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CH502X: Medieval and Reformation History CH502X

Winter 2012




CH502: Medieval and Reformation History                                              


An introductory overview of the history of Christianity and historical theology from the end of the sixth century through the middle of the sixteenth century. In addition to providing a basic narrative history of Christianity in the West during this period, the course will involve students in opportunities for more intensive exploration of their particular interests in the story of Christianity during the medieval and Reformation periods.


Significance for life and ministry

Knowledge of the history of Christianity during the Middle Ages and Reformation is foundational for understanding the development of Protestant religious traditions, modern methods of biblical interpretation, higher education, systematic approaches to Christian doctrine, the relationship of church and state, different views of the sacraments, and the historical formation of Christian spirituality. Also, through improving their capacity for the critical comparison of primary sources, students will have the opportunity to acquire transferable analytical and writing skills, which will be useful in observing, interpreting, and evaluating contemporary situations of ministry.


Learning Outcomes

(1) To introduce students to some of the major people, movements, doctrines, and themes in the history of Christianity in the Middle Ages and Reformation (cognitive)—assessed by midterm and final exam.

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

(3) To enable students to explore in detail the life and thought of one specific historical figure from the period surveyed in the course (cognitive/affective)—assessed by historical figure reading list and question on final exam.

(4) To engage students in historical research focused upon critical comparison of two (or more) sources from the medieval and/or Reformation periods (instrumental)—assessed by research paper.

(5) To offer students the opportunity to become familiar with the shape of medieval Catholicism and the formative contexts and early development of Protestant religious traditions (cognitive)—assessed by midterm and final exams.


Course Format

Course sessions will include lectures, class discussions, and document workshops. The class will meet for ten three-hour sessions, Wednesdays 1-4 p.m., January 4 - March 7.

Required Reading

Bettenson, Henry, and Chris Maunder, eds. Documents of the Christian Church, third ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999 (pp. 106-272). ISBN-13: 978-0192880710. $29.95. (When Fourth edition becomes available, it will be acceptable, as well as E-book editions.)

Chenu, Marie-Dominique. Aquinas and His Role in Theology. Collegeville, MN: Michael Glazier (Liturgical Press), 2002. 149 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0814650790. $19.95.

Lindberg, Carter. The European Reformations. 2nd ed. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell (Wiley-Blackwell), 2009. 472 pp. ISBN-13: 978-1405180672. $54.95.

Logan, F. Donald. A History of the Church in the Middle Ages. New York: Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group), 2002. 353 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0415132893. (When Second edition becomes available in 2012, it will be acceptable.) $37.95.

Oden, Amy, ed. In Her Words: Womenís Writings in the History of Christian Thought. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1994 (pp. 87-215). ISBN-13: 978-0687459728. $30.00.


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

Reading for research paper comparing primary sources.


Recommended Reading and Resources

Optional extra credit readings:

Buechner, Frederick. Godric. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1983. ISBN-13: 978-0060611620. $14.

Stjerna, Kirsi. Women and the Reformation. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-1405114233. $43.95.

Recommended resources:

Livingstone, Elizabeth A., ed. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Revised ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-0198614425. $21.95.

Rampolla, Mary Lynn, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 6th ed. Boston: Bedford /St. Martinís, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0312535032. $20.95.

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

Selected films portraying the Middle Ages and Reformation (extra credit option).


Assignments and Assessment

1. Historical figure reading list (evaluated by exam)

2. Research paper proposal       10% of final grade

3. Midterm exam                                     20%

4. Ten-page research paper             30%

5. Final exam                                         25%

6. Class attendance and participation     15% (includes devotional leadership requirement)


Prerequisites: None.


Relationship to Curriculum

Meets M.Div. core requirement Church History "B" (CHB); M.A.T.: Church History/Theology.


(5/11) This ECD is a reliable guide to the course design but is subject to modification.   Winter 2012