CH501 - Christianity in History to 1550
2,280 Standard Tuition Fee
Learning outcomesOn successful completion of this unit, students will
Know and understand
1. Those major phases and developments in the history of Christianity identified in the unit content.
2. The life and thought of selected key figures in the history of Christianity.
3. Interpretations and uses of selected phases, developments and key figures.
Be able to
1. Discuss the impact of the social, political and cultural context on Christian beliefs, practices and movements.
2. Evaluate historical evidence using primary and secondary sources.
3. Present an analytical evidence-based argument or narrative.
4. Discuss interpretations of the period.
Be in a position to
1. Inform their theological studies with perspectives from this period of Christian history.
2. Apply perspectives from this period to current issues in ministry and the contemporary world.
3. Evaluate interpretations of the period.
Section A: The Church in Imperial Rome
1. Christians in society: the spread of Christianity to 312
Justin Martyr OR Tertullian
2. The challenge of other religions and ideologies, especially Judaism and Gnosticism.
Irenaeus OR Athenagoras.
3. Caesar: enemy or friend? Decius, Diocletian, Constantine.
Pliny & Trajan OR Cyprian.
4. Wrestling with the faith: Origen, Arianism, Chalcedon
Origen OR Athanasius.
5. Worship and popular religion in a collapsing society: 4th and 5th century trends: asceticism, pilgrimage, liturgy, icons.
Augustine of Hippo.
Section B: The Church as Christendom
6. The conversion of Europe 600–900. The Holy Roman Empire.
Boniface of Crediton OR Alcuin of York.
7. Christendom triumphant: the Western church in the 13th and 14th centuries. The development of scholasticism.
Innocent III OR Thomas Aquinas.
8. Byzantium, Islam and the Crusades.
9. Christendom challenged; protest and spiritual renewal mysticism. The conciliar movement.
Francis of Assisi OR Thomas a Kempis.
Section C: The Continental Churches and Reform
10. Reform precursors; renaissance and new learning.
John Hus OR Erasmus
11. Reformation as massive change:
a. in Germany (1517–1530)
b. in Geneva (1536–1564)
Martin Luther & John Calvin
c. Anabaptist groups
12. The Counter Reformation: Trent; the Jesuits; the papacy reformed.
Ignatius Loyola OR Teresa of Avila
a. Colleges are required to teach at least 10 out of the 12 topics above.
b. Lecturers should feel free to substitute a major figure in the place of those named, and, since history at this level requires the use of primary sources, all major figures should be studied wherever possible through their own writings.
c. Lecturers should feel free to exchange with lecturers from other colleges advice on documents which have worked well for them. Les Ball, Church History Moderator, has made available for all colleges an 8-page guide on how to study a document.
d. Assessment will include a minimum of 3000 words of written work, however an exam is no longer compulsory for this unit.
e. If an examination is set, it is recommended that students be required to answer only 3 questions in a two-hour examination, one question from each of the three sections of the paper.
f. Examiners should feel free to set selections from documents for comment in examinations if they consider it appropriate.
g. Lecturers may choose to assess parts of the syllabus by instruments other than examination.
h. Lecturers may assess reports on documents separately from examinations or essays. For example, three assessment instruments may be used: examination (50%), essay (40%), document report (10%).
As well as the works listed in General Recommended Readings, the following provide more detailed treatments of sections of this unit.
The Church in Imperial Rome
Bryan, C., Render to Caesar: Jesus, the Early Church, and the Roman Superpower (Oxford: OUP., 2005).
Davidson, I. J., The Birth of the Church: From Jesus to Constantine AD 30-312 (Baker History of the Church, Vol 1; Grand Rapids/ Oxford: Baker/Monarch, 2004).
Evans, G. R. (ed.), The First Christian Theologians: An Introduction to Theology in the Early Church (Mulden: Blackwell, 2004).
Frend, W. H. C., From Dogma to History: How our Understanding of the Early Church Developed (London: SCM, 2003).
Hall, S. G., Doctrine and Practice in the Early Church (London: SPCK, 2005).
McKechnie, P., The First Christian Centuries. Perspectives on the Early Church (Leicester: Apollos, 2001).
The Church as Christendom
Bassett, P., The Medieval Church (Baker History of the Church, Vol 3; Grand Rapids/ Oxford: Baker/Monarch, 2006).
Brown, P., The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, AD200-1000 (2nd ed.; Oxford: Blackwell, 2003).
Cusack, C. M., Conversion Among Germanic Peoples (London: Cassell, 1998).
Davidson, I. J., A Public Faith: From Constantine to the Medieval World: AD 312-600 (Baker History of the Church, Vol 2; Grand Rapids/ Oxford: Baker/Monarch, 2005).
Madden, T. F. (ed.), The Crusades: the Essential Readings (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002).
Milne, K., A Short History of the Church of Ireland (Dublin: Columbia, 2003).
Riley-Smith, J., The Crusades – A History (2nd ed.; London: Continuum, 2005).
Wood, I. N., The Missionary Life: Saints and the Evangelisation of Europe, 400-1050 (New York: Longman, 2001).
The Continental Churches and Reform
Cottret, B., Calvin: A Biography (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000).
Heinze, R. W., Reform and Conflict: From the Medieval World to the Wars of Religion AD 1350-1648 (Baker History of the Church, Vol 4; Grand Rapids/ Oxford: Baker/Monarch, 2005).
Mullett, M., The Catholic Reformation (New York: Routledge, 1999).
Scribner, R. W. and C. Scott Dixon, The German Reformation (2nd ed.; Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2003).
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