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Unit information: Early and Premodern Christianity in 2016/17

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Unit name Early and Premodern Christianity
Unit code THRS20100
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Muessig
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts


An examination of major developments in Christian theology and history from the early Church to 1500. Topics covered include the developments of theology in the early Church; the Age of Constantine and the spread of Christianity; Christian, Jewish and Muslim relations in the Middle Ages; scholastic and monastic thought; saints, heresy and orthodoxy, and popular devotion.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have (1) developed a detailed understanding of early and premodern Christianity; (2) gained an in-depth understanding of the historical and theological contexts informing the role of Christian theology and practice; 3) demonstrated the ability to critically analyse and evaluate competing perceptions of how Christian history and thought; (4) demonstrated the ability to identify and evaluate pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate a cogent argument.

Teaching details

1 lecture + 1 seminar per week

Assessment Details

One summative coursework essay of 2500 words (50%) and one unseen examination of two hours comprising 2 questions out of 6 (50%).

Reading and References

Peter Brown, The Cult of the Saints: its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity (London: SCM Press, 1981).

The Cambridge companion to religious studies [electronic resource] / edited by Robert A. Orsi (2012)

The Cambridge companion to the age of Constantine [electronic resource]. Edited by Noel Lenski (2007)

E. G. Hinson, The Early Church: Origins to the Dawn of the Middle Ages (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1997)

J. McManners (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity (Oxford, 1992)

Miri Rubin, ed., Medieval Christianity in practice. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.