The prof was talking about starting at the beginning and how it's hard because he keeps wanting to go farther back, to explain how we got to the beginning, and he was talking about Augustus and bladdy blah and I was so conscious of how this is a history class and I am not a history person particularly. Reflecting later, I thought that if it were a religion/theology class and he kept backtracking to give us an understanding of the religious context Jesus would have grown up/traveled in, I probably would have been all about it.
However, sometimes I am glad this is not a theology class, because people are stupid and I only wanna be in theology classes if they're with people who are at least as smart/educated as I am. (I am okay with feeling way out of my depth and wanting to cram reading to catch up to everyone's background knowledge -- though of course it's not my favorite feeling in the world.) The prof asked about what Jesus taught -- and I actually should e-mail him about this because it was a poorly executed part of the evening, especially since it's a history rather than a theology class -- and this one girl (named Nicole, but not my Nicole) said blah blah blah equal rights activist, and I winced. She went on to say that she had read something about how you couldn't just have a dozen guys traveling around because they would look like attackers, so there must have been women and children with them, and thus her reading of Jesus as an equal rights activist. I don't even know where to begin with the problematics and logical failings in that.
Talking about the incident at Caesarea, the prof noted that the opposition doesn't get wholly written out of the narrative. That in itself could have turned into a long conversation about purpose of the canon, with literary, historical, and theological perspectives, but I restrained myself. I did raise my hand a few times during class, though, and am getting a better feel for the kinds of stuff he wants to talk about so I can better prepare for class.
He mentioned a number of times that Christianity did not keep its rites secret (this was one of its selling points) and I thought of the bit in Frederica Mathewes-Green's book At the Corner of East and Now: A Modern Life in Ancient Christian Orthodoxy (which I finished reading in January of last year and still have not posted about!) about sacraments behind closed doors and such, which makes me curious about how there came to be divergent traditions. (And yes, I know this begs for a snarky remark about how the Roman Catholic Church evolved into a very secretive kind of thing where only certain persons had secret knowledge/power.)
Another note from class: 5th century or later is first depiction from within the community of the crucified Christ. I'd be interested in learning more about that.