This unit will present the work of the Councils of Constance (1414–1418), Basel (1431–1449) and Florence (1438), councils that produced effects that lasted well beyond the fifteenth century. Constance was called to heal the disastrous papal schism caused by the dubious elections in 1378 of two popes. When Europeans became aware that the Church was now divided and with no immediate prospect of uniting a divided papacy, there were calls to recover unity, but how to accomplish this was not obvious. As the schism continued, desire also arose to thoroughly reform the Church in head and members, especially urgent because of the conditions of the time. This unit will show how ideas about collegiality and reform developed at this time had echoes until the Second Vatican Council.

Unit Code: CH3182C

Points: 18.0

Unit Level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit Discipline: Church History

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning Outcomes


Articulate a critical understanding of the key primary texts of the councils of this period and their wider significance in conciliar history.


Evaluate the principal achievements of these councils in attempting the reform and unity of the Church.


Formulate a coherent historical argument for the distinctive place of councils in the life of the Church.


Identify some of the theological and historical issues that were obstacles to achieving the reform of the Church in head and members during this period.


Critically examine and contextualise the key theological ideas of this period to contemporary ecclesiastical concerns.

Unit sequence

30 points of Church History


Lectures and seminar discussion


Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)
Tutorial Paper

500-word tutorial paper

0 20.0
Book Review

1,000-word book review

0 20.0

3,500-word essay

0 60.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 6 Aug, 2018

Unit Record last updated: 2019-03-25 10:07:18 +1100