“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

William Butler Yeats wrote those words following the failed Irish Rising of 1916, at the end of the First World War, in the midst of the Influenza Pandemic (1918-1919), and with the details of revolutions and crisis filtering through to him from Berlin and St Petersburg. But it may be taken more generally as an apt metaphor for much of modern church history.

The modern era has seen the systematic re-imagining of social relations. Driven by political, social, economic, and religious revolutions, the Church (wherever it may be) has had to confront challenges that make the schisms of the reformation seem only a small fraternal squabble. This unit will journey from the barricades of Paris to the cotton mills of Lancashire, from the overseas empires of Europe to missionary outposts in far-east Asia and the Pacific. The Reformation may have made Christianity a world religion, but it is the modern era that brought its structures to the brink of collapse. Churches have been confronted with world wars, forced famines, death marches, genocides, and have had to wrestle with ethical questions of immediate impact on the human condition, like slavery, abolitionism, totalitarianism, democracy, civil rights, and human rights.

Unit code: CH9031Z

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: St Francis College

Show when this unit is running

Learning outcomes


Demonstrate an understanding of history as an interdisciplinary field of study.


Be able to participate in discussions with peers to analyse and evaluate weekly readings collaboratively.


Demonstrate the ability to engage reflectively and analytically with historical literary texts as a form of primary source.


Articulate a complex and detailed evaluative argument about a historical event, figure, or idea from the period covered in this unit (c.1700-c.2022) that synthesises a wide range of views and historical theories from primary and secondary sources.

Unit sequence

Students must have completed at least one foundational postgraduate unit in church history and one postgraduate elective unit in church history.


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

Indicative Bibliography

  • Balmer, Randall Herbert. The Making of Evangelicalism: From Revivalism to Politics, and Beyond. Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 2010. ISBN: 1602582432

  • Kaye, Bruce Norman, T. R Frame, Colin Holden, and Geoffrey R Treloar. Anglicanism in Australia: A History. Carlton South, Vic., Australia: Melbourne University Press, 2002. ISBN: 0522850030

  • Palmer, R. R. The Age of the Democratic Revolution: A Political History of Europe and America, 1760-1800. Princeton Classics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014. ISBN: 9780691161280

  • Pattel-Gray, Anne. The Great White Flood: Racism in Australia ; Critically Appraised from an Aboriginal Historico-Theological Viewpoint. American Academy of Religion Cultural Criticism Series, No. 2. Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1998. ISBN: 078850133X

  • Tejirian, Eleanor Harvey, and Reeva S. Simon. Conflict, Conquest, and Conversion: Two Thousand Years of Christian Missions in the Middle East. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. ISBN: 0231138644

  • Thompson, Willie. Ideologies in the Age of Extremes: Liberalism, Conservatism, Communism, Fascism 1914-91. London: Pluto Press, 2011. ISBN: 0745327117


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Seminar or Tutorial - Participation

Attendance and tutorial leadership.

200 10.0
Journal - Reflective journal

Journal reflecting on a work of historical literature.

2500 25.0
Essay - Essay

Long essay.

3500 30.0
Written Examination - Exam

Short Multiple-Choice Quiz, Short Answer Questions, and one short essay.

800 35.0

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

Unit record last updated: 2022-11-18 17:55:53 +1100