A study of the theologies, history, and spiritualities of the patristic period from the apostles’ deaths to the pontificate of Gregory the Great (600 CE). This unit considers the diverse cultures and experiences that marked the earliest centuries of the church. These events have enduring relevance to the contemporary church.

Unit code: CT9511Y

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Delivery Mode: Blended

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


analyse the principal themes within patristic theology


demonstrate a critical understanding of the early development of church doctrine within its wider historical and cultural context


employ primary and secondary sources in the analysis of patristic themes


assess and provide evidence of the enduring impact of patrology upon contemporary theology and spirituality


evaluate the work, thought and historical significance of a selected patristic author


explain with examples the mutual influence of historical events and theological developments upon each other in the patristic era

Unit sequence

24 points of CH or CT


synchronous lectures and tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

  • Chadwick, Henry. The Church in Ancient Society. London: OUP, 2002
  • Clément, Olivier. The Roots of Christian Mysticism. New York: New City Press, 2015
  • de Conick, April. Holy Misogyny. New York: Continuum, 2011.
  • Fairbairn, Donald. Life in the Trinity. Chicago, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009.
  • Keller, David. Oasis of Wisdom. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2005.
  • Limberis, Vasiliki. Architects of Piety. New York: OUP, 2011
  • Louth, Andrew. The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition from Plato to Denys. Oxford: OUP, 2007.
  • Moss, Candida. The Myth of Persecution. New York: Harper One, 2013.
  • Papandrea, James. Reading the Early Church Fathers. New York: Paulist, 2012.
  • Quasten, Johannes. Patrology (4 vols). Westminster: Christian Classics, 1986-88.
  • Ramsay, Boniface. Beginning to Read the Fathers. London: DLT, 1985 .


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Portfolio of 4 Tutorial Exercises of 450 words each

1800 30.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper 1500 20.0
Essay 4000 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 20 Jun, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-06-20 15:19:05 +1000