Practice and Belief in the Early Church

Field: Church History
Unit Code(s): CH1000T (Class based)/CH1009T (online)
Unit value: 18 points
Level: Undergraduate (Level 1)
Delivery mode: Face-to-face and Online
Content: This unit offers an historical theological study of the first five centuries of Christianity with an emphasis on the practice and belief of the community. It examines the formal clarification of doctrine through key primary texts in the light of the wider life of the church, offering an introduction to Christian traditions of theological reflection.
Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  • outline a chronology of key events within the Christian community c.70–500 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
  • interpret a range of historical sources with an array of historical tools
  • discuss the implications of historical understanding for ministry in the contemporary Christian church.
  • Quiz, equivalent to 500 words (10%)
  • 1,000-word short paper (25%)
  • 2,500-word essay (65%)
Recommended Reading:

* recommended for purchase

Bradshaw, P.F. The Search for the Origins of Christian Worship. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Brown, P. The Body and Society: Men, Women and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity New York: Columbia, 1988.

Burrus, V., ed. Late Ancient Christianity: A People’s History of Christianity. Vol. 2 Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2005.

Edwards, M. Catholicity and Heresy in the Early Church. Farnham, Surrey/Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009.

Hall, S. Doctrine and Practice in the Early Church. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992.

* Humphries, M. Early Christianity. London: Routledge, 2006.

Jensen, R.M. Understanding Early Christian Art. New York: Routledge, 2000.

Miles, M. The Word made Flesh: A History of Christian Thought. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005 (ebook available on e-reserve).

* Young, F. The Making of the Creeds. London: SCM Press, 1991.