This unit explores the context and writings of the Second Century AD, particularly the writings of the Apostolic Fathers and the early apologists. Students are guided through a close and critical reading of select texts, paying attention to genre, rhetoric and theological discourse. Students will learn to let ancient texts speak for themselves, without reading their own opinions into them; this will be done by analysing their content, context, methodology, authorial intent and appropriation by readership of subsequent centuries. The relevance of these texts to contemporary social and theological challenges will be discussed. The views of modern scholarship, interpretation and criticism of these ancient texts will also be presented and discussed.

Unit Code: CT9429A

Points: 24.0

Unit Level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit Discipline: Systematic Theology

Delivery Mode: Online

Proposing College: St Athanasius College

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Learning Outcomes


Critically evaluate the message, content and theology of the Apostolic Fathers and the apologists of the second century


Analyse the theological contribution of a particular reading of early Christian texts, paying attention to genre, methodology, and historical context


Appraise an ancient’s author’s response to the theological issues at stake in second century centres of Christianity, showing awareness of antecedent theological reflection


Evaluate an ancient author’s response to the culture of the time and delineate the ways in which the same text can be appropriately placed in dialogue with contemporary culture


Examine, appraise and where relevant, challenge the conclusions of modern scholarship on interpretive difficulties in ancient texts


Weekly or fortnightly sessions, comprising guided reading from the set texts, additional reading resources and some notes, together with an online tutorial.


Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)

Wiki Forum Post (500 words)

0 10.0

Wiki Forum Post (500 words)

0 10.0

Essay (2,000 words)

0 30.0

Review of peer-reviewed journal article (1000 words)

0 20.0

Essay (2,000 words)

0 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 1 Nov, 2017

Unit Record last updated: 2019-05-01 09:24:23 +1000