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Ancient Heresies Assignment

In the early days of the Church, it took a long time, even centuries, for the Church to discern what would eventually become Church teaching. During those periods, multiple churches would exist in the same cities and towns, each espousing what they believed was correct teaching.

Assignment in brief

You and a classmate will research a particular heresy, what the Christian Church ultimately discerned was an erroneous belief about Jesus, the Trinity, Mary, and/or Christian practice. Both partners will research details about this heresy, then each will create a separate video advertisement for a local parish church. One partner will take the position of the person or group espousing the belief that the Church eventually decided was heretical, and the other partner will take the position of Church teaching.

Your assignment is to present a debate with a partner to persuade people to join your parish church.


1. Choose a partner and sign up for a particular heresy before class Friday, March 25th.

2. Note-taking handout: Due before class Thursday, March 31st: 30-point assignment

Answer the questions in the “Note-Taking Handout.” This is a separate Word document and is found in that assignment on Teams. You will find at least four resources from the library that give you information about your heresy. The librarians have created a Libguide that will help you find sources. At the end of this note-taking worksheet, be sure to answer the questions that sum up the heresy and what the Church ultimately decided about this issue.

Each partner will submit a separate note-taking handout, but you may work together to gather your information. Each partner will be graded separately.

3. In-class debate: held Wednesday, April 6th: 40-point assignment (20 notes; 20 oral)

You and your partner will debate the issue in class on April 6th. One partner will present the viewpoint of the person or group espousing the heresy, and the other partner will present the viewpoint of what is now Church teaching. In your debate, play the part of a particular person who was a leading figure advocating that viewpoint.


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