CH001-512 – Christianity in History to 1550

Credit Points

12 Credit Points (CPS)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will

Know and understand

  • Demonstrate foundational knowledge and understanding of Christianity in history.

Be able to

  • Trace major developments in the history of Christianity to 1550
  • Outline the contribution of selected people to the development of Christianity to 1550
  • Draw on selected primary and secondary sources to formulate historical viewpoints on the period to 1550
  • Present organised evidence-based perspectives on the history of Christianity to 1550

Be in a position to

  • Relate perspectives from ‘Christianity in History to 1550’ to inform ministry contexts


Section A: The Church in Imperial Rome:

  • Christians in society: the spread of Christianity to 312
  • The challenge of other religions and ideologies, especially Judaism and Gnosticism.
  • Caesar: enemy or friend? Decius, Diocletian, Constantine.
  • Wrestling with the faith: Origen, Arianism, Chalcedon.
  • Worship and popular religion in a collapsing society: 4th and 5th century trends: asceticism, pilgrimage, liturgy, icons.

Section B: The Church as Christendom

  • The conversion of Europe 600–900. The Holy  Roman Empire.
  • Christendom triumphant: the Western church in the 13th and 14th centuries. The development of scholasticism.
  • Byzantium, Islam and the Crusades.
  • Christendom challenged; protest and spiritual renewal mysticism. The conciliar movement.

Section C: The Continental Churches and Reform

  • Reform precursors; renaissance and new learning.
  • Reformation as massive change:
    • in Germany (1517–1530)
    • in Geneva (1536–1564)
  • Anabaptist groups
  • The Counter Reformation: Trent; the Jesuits; the papacy reformed.