This unit will introduce students to some of the key themes in the development of the church from the second to the fifteenth century. Students will explore the spread of Christianity, the apostolic tradition, church-state relations; ‘heresy’, dissent and schism, Constantine and the 'Triumph of Christianity', monasticism, the rise of the papacy, Christian society, the Medieval church, Wycliffe and Hus.

Unit code: CH8011W

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: Whitley College

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Learning outcomes


Outline key aspects of the Christian story from early to medieval times


Identify some of the social, political and cultural factors influencing the development of Christianity


Demonstrate basic skills in interpreting historical documents


Assess the significance of selected movements and personalities for the church’s history


Describe the contribution of the study of church history to the development of Christian identity;


Critically evaluate historical evidence and the construction of historical accounts


Lectures, tutorials, online forum posts, video

Indicative Bibliography

  • Brox, Norbert. A History of the Early Church. London: SCM, 1994.
  • Chadwick, Owen. A History of Christianity. New York: Thomas Dunne, 1995.
  • Comby, Jean. How to Read Church History, Volume 1. London: SCM, 1985. (recommended for purchase)
  • Frank, Isnard W. A History of the Medieval Church. London: SCM, 1995.
  • Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity, Volume 1. New York: HarperOne, 2010. (recommended for purchase)
  • Guy, Laurie. Introducing Early Christianity. Downers Grove: IVP, 2004. (recommended for purchase)
  • Hall, Stuart G. Doctrine and Practice in the Early Church. 2nd edn. London: SPCK, 2005.
  • Hamman, Adalbert G. How to Read the Church Fathers. London: SCM, 1993.
  • Harries, R and H. Mayr-Harting (eds). Christianity: Two Thousand Years. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Hinson, E. Glenn. The Early Church: Origins to the Dawn of the Middle Ages. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996.
  • McGrath, Alistair. Christian History: An Introduction. Wiley: New York, 2012.
  • Noll, Mark A. Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity. 3rd edn. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2012.
  • Shelley, Bruce L. Church History in Plain Language. 4th edn. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2013.
  • Stevenson, James. Creeds, Councils and Controversies. Rev. edn. London: SPCK, 1989.
  • Stevenson, James. A New Eusebius. Rev. edn. London: SPCK, 1987.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay of 3,000 words

3000 50.0
Document Study

Document study of 1,000 words

1000 15.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper

Tutorial paper of 1,500 words

1500 20.0

300-word forum post

300 3.0

300-word forum post

300 3.0

300-word forum post

300 3.0

300-word forum post

300 3.0

300-word forum post

300 3.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 9 Oct, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:50 +1000