THCT204 Defining Moments in Church History
Teaching organisationThis unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as as lectures and tutorials, and may involve video-conferencing and online interaction. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.
Unit rationale, description and aim
The Christian church is grounded in a 2000-year-old history that has formed and developed the tradition in distinctive ways. It is important for students to be familiar with the most significant periods and events to have an understanding of Christianity. This unit seeks to identify and explore defining moments in the life of the Christian church via a study of the events, personalities, institutions, movements and ideas which brought them about, with particular reference to the Catholic Church as a consistent presence in this history. Such "moments" will be set in the context of the challenges and opportunities facing the church at different periods. There will be an examination of the ways in which the institutional church as well as Christian individuals and communities responded, the motivations for such responses, and their endruing impact. The unit aims to provide students with a broad understanding of the major historical developments in Christianity and apply a critical understanding to these developments, so to better contextualise the contemporary character and life of the church.
On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:
LO1 - Identify and explain elements of continuity and change in developments in the life and thought of the church (GA4, GA5);
LO2 - Evaluate the significance of defining moments within the history of the church as factors for decline, renewal or challenge (GA4, GA5);
LO3 - Critically assess a particular “defining moment”, highlighting its impact on the development of Christianity and its relevance today (GA4; GA5, GA8).
GA4 - think critically and reflectively
GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession
GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information
In addition to issues related to historical method and eras of church history, topics will be selected from:
- Key historical moments in the development of the institutional church, with special reference to the relationship between church and state, church councils and the papacy;
- The founding of monastic and mendicant orders;
- Divisions within the church, especially the separation of East and West;
- The encounter with Islam and the crusades;
- The sixteenth-century Reformation era;
- The challenge of scientific developments in the early modern world;
- The Enlightenment and the French Revolution;
- Papal responses to the rise of liberalism and democracy, War World War and totalitarian regimes;
- The impact of the Second Vatican Council.
Learning and teaching strategy and rationale
This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures and tutorials and may involve video-conferencing and online interaction. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.
This unit is normally offered in attendance or multi-mode with either synchronous online tutorials or face-to-face classes. In accordance with the student-centred “flipped classroom” model of teaching, students will be able to access most of the basic content of the unit in online modules in LEO. Class time will be used to extend and deepen learning. Primary source documents, the raw material of history, will be a particular focus of this unit, so that students will be able to develop skills in interpretation and analysis. Students will be encouraged to consider different interpretations of historical developments and hone their ability to think critically and reflectively.
Assessment strategy and rationale
The assessment strategy is designed so that students can demonstrate that they have achieved the set learning outcomes and developed their ability to think critically, conduct historical research and present the results of their research in a coherent manner.
The first task will give students the opportunity to demonstrate that they can identify and explain elements of change and continuity in the first section of the unit.
The second task will enable students to evaluate the significance of several defining moments within the history of the church, as factors for decline, renewal or challenge.
The third task will allow students to critically analyse one particular defining moment in more depth to assess its significance and impact on the development of Christianity and its relevance today.
Overview of assessments
|Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment Tasks||Weighting||Learning Outcomes||Graduate Attributes|
Introductory written task: Requires students to demonstrate that they can identify and explain elements of change and continuity in the history of Christianity.
GA 4, GA5
Written Task: Requires students to evaluate the significance of several defining moments within the history of the church, as factors for decline, renewal or challenge.
Extended Written Task: Requires students to critically analyse one particular defining moment and assess its significance and impact.
GA4, GA5, GA8
Representative texts and references
Angold, M. Eastern Christianity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Arnold, John H. The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Christianity. Oxford University Press, 2014.
Brown, P. The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, AD 200-1000. Rev. ed. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
Bornstein, D. E., ed. Medieval Christianity. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2009.
Gonzaléz, J. L. The Story of Christianity. 2 vols. 2nd ed. New York: HarperOne, 2010.
Herrin, J. The Formation of Christendom. Rev. ed. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1989.
Lansing, C. and E. D. English. A Companion to the Medieval World. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.
Noble, T. F. X. and J. M. H. Smith, eds. The Cambridge History of Christianity. Vol. 3: Early
Medieval Christianities, c.600–c.1100. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008
Riley-Smith, J. The Crusades: A History. 3rd ed. London: Bloomington, 2014
Robson, M.J.P. ed. The Cambridge Companion to Francis of Assisi. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge
University Press, 2012.