This unit will critically examine the historical development of concepts and practices related to Spirituality. Starting with its roots in Hebrew and Early Christian terminology and philosophical thought, students will be guided through examination of the shifts in definition shaped by key figures in the Judeo-Christian traditions and the influence these shifts had on the practices within these traditions. Students will consider current applications of spirituality within and beyond faith traditions and the value of these sources for reconstructing practices of spirituality in the future.

Unit code: DS2002W

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Spirituality

Delivery Mode: Mode determined at Scheduling

Proposing College: Whitley College

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Learning outcomes


Describe the kinds of historical evidence available for discovering how people shaped the understanding of spirituality


Apply appropriate hermeneutical methods for reading and evaluating the terminology informing spirituality across generations


Assess the role of spiritual terminology in shaping historical spiritual practices


Discuss the relevance of shifts in spiritual terminology and practices for contemporary expressions in spirituality

Unit sequence

This unit provides a foundational examination of historical Influences on practiced concepts of spirituality for students studying through Whitley College.


Seminars, lecturers and participation in historical practices of spirituality including Christian devotion.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Benner, David G. Spirituality and the Awakening Self: The sacred journey of transformation. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2012.
  • Dreyer, E., & M.S. Burrows. Minding the Spirit: the study of Christian spirituality. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.
  • King, U. Christian mystics: the spiritual heart of the Christian tradition. London: Batsford, 1998.
  • Mabry, John R. Growing into God: A Beginners Guide to Christian Mysticism. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 2012.
  • McColman, Carl. The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publ. 2010.
  • Miles, Margaret R. Practicing Christianity: Critical Perspectives for an Embodied Spirituality. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 1988
  • Pelikan, J. Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999.
  • Sheldrake, P. Spirituality: A Brief History. Second Edition. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2013.
  • Shults, F. Leron & Steven J. Sandage. Transforming Spirituality: Integrating Theology and Psychology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006.
  • Tacey, David. The Postsecular Sacred: Jung, Soul and Meaning in an age of Change. Oxon: Routledge, 2020.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Personal Reflection - Reflective journal on readings 1250 25.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper - Seminar Paper 1250 25.0
Essay - Essay of 2000 words 2000 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 21 Oct, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-10-21 12:39:39 +1100