In this unit students will undertake an historical theological study of the first five centuries of Christianity with an emphasis on the developments in doctrine and liturgical practice across the Christian communities of the Middle East, North Africa, and Western Europe. Students will examine how the formal clarification of doctrine emerged out of apologetic and exegetical controversies, that pushed the Church to the limits of its language about God.

Unit code: CH8100T (Approved)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: Trinity College Theological School

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Learning outcomes


Outline a chronology of key events within the Christian community c.100-500 CE and describe their significance.


Articulate key principles of historical interpretation of ancient Christian texts


Identify key features of the context and method of at least one writer in the early Christian Church


Outline key theological debates during the period


Discuss the interactions of Church and Empire in the early Christian Church, before and after Constantine


Describe ways in which an historical understanding of the early Church has implications for ministry in the contemporary Church

Unit sequence

Prohibited combination: ‘Practice and Belief in the Early Church’


This unit is an entry-level unit in the discipline of Church History and, as such, presumes no prior knowledge of either the period itself, or the methods of historical enquiry. It provides an introduction to both, through lectures, tutorial discussions, and guided engagement with key primary texts.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Multiple Choice Quizzes or Tests

Online quiz 500 words

50 10.0
Multiple Choice Quizzes or Tests

Online quiz 500 words

50 10.0
Document Study

Document Study 2,500 words

2500 30.0

Research Essay 3,500 words

3500 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 27 Sep, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2019-10-11 12:12:39 +1100