In the early modern period, European culture and belief underwent several seismic shifts, with individuals, and the movements they sponsored, involved in deeply committed debate and conflict about matters of faith. This unit examines theological debates of the sixteenth century Reformation in Europe and their ongoing impact in western societies and churches, with particular attention to the implications for contemporary Australian experience. Students will explore the understandings of grace, salvation, creation, sacrament, scripture, authority and church order using key texts and artefact and their producers with a focus on the relationship between theological, historical and geographical contexts in shaping new forms of Christian identity and practice. This unit is taught collaboratively across several colleges of the UD, with specialists who highlight the diversity, complexity and commonality of perspectives across the Christian tradition.

Unit code: CH2100Z

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: Eva Burrows College, Pilgrim Theological College, Yarra Theological Union, Catholic Theological College, Stirling College, and Whitley College

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Learning outcomes


Identify the historical and theological context of the doctrinal controversies of sixteenth-century Europe and their ongoing impact;


Demonstrate an understanding of the evolution, manifestation and impact of at least one doctrinal controversy;


Describe the relationship between foundational documents and/or individuals and the ongoing development of particular Christian denominations;


Reflect on the experience of religious change through this period from the perspective of at least one individual

Unit sequence

Requires 18 points in CH and 18 points in CT


Student-focused lectures, seminars, workshops, and discussions. Students will participate in a site visit (with online options where required) to explore the legacies of the Reformation in modern times.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bagchi, David and David C. Steinmetz, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Reformation Theology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  • Eire, Carlos M. N. Reformations : The Early Modern World, 1450-1650. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016.
  • Evans, Gillian R. Roots of the Reformation: Tradition, Emergence and Rupture, 2nd edn. Downers Grove: IVP, 2012.
  • Helmer, Christine. How Luther Became the Reformer. Louisville: WJKP, 2019.
  • Ivanič, Suzanna, Mary Laven, and Andrew Morrall, eds. Religious Materiality in the Early Modern World. Amsterdam University Press, 2019.
  • Lindberg, Carter, ed. The European Reformations Sourcebook. Oxford: Blackwell, 2014 (or earlier editions).
  • MacCulloch, Diarmaid. Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490-1700. London: Penguin, 2004.
  • Roper, Lyndall. Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet. London: Bodley Head, 2016
  • Taylor, Richard. How to Read a Church. Sydney: Rider Books, 2004.
  • Westhelle, Vitor. The Church Event: Call and Challenge of a Church Protestant. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2009.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Students engage with class activities in weeks 1 and 2 to identify an historical character whose perspective on the Reformation is valuable, and write five blog entries of 300 words each (totaling 1500 words) reflecting on the events and themes of the Reformation at points of key change from the perspective of that character.

1400 35.0
Source Analysis

Source Analysis of a text or object identified through a site visit and explored in the light of Reformation theology

1400 35.0

Essay demonstrating the interdependence of theology and history, and the integration of the disciplines

1200 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 24 Aug, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-11-14 09:37:09 +1100