Following on from DS8001C, this unit will acquaint students with some significant examples of Christian literature from the Reformation of the 16th Century to the present. The focus will be on the study of these texts in their theological and cultural settings. The impact and aftermath of Vatican II on the development of Christian Spirituality will be considered. Students will be required to experience some contemporary expressions or aspects of this subject. Examples of texts studied include: Reformation Period: Thomas More, Erasmus, Francis de Sales; Classical Spanish School: Teresa of Avila of John of the Cross; Classical French School: J.P. de Caussade Modern English Writers: Selected poetry, John Chapman, John Henry Newman and the modern English writers such as Evelyn Underhill, Dorothy L. Sayers and C.S. Lewis Modern Catholic Writers: Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Teilhard de Chardin, Karl Rahner Modern Protestants: Dietrich Bonhoeffer Aspects of the documents of Vatican II and its impact to the present.

Unit code: DS8002C

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Spirituality

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Discuss a representative selection of classical texts from the traditions of Eastern and Western Christianity in the patristic and medieval periods


Discuss the particular areas of Christian spirituality that were developed by some leading authors and texts during this period


Analyse the relationship between the writings and the wider cultural context


Analyse how these writings relate to contemporary expressions of Christian spirituality


Assess ways in which the Christian spiritual tradition and its contemporary expressions can influence the life of the individual


Research a specific topic in a critically rigorous, sustained and self-directed manner


Lecture, workshops

Indicative Bibliography

  • Avens, C., and R. Zelley. Walking the Path of ChristoSophia: Exploring the Hidden Tradition in Christian Spirituality. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2005.
  • Downey, M., ed. New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1993.
  • Downey, Michael. Understanding Christian Spirituality. New York: Paulist Press, 1997.
  • Dreyer, Elizabeth, and Mark S. Burrows. Minding the Spirit: The Study of Christian Spirituality. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.
  • Guibert, J., ed. Dictionnarie de Spiritualité. Paris, 1932.
  • Holder, A., ed. Blackwell Companion to Christian Spirituality. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005.
  • Holder, A. Christian Spirituality: The Classics. London: Routledge, 2009.
  • Miller, R.W., ed. Spirituality for the 21st Century: Experiencing God in the Catholic Tradition. Liguori, MO: Liguori, 2006.
  • Perrin, D.B. Studying Christian Spirituality. New York: Routledge, 2007.
  • Sheldrake, P.E. Explorations in Spirituality. New York: Paulist, 2010.
  • Sheldrake, P. Spirituality: A Brief History. Oxford: Blackwell, 2013.
  • Wakefield, G., ed. A Dictionary of Christian Spirituality. London: SCM Press, 1983.
  • Woods, Richard O. P., and Peter Tyler, eds. The Bloomsbury Guide to Christian Spirituality. London: Bloomsbury, 2012.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Synthesis – 2000 words

2000 40.0

Essay – 4000 words

4000 60.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 19 Oct, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2019-05-10 15:22:58 +1000