Under Caesar's Sword: Christians in Response to Persecution

Next Session: Aug 26, 2024

Christians around the world suffer persecution at the hands of both state and non-state actors. Some analysts have documented the global persecution of Christians, but few have asked what Christians actually do in response. Under Caesar’s Sword researchers have studied the character of these responses in twenty-five countries around the world in addition to “The West.” The project seeks to achieve a better understanding of these responses in order to assist persecuted Christians and those who wish to act in solidarity with them. This course was created by the Under Caesar's Sword project, which is co-sponsored by the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at Notre Dame and the Religious Freedom Institute.

Course Content

Unit 1: Introduction and Overview

Unit 2: A Theological Exploration of Persecution and Martyrdom

Unit 3: Religious Freedom and Strategies for Resisting Persecution

Unit 4: Responses to Persecution

Unit 5: Solidarity, Theirs and Ours


Course Format

  • Six weeks in duration, with one week for orientation.
  • Typically 15-20 students in each course.
  • All readings available online in text format.
  • Supplemental readings are provided to encourage further exploration of topic, internet links provided for all readings.
  • Written assignments (200-250 words) required.
  • Facilitator-moderated Zoom sessions with students in the course.

Required Texts

  • All course materials are available online in the course.

Participation Requirements

  • Listen to the lecture for each unit.
  • Read assigned texts; keep notes, questions, and comments for class discussion.
  • Participate in the class discussion using the Forums area: post at least 2 comments, questions, or responses per unit.
  • Respond to the assignment in each unit.
  • Participate in at least 3 scheduled Zoom sessions throughout the course.
  • Complete the course evaluation.

Time Expectations

4 to 6 hours per week, depending on your learning style and schedule.

Course Certificate

A certificate of completion awarding 30 contact hours will be sent upon completion of all course requirements.

Dr. Daniel Philpott

Dr. Daniel Philpott

Daniel Philpott is Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. Major themes in Philpott's work include reconciliation in global politics, religious freedom, the role of the Catholic Church in global politics, and sovereignty and the justice of self-determination. He has held fellowships at Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Virginia, the Erasmus Institute at Notre Dame, the Hertie School of Governance, and the Wissenschaftzentrum Berlin, with the latter two on a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.