Origins and Development of the Early Church

10 Units

This course surveys the development of the Christian Church from its beginnings in Jewish Christianity through to the early Middle Ages. Main areas include the transition from insecurity and persecution to acceptance as the religion of the empire; the Church Fathers and the beginnings of Christian theology and spirituality; the effects of tribal invasions, the spread of Islam and divisions between East and West in the Church.

Faculty Faculty of Education and Arts
School School of Humanities and Social Science
Availability Semester 2 - 2014 (Seminar - Broken Bay Institute)
Semester 2 - 2014 (UoN Broken Bay Institute - Online)

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to: 1. Demonstrate advanced understanding of the beginnings and early development of the Christian Church with a survey overview; 2. Relate their understanding of the development of the Christian churches to factors influencing the history of the Roman Empire; 3. Examine illustrative examples of early Christian life and theology as the expression of a changing Christian identity under the pressure of different social contexts; 4. Make critical use of primary sources in constructing a historical account.


The course will be organised around the following themes:

  1. Beginnings and growth to 300CE, including the origins in Palestine, spread within the Empire, opposition and persecution, early organisation and ritual.
  2. Consolidation from 300CE, including the influence of Constantine, theological controversies and development, changing spirituality.
  3. The Church in a declining Empire, including reactions to tribal invasions and the emergence of Islam, growth of monasticism.
Replacing Course(s) THEO6002
Transition Students who have previously completed THEO6002 will not be permitted to enrol in RELT6002.
Industrial Experience 0
Assumed Knowledge Nil
Modes of Delivery Distance Learning : IT Based
Flexible Delivery / Student Centred Learning
Teaching Methods Lecture
Self Directed Learning
Assessment Items
  • Essays / Written Assignments - 1 x 1,200 words analysis of primary source document (20% of total mark) 1 x 2,400 words research essay (40% of total mark)
  • Examination: Take Home - 4 x 300 words take-home examination (20% of total mark)
  • Online Discussion - 4 x 300 words discussion board contribution (20% of total mark)
Contact Hours
  • Lecture: for 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
  • Self Directed Learning: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Compulsory Components None listed
Course Materials None listed
Timetable 2014 Course Timetables for RELT6002

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