This is an introductory unit on the writings of the Fathers of the Church and their important contribution to the formation of Orthodox theology. The focus of the unit is to introduce these early Christian theologians as the great teachers of the Orthodox faith or doctrine and highlight their contribution through the Fathers’ explanation of the Christian dogma, and their refutation of heresies. Students will study Patristic texts arranged historically and through the common classifications of the Fathers. For example, the Apostolic Fathers, the Apologists, the Latin Fathers, the Alexandrians (both the Fathers of Alexandria, such as Clement of Alexandria and the great teachers such as Saint Athanasius and Saint Cyril of Alexandria) and the Cappadocian Fathers (i.e. St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory of Nazianzus).

Unit Code: CT8409A

Points: 24.0

Unit Level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit Discipline: Systematic Theology

Delivery Mode: Online

Proposing College: St Athanasius College

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Learning Outcomes


Critically evaluate the contribution that each of the Fathers have made in explaining the Orthodox faith


Analyse the distinguishing features of the thought of a selection of Fathers and the content of their major works


Justify the classifications of Church Father writings historically and according to commonly used categories


Investigate the fundamental principles of a particular father, or investigate a particular heresy


Examine, appraise and where relevant, challenge the conclusions of modern scholarship on interpretive difficulties in the writings of a selection of Fathers


Weekly sessions, comprising guided reading from the set texts, additional reading resources and some notes, together with an online tutorial. Students will be expected to contribute to the discussions in each session.


Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)

Written Assessment Task 2000 words

2000 30.0

Written Assessment Task 3000 words

3000 50.0

Written Assessment Task 1000 words

1000 20.0

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

Unit Record last updated: 2019-10-29 09:12:10 +1100