -12:00 Noon Eastern Time).
The sessions will be recorded and made available in the days following the classes for those who cannot make the live sessions.
This course will investigate the development of the Christian feast calendar celebrating God’s history with mankind. In view of the progressing Biblical and Messianic feasts in the early Church period the course will explore the relations between Rabbinic, proto-Christian and orthodox Christian traditions in the first centuries after the destruction of the Second Temple. The course will investigate the claim that Jewish traditions of Biblical feasts often are preserved in Eastern Orthodox Church traditions. Middle Eastern Churches took leading roles in the development of Biblical feasts celebrated in the early Church, like Pascha and Pentecost, and extra Biblical feasts, like Good Friday, Epiphany and Christmas. The course will look into Western Protestant celebrations of Biblical and Messianic feasts and their relations with those rich traditions.
- Students will be able to read the main Christian feasts through the lenses of their origins in the Jewish and Early Church traditions.
- Students will become familiar with Jewish literature of the Second Temple period and of the following Jewish and Christian periods.
- Students will reflect on the (inter-)dependence of major Biblical feast practices in Jewish and Christian developments.
- Students will gain insights into misconceptions of those feasts during some periods of Western Christian practice.
- Students will take a close view on the preservation of Jewish and Christian feast practices since the Second Temple until today.
- Students will gain a new perspective of the theological relevance of Christian feasts and their importance for the growth of the Church.
- Students will gain tools for renewing feast practices on the basis of the origins of the Biblical and Messianic feasts in the Jewish and Early Church tradition.
Course Requirements (for credit):
- Students are required to participate in the 12 weekly seminar sessions.
- Students are requested to actively participate in classroom discussions.
- Students are obliged to take the Midterm Test (due 26 April, 2023).
- Students are expected to complete a 10-page research paper (due 14 June 2023).
*Jerusalem Seminary (JS) courses are engagingly academic and taught by experts in their field living in Israel. While JS’ courses are not externally accredited, they can be taken for internal JS credit. Any internal JS credit will accrue and at a later time would hopefully, through articulation agreements and accreditation bodies, receive official accreditation; a process that JS has begun.