After 2,000 years, Christianity is the world's largest religion and continues to prosper and grow. What accounts for its continued popularity?
In these twenty-four lectures, Professor Johnson maintains that the most familiar aspects of Christianity-its myths, institutions, ideas and morality-are only its outer husk. He takes you on a journey to find the kernel of Christianity's appeal: religious experience. You'll travel back to Christianity's origins during its first 300 years to identify the elements that first made it appealing and which still hold the secret to its ability to attract new followers.
Professor Johnson employs scholarly techniques that have only recently been applied to religion. In introducing early Christian religious experience, Professor Johnson looks at questions that are new and intellectually exciting in the study of religion. Was Christ the founder of Christianity? Was Christianity's early growth due to his life and works or to his followers' powerful experience of his death and resurrection, their sense of having been transformed by the Holy Spirit?
By combining such disciplines as history, the social sciences, and comparative literary analysis, you'll look at religious experience and behavior from a fresh perspective. You'll consider a variety of theories developed by the philosophers Alfred North Whitehead and Immanuel Kant, Emil Durkheim, the founder of sociology, and Sigmund Freud. And to better understand religious experience in Christianity, you'll also study it in the two religions with which early Christianity co-existed: Greco-Roman paganism and Judaism.
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