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Fall 2011

FNW Seattle



CH500: EARLY CHURCH HISTORY. Charles J. Scalise.



An introductory overview of the history of Christianity and historical theology from the post-apostolic period to the end of the sixth century. In addition to providing a basic narrative history of Christianity during this period, the course will involve students in opportunities for more intensive exploration of their particular interests in the story of early Christianity.


Significance for life and ministry

Knowledge of early church history is foundational for understanding the development of biblical interpretation, Christian doctrine, sacramental practices, mission outreach, and varieties of spirituality. Students will be challenged to begin or deepen a lifelong process of exploring the rich resources for ministry available through study of this period. Also, through the critical examination of primary sources, students will have the opportunity to acquire transferable analytical and writing skills, which will be useful in observing and evaluating situations of ministry wherever they are called to serve.


Learning Outcomes

(1)  To introduce students to some of the major peoples, movements, doctrines and themes of their heritage in second through sixth-century Christianity (cognitive)—assessed by midterm and final exams.

(2)  To assist students in appropriating some of the spiritual insights and resources from the history of Christianity for their own Christian growth and ministry (affective)—assessed by devotional leadership.

(3)  To enable students to identify and struggle with one specific historical figure from the period, whose life and thought they explore in detail (cognitive/affective)—assessed by historical figure reading list and question on final exam.

(4)  To engage students in historical research focused upon a specific primary source or sources from the early church era and thus help them to develop critical analytical and writing skills (instrumental)—assessed by research paper.


Course format

Course sessions will include lectures, class discussions, and document workshops. The class will meet for ten three-hour sessions, Wednesday afternoons 1-4 p.m., September 28 through December 7, except November 23.


Required reading

Bettenson, Henry, and Chris Maunder, eds. Documents of the Christian Church, Third ed. Oxford, 1999. pp. 1-106. ISBN-13: 978-0192880710. $29.95 (When Fourth edition becomes available, it will be acceptable, as well as E-book editions.)

Chadwick, Henry. Augustine of Hippo: A Life. Oxford, 2010. 208 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0199588060. 208 pp. $16.95

González, Justo. The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1. The Early Church to the Reformation. Revised and Updated ed. HarperCollins (HarperOne), 2010. pp. xiii-262. ISBN-13: 978-0061855887. $25.99.

Oden, Amy, ed. In Her Words: Women’s Writings in the History of Christian Thought. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1994. pp. 11-83. ISBN-13: 978-0687459728. $30.00

Historical figure reading from primary and secondary sources--minimum of 250 pages.

Reading for primary source research papers.


Recommended reading and resources

Optional extra credit reading:

Midterm: Justo González, The Changing Shape of Church History. St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2002. 168 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0827204904. $19.99.

Final Exam: Jostein Gaarder, Vita Brevis: A Letter to St. Augustine. London: Phoenix (Orion Publishing), 1998. 164 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0753804612. $6.12 on Amazon.

Livingstone, Elizabeth A., ed. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Revised ed. Oxford, 2006. ISBN13: 978-0198614425. $21.95.

Rampolla, Mary Lynn, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 6th ed. Boston: Bedford St. Martins, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0-312-53503-2. $20.95.

Historical maps at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical and interactive maps at http://mappinghistory.uoregon.edu/index.html.


Assignments and Assessment

Historical figure reading list (examined on midterm and final)

Research paper proposal                              10% of final grade

Midterm exam                                  20%

Ten-page research paper (or CHATS*)            30%

Final exam                                                       25%

Class attendance and participation                   15% (including devotional leadership requirement)

*An alternative Coordinated Historical and Theological Studies (CHATS) option is available for assignments for students also taking ST501 this fall in Seattle.





Relationship to curriculum


Meets M.Div. core requirement in Church History "A" (CHA)

M.A.: Church History/Theology


(3/11) This ECD is a reliable guide to the course design but is subject to modification.   Fall 2011