The medieval Church has been described as either fatally flawed or flourishing and vibrant by historians of the European ‘reformations’. This unit will suggest that when viewed in its medieval context, the Reformation is the resurgence of powerful and persistent debates about salvation, justice, and power on the one hand, and a traumatic disruption of flourishing and vibrant religious beliefs on the other.

This unit will show that to understand the European Reformation requires students to understand the complex interwoven strands of political, cultural, social, and economic life in Medieval Europe. It will seek to engage students in understanding the importance of context. It will do so by asking the question of whether like politics, all religion is local – and therefore whether a Church is ‘fatally flawed’ or ‘flourishing’ can be highly dependent on its local context.

Unit code: CH2001Z

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: St Francis College

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Learning outcomes


Explain the historical context of events and people from the period covered in this unit c.750-1500.


Participate in and lead discussions on the historical context of events and people from the period covered in this unit c.750-1500.


Develop an argument, with reference to primary and secondary sources, about a historical event, person, movement, object, place, or idea.


Demonstrate an awareness of the multiple historiographic schools and perspectives in the secondary literature.

Unit sequence

This unit requires two undergraduate foundation units in Church History to have been completed.


Direct instruction and self-directed learning approach (flipped learning) to learning discipline-specific skills (demonstrating an understanding of concepts in history, reading primary and secondary historical documents, writing an argumentative essay, preparing, and delivering an oral presentation, and classroom dialogues) through lectures, tutorials with targeted learning activities, and formative and summative assessment tasks.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Davis, Kathleen. Periodization and Sovereignty: How Ideas of Feudalism and Secularization Govern the Politics of Time. Middle Ages Series. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008.
  • Kangas, Sini, Mia Korpiola, and Tuija Ainonen. Authorities in the Middle Ages: Influence, Legitimacy, and Power in Medieval Society. Fundamentals of Medieval and Early Modern Culture, V. 12. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2013.
  • Muldoon, James. Popes, Lawyers, and Infidels: The Church and the Non-Christian World, 1250-1550. The Middle Ages. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1979.
  • Van Engen, John. Sisters and Brothers of the Common Life: The Devotio Moderna and the World of the Later Middle Ages. The Middle Ages Series. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Short Answer Tests - Short Exam

Multiple-choice quiz and short answer questions.

500 10.0
Seminar or Tutorial - Participation and tutorial leadership

Attendance, participation, and tutorial leadership.

750 15.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper - Tutorial Essay and Presentation

Tutorial essay, and short tutorial presentation (5-7 minutes) on one (1) of the weekly topics.

750 35.0
Essay - Essay

Long Essay.

2000 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 18 Nov, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-11-18 10:45:23 +1100