CH201 – The Church to 1550
a) To introduce candidates to the major developments in church history until the present day;
b) To introduce candidates to aspects of Christian history which have affected the church in their own cultural experience as well as the experience of others;
c) To give candidates an historical framework in which the better to understand their theological studies.
CH201 is an academic unit taught online throughout the semester. It requires 7 hours of study per week, which includes:
Listening to the specially developed audio material
Reading the course notes and set readings
Interacting with online tutors and fellow students through the online forums
Reflecting on what you have learned
Completing written assessment tasks
Studying and preparing for the exam
On completion of this unit, for the period down to 1550, students will:
A. Know and understand
The major phases and developments in the history of Christianity identified in the unit content
The life and thought of selected key figures in the history of Christianity
B. Be able to
Describe the impact of the social, political and cultural context on Christian beliefs, practices and movements.
Use primary and secondary sources
Present an evidence-based perspective or narrative
C. Be in a position to
Apply historical perspectives from this period to their theological studies and in ministry contexts
Section A: The Church in Imperial Rome:
Christians in society: the spread of Christianity to 312 Justin Martyr OR Tertullian
The challenge of other religions and ideologies, especially Judaism and Gnosticism. Irenaeus OR Athenagoras.
Caesar: enemy or friend? Decius, Diocletian, Constantine. Pliny & Trajan OR Cyprian.
Wrestling with the faith: Origen, Arianism, Chalcedon. Origen OR Athanasius.
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
The conversion of Europe 600–900. The Holy Roman Empire. Boniface of Crediton OR Alcuin of York
Christendom triumphant: the Western church in the 13th and 14th centuries. The development of scholasticism. Innocent III OR Thomas Aquinas.
Byzantium, Islam and the Crusades.
Christendom challenged; protest and spiritual renewal mysticism. The conciliar movement. Francis of Assisi OR Thomas a Kempis.
Section C: The Continental Churches and Reform
Reform precursors; renaissance and new learning. John Hus OR Erasmus
Reformation as massive change:
(a) in Germany (1517–1530)
(b) in Geneva (1536–1564) Martin Luther & John Calvin
(c) Anabaptist groups Menno Simons
The Counter Reformation: Trent; the Jesuits; the papacy reformed. Ignatius Loyola OR Teresa of Avila