For good and ill, Christianity has profoundly shaped western civilisation, our lives, and even the workings of our minds. You don’t have to believe for that to be so. Even in post-Christian times, the preaching of Jesus and Paul, the struggles of Augustine and Luther, the convictions of Lydia and Newton are in the air we breathe.
So what exactly is Christianity? Who were its key architects? How did it achieve its massive impact? Post-Christian times are very good times to assess this great tradition, and the enigmatic figure of Jesus at its heart, as you are invited to do in A History of Christianity in Eleven Short Chapters.
Your teacher is Dr Mark Vernon, broadcaster, author and therapist. Mark also runs the ancient and modern philosophy courses at the Idler Academy. Mark is a wonderful communicator who knows his subject inside out.
The course includes eleven video lessons, lasting around 15 minutes each, handy pdf notes with further reading material and access to the community forum, where you can pose questions to Mark.
Chapter 1: A New Awakening – Paul and the birth of a Jewish sect
Chapter 2: The God-Fearer – Lydia, the first Christian in Europe
Chapter 3: A City In the Desert – Evagrius and a map of inner life
Chapter 4: An Age of Tumult – Augustine and the art of confession
Chapter 5: Enemy At the Gates – Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle and Islam
Chapter 6: A Golden Age – Marsilio Ficino and Renaissance recovery
Chapter 7: Protesting Corruption – Martin Luther and runaway reform
Chapter 8: The Last of the Magicians – Isaac Newton and Christianity’s science-child
Chapter 9: The Power of Humiliation – The Christian origins of fundamentalism
Chapter 10: Charity and Positive Thinking – Oprah and mass Christianity today
Chapter 11: The Man at the Centre – Who was Jesus?
About the tutor
Dr Mark Vernon is a psychotherapist with a private practice in London, as well as working at the Maudsley Hospital. He is also a writer, broadcaster and teacher. He has a PhD in philosophy, and degrees in theology and physics. His most recent books include – The Idler Guide To Ancient Philosophy (Idler Books), Love: All That Matters (Hodder) and Jung: How To Believe (Guardian Shorts) – and he has books on friendship, belief and the good life too. Mark contributes regularly to publications in the UK, including the Guardian and Church Times, and also broadcasts on the BBC. He began his professional life as a priest in the Church of England. For more visit, www.markvernon.com.