This unit connects the ancient past to the present through the study of everyday practice, evolving beliefs, and compelling characters in the church. We will read text, art and artifact from the period 100-500CE and consider how and why historical interpretation of these sources has changed over time. We will explore the past with contemporary themes in mind, including: hospitality, conflict, community, authority, belonging, suffering, incarnation, and being a Christian in the world. Finally, we ask how the stories we tell about the past impact the present.

Unit code: CH1001S

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 1

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: Stirling College

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Learning outcomes


Identify significant dates, people and themes in the Early Church’s theology and practice


Apply key principles of historical interpretation to a diverse range of primary sources


Articulate an understanding of how an aspect of theology or practice developed within the Early Church


Demonstrate understanding of the role of interpretation in understanding the past

Unit sequence

No prerequisites


Lecture, workshop, tutorial, online resource provision

Indicative Bibliography

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

Clark, Elizabeth A. Women in the Early Church. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2017.

Guy, Laurie. Introducing Early Christianity: A Topical Survey of its Life, Belief and Practices. Downers Grove IL: IVP, 2004.

Humphries, Mark. Early Christianity. London: Routledge, 2006.

Jensen, Robin Margaret. Understanding Early Christian Art. New York: Routledge, 2000.

Kaizer, T. Religion, Society and Culture at Dura-Europos. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Lossl, Josef. The Early Church: History and Memory. London: T&T Clark, 2010.

Miles, Margaret. The Word Made Flesh: A History of Christian Thought. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005.

Osiek, Carolyn, Margaret MacDonald and Janet Tulloch. A Woman’s Place: House Churches in Earliest Christianity. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006.

Williams, Rowan. Why Study the Past? London: DLT, 2014.

Young, Frances. The Making of the Creeds. London: SCM Press, 2002.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Document Study

Written analysis of a primary source from the early church period

1000 30.0
Annotated Bibliography

An essay that explores perspectives in the secondary sources pertaining to an issue in the history of the early church

1500 40.0
Multi-media project

A creative project using more than one medium or material that is presented to the class and which demonstrates knowledge of an aspect of early church practice or belief and an awareness of historical interpretation

1000 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 21 Sep, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-09-21 19:15:46 +1000