This unit introduces students to a selection of some of the key figures and movements in theological history from the early 1800s to the end of the twentieth century, including: Ernst Troeltsch and the History of Religions School, Karl Barth’s ‘neo-orthodoxy’, liberation theologies, Pentecostalism and the post-liberalism of George Lindbeck and Robert Jenson. It examines the contexts in which they arose, the intellectual, cultural and theological trends against which they were reacting and the responses to them by their critics. Students will engage with key texts from each school, movement or figure.

Unit code: CH9409T (Approved)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: Trinity College Theological School

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Learning outcomes


Identify the historical and theological contexts in which selected movements in modern theology arose


Analyse the extent to which those movements reacted to and/or accommodated the contexts in which they arose


Articulate the key ideas espoused by those movements and their representative figures


Analyse the immediate and longer-term impacts of those various movements on the development of Christian theology


Evaluate the relative significance of each movement and/or figure to modern Christian thought


Critically assess the strengths of the core ideas of each movement for contemporary church life and ministry


Online guided readings, tutorial forums

Indicative Bibliography

  • Althaus-Reid, Marcella & Isherwood, Lisa. Controversies in Feminist Theology. London: SCM Press, 2007.
  • Anderson, Allen. An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  • Barth, Karl. Protestant Theology in the Nineteenth Century. London: SCM Press, 2010.
  • Boff, Leonardo. Introducing Liberation Theology. London: Burns & Oates, 1987.
  • Cartledge, Mark. Encountering the Spirit: The Charismatic Tradition. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2006.
  • Ford, David F., ed. The Modern Theologians: Introduction to Christian Theology in the Twentieth Century, Oxford: Blackwell, 1997.
  • Guttierez, Gustavo. A Theology of Liberation. New York: Orbis, 1988.
  • Lindbeck, George. The Nature of Doctrine. Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Age. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1984.
  • Loades, Anne, ed. Feminist Theology: A Reader. London: SPCK, 1996.
  • McCormack, Bruce. Karl Barth’s Critically Realistic Dialectical Theology: Its Genesis and Development, 1906-1936, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995.
  • McGrath, Alister. The Making of Modern German Christology, 1750-1990, Eugene, Wipf & Stock, 2005.
  • Muers, Rachel & Higton, Mike. Modern Theology: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge, 2012.
  • Placher, William. The Triune God. An Essay in Postliberal Theology. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007.
  • Rowland, Christopher, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Liberation Theology. 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  • Welch, Claude. Protestant Thought in the Nineteenth Century. Volume 2, 1870-1914. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2003.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Research essay: critical examination of a key issue, movement or figure studied and the causes and impacts 3000 words

3000 40.0
Data Analysis Report

Primary source (documentary analysis) exercise 1000 words

1000 20.0

Reflective essay: personal reflection on the theological strengths and deficiencies of one of the movements/figures studied 3000 words

3000 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 30 Sep, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2019-10-22 07:37:38 +1100