This survey unit examines the development of the Catholic Church from the time of the Reformation including the European missionary impulse to Asia. The unit traces the influence of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and the development of Catholic Social Teaching. The unit examines the influence of Vatican I and Modernism on Catholic ecclesiology and the position of the papacy during the course of World War I which greatly shaped the Holy See’s role in international relations in the lead-up to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

Unit code: CH8002C

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Situate significant people and events in chronological sequence.


Articulate the historical context of some major events in the history of the Catholic Church in this period.


Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which the visible Church has been shaped by changing political, social, cultural and economic circumstances.


Identify the ways in which the Church has articulated its central beliefs in the area of doctrine and theology.


Critically evaluate and interpret a representative selection of primary and secondary sources, both written and visual, as evidence relevant to the issue of specific periods of Church history.


Undertake critical research in primary and secondary sources and present a clear and focused argument that demonstrates competence in engaging with historical methodology.


Lectures and seminars

Indicative Bibliography

  • Blainey, Geoffrey. A Short History of Christianity. Camberwell: Viking, 2011.
  • Bokenkotter, Thomas. A Concise History of the Catholic Church. Rev. ed. New York: Image Books, 2004.
  • Buckley, James J., Frederick C. Bauerschmidt, and Trent Pomplu, eds. The Blackwell Companion to Catholicism. Blackwell’s Companions to Religion. Oxford: Blackwell, 2007
  • Chadwick, Owen. A History of Christianity. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1995.
  • Comby, Jean. How to Read Church History: From the Reformation to the Present. Vol. 2. New York: Crossroad, 2005.
  • Duffy, Eamon. Saints & Sinners: A History of the Popes. New Haven, CT: New Yale University Press, 1997.
  • Harries, Richard, and Henry Mayr-Harting, eds. Christianity: Two Thousand Years. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Holmes, J. Derek, and Bernard Bickers. A Short History of the Catholic Church. London: Burns & Oates, 2002.
  • MacCulloch, Diarmaid. A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. London: Allen Lane, 2009.
  • McManners, John, ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990
  • Tanner, Norman. New Short History of the Catholic Church. London: Bloomsbury, 2011.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper 1000 20.0
Essay 5000 50.0
Written Examination

1-hour 1000-word documents exam

1000 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 22 Jul, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:51 +1000