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CH506x Scalise

                                                                                                                        Spring 2012









An introductory overview of the history of Christianity in America. The class will explore some of the major persons, ideas, and movements that have shaped Christian faith and practice in North America. The course will also involve students in opportunities for more intensive pursuit and presentation of their particular interests in the story of North American Christianity.


Significance for life and ministry

Knowledge of basic themes, patterns, and events in the history of Christianity in America is indispensable for Christian ministers who seek to be leaders of the church and reliable interpreters of the faith in the North American context. Ministers with a sense of historical perspective on American Christianity will be able to comprehend its current issues more thoroughly and address its present problems more effectively. Also, through improving their capacity for critical evaluation of historical sources, students will have the opportunity to acquire transferable analytical and writing skills, which will be useful in observing, understanding, and influencing contemporary situations of ministry.


Learning Outcomes

(1) To introduce students to some of the major people, movements, issues, and themes in the history of Christianity in North America (cognitive)—assessed by final exam.

(2) To guide students in investigating some aspects of the historical development of American religious diversity (cognitive/affective)—assessed by historical figure class presentations.

(3) To assist students in appropriating spiritual insights and resources from American history for their own Christian growth and ministry (affective)—assessed by devotional leadership.

(4) To enable students to explore in detail the life and thought of one North American historical figure and present some aspect(s) of their study to the class (instrumental)—assessed by historical figure reading list and class presentation.

(5) To engage students in historical research focused upon constructing and defending a historical argument (thesis) based upon critical evaluation of sources (instrumental)—assessed by research paper.


Course Format

Course sessions will include lectures, class discussions, student presentations, small group consultations, and historical document workshops. The class will meet for ten three-hour sessions, Wednesdays, 1-4 p.m., March 28-May 30.


Required Reading

Cullen, Jim. Essaying the Past: How to Read, Write, and Think about History. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. 208pp. ISBN-13: 978-1405182799. $21.95.

Gaustad, Edwin S. and Mark A. Noll, eds. A Documentary History of Religion in America to 1877. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. 633pp. ISBN-13: 978-0802822291. $60.00.

MacHaffie, Barbara J. Her Story: Women in Christian Tradition. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006. 404pp. (Read pp. 125-344). ISBN-13: 978-0800638269.404pp. $39.00.

            Noll, Mark A. A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992. 592pp. ISBN-13: 978-0802806512. $50.00.

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

            Reading for research paper critically evaluating primary sources.


Recommended Reading and Resources

            Extra Credit Reading—Choose one. Optional 3-pg. extra credit paper due May 2.

            Orsi, Robert A. The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880-1950. Third ed. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 2010. 360pp. ISBN-13: 978-0300157529. $19.00.

Robeck, Cecil M., Jr. The Azusa Street Mission and Revival: The Birth of the Global Pentecostal Movement. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006. 352pp. ISBN-13: 9781418506247. $16.99

Sweeney, Douglas A. The American Evangelical Story: A History of the Movement. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005. 208pp. ISBN-13: 978-0-8010-2658-4. $20.00.     

            Recommended resources:

            Gaustad, Edwin S. and Mark A. Noll, eds. A Documentary History of Religion in America Since 1877. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. 352pp. ISBN-13: 978-0802822307. $60.00.

Rampolla, Mary Lynn, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 6th ed. Boston: Bedford St. Martins, 2010. 160 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0312535032. $20.95.

            Reid, Daniel G., et al., eds. Concise Dictionary of Christianity in America. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2002. 378pp. ISBN 13: 978-1-57910-969-1. $31.20.

Selected films portraying American religious history (extra credit).


Assignments and Assessment

1. Historical figure reading list                   5% of final grade

2. Research paper proposal            10%

3. Historical figure presentation                  20%

4. Ten-page research paper             30%

5. Final exam                                         25%

6. Class attendance and participation           10% (includes devotional leadership requirement)


Prerequisites: None.


Relationship to Curriculum

Meets M.Div. core requirement Church History "C" (CHC); M.A.: Church History/Theology.



(6/11)   This ECD is a reliable guide to the course design but is subject to modification. Spring 2012