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.

Unit code: CH0109T (Approved)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Diploma

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: Trinity College Theological School

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Learning outcomes


Outline a chronology of key events within the Christian community c.70–500 CE and describe their significance


Identify key figures in the development of early Christian doctrine and practice, and the nature of their contribution.


Describe how politics helped form Christian belief.


Compare the variety of beliefs and practices within the early Church


Video Lectures, readings, online forums

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bradshaw, P.F. The Search for the Origins of Christian Worship. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • Burrus, V., ed. Late Ancient Christianity: A People’s History of Christianity. Vol. 2 Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2005.
  • Davidson, I. Birth of the Church: From Jesus to Constantine AD 30 – 312. Oxford: Monarch Books, 2005.
  • Davidson, I. A Public Faith: From Constantine to The Medieval World AD 312 – 600. Oxford: Monarch Books, 2005.
  • Edwards, M. Catholicity and Heresy in the Early Church. Farnham, Surrey/Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009.
  • Gonzalez, J. The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1. Harper One, 2010 (recommended for purchase)
  • Hall, S. Doctrine and Practice in the Early Church. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992.
  • Humphries, M. Early Christianity. London: Routledge, 2006.
  • Miles, M. The Word made Flesh: A History of Christian Thought. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005 (ebook available on e-reserve).
  • Shelley, B. Church History in Plain Language, 4th ed. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2013.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Multiple Choice Quizzes or Tests

Quiz (equivalent to 500 words)

0 10.0
Multiple Choice Quizzes or Tests

Quiz (equivalent to 500 words)

0 10.0
Critical Review

1,000 word critical review of a primary text

0 30.0

1500 word essay

0 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 19 Oct, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2019-03-13 11:51:25 +1100