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The Spread of Christianity 

September 17, 2018 
7:00 p.m.
Rochester College Auditorium
Presenter: Dr. Jamey Walters

Why did Christianity succeed in the Roman Empire? How did this movement, which began with a small group of disciples who had dedicated their lives to following the teachings of a Jewish peasant who was crucified as an insurrectionist against the Roman Empire, ultimately become so widespread and popular that it would be adopted as the official religion of the Empire? It is obvious from surviving historical data that Christianity grew exponentially in its first few centuries, but it is not obvious how or why it grew so quickly. Scholars of early Christianity have been writing about this problem for quite some time, yet the answer remains a highly-disputed issue.

In this presentation, I will provide a survey of the major theories that have been proposed regarding the rise of the Christian movement, as well as the historical and methodological problems that make this question so difficult to answer.

 

Art and Apocalypse

October 22, 2018 
7:00 p.m.
Rochester College Auditorium
Presenter: Dr. Catherine Parker

If modern civilization as we know it– internet, mass transit, international commerce, electricity –came to an end, what stories should be held on to, and what remnants of culture should be passed on? In New York Times bestselling novel, Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel depicts a world 20 years after 99% of the human of the population has been wiped out by a superbug. Amid the chaos and struggle for survival, the novel follows a small traveling band of symphony players and actors performing Shakespeare, and a young woman’s search for the origin of a mysterious comic book. Stories have played a central role in all societies throughout history. To learn about people who lived in the past, we examine their art and read their poetry. Even as technology has changed the world in almost every other way . . . perhaps the humanities are still what make us human after all!