“Christians are made, not born” (Tertullian). This unit explores with ecumenical sensitivity the origin, history and meaning of the processes involved in persons becoming Christians. The unit begins by briefly exploring insights drawn from cultural anthropology and ritual studies regarding the significance attached to initiation. On this basis, the unit then follows two lines of inquiry. The first represents an historical survey, charting the practices of Christian initiation in the early Church and the subsequent emergence of the three separate sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. The second line of inquiry investigates the sacraments of initiation as they stand in the post-Vatican II Catholic Church, paying particular attention to the RCIA, continuing debates surrounding different approaches to the sacraments of initiation and finally, the significance of the Eucharist as both the high point of the journey of faith for persons joining the Church and as the repeatable and ongoing sacrament of Christian initiation.

Unit code: CT3350Y (Approved)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Explain the cultural significance attached to initiation as a ritual process


Identify key historical developments in the emergence and evolution of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist as sacraments of initiation


Articulate major theological insights regarding Christian initiation following the Second Vatican Council, especially in relation to the RCIA


Demonstrate skills in reading and analysing key texts and rites associated with the sacraments of initiation


Discuss the place of the Eucharist in the church's sacraments of initiation


Analyse debates surrounding the understanding and celebration of the sacraments of initiation in the contemporary Church

Unit sequence

CT 1000Y plus an extra 36 points of Systematic Theology at Level 2


Use of “visible learning” pedagogy Seminar format: short lectures; class discussions and activities


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay 2000 words

2000 40.0

Essay 3000 words

3000 60.0

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

Unit record last updated: 2019-11-19 09:02:51 +1100