History of Christianity

Fall 2001


Mon. and Wed. 2:15 to 4:05
322 Chapman Hall

Office Hours: Mon. 4:05-5:00pm
Tues. & Thurs.11-12am


David R. Bains
Religion and Philosophy
319 Chapman Hall
phone: 726-2879

Course Description:

Surveys the course of the history of Christianity and acquaints students with the intellectual, institutional, and cultural heritage of the Christian church. This course examines developments through the eighteenth-century, giving special attention to the development of theology and church life in the Early Church and sixteenth-century Reformations.

Required Texts:

Gonzalez, Justo L. Story of Christianity: Volume 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of Reformation. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1984. ISBN 0060633158

. Story of Christianity Volume 2: The Reformation to the Present Day. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1984. ISBN 0060633166

Norris, Richard A., Jr., ed. The Christological Controversy. Edited by William G. Rusch, Sources of Early Christian Thought. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980. ISBN 0800614119

Bede. The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Translated by Bertram Colgrave. Edited by Judith McClure and Roger Collins. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-19-283866-0

Janz, Denis R., ed. A Reformation Reader: Primary Texts with Introductions. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999. ISBN 0-8006-3180-3

O'Malley, John W. The First Jesuits. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993. ISBN 067430313X

Wesley, John. A Plain Account of Christian Perfection. Trinity Press International, 1952. ISBN 0716200813

Office Hours:

I have set office hours for Mon. 4:05-5:00pm, and Tues. & Thurs.11-12am, but I am available to meet with students at many other times, as well. Please email, phone, or see me after class.

Attendance and Grading / Department of Religion and Philosophy:

The attendance policy of the Department of Religion and Philosophy will be enforced.

Roll will be taken each day. In a MW class a student may miss four classes without penalty. After the fifth absence your final grade will be reduced one letter grade. After the seventh absence the student will receive an FA for the course.

Three tardies count as one absence. If you come in after your name is called, you will need to notify your professor at the end of the class period, or else the tardy will become an absence

The Department of Religion and Philosophy grading scale is:

A = 95-100%

C+ = 78-81%

A- = 92-94%

C = 74-77%

B+ = 88-91%

C- = 70-73%

B = 85-87%

D+ = 66-69%

B- = 82-84%

D = 62-65%

D- = 60-62%

Papers that are turned in after the set due date will be penalized one full letter grade for each week that they are late.

Samford University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students with disabilities who seek accommodations must make their request through Kathleen Troiano in Disability Support Services. This office is located in Counseling Services on the lower level of Pittman Hall, or can be reached by calling 726-4078 or 726-2105. A faculty member will grant reasonable accommodations only upon notification from the Disability Support Services.

Academic Integrity:

Students are expected to observe high standards of intellectual integrity. (See the Student Handbook.) While study groups are only not permitted but encouraged, all work submitted in this class must be your own. Suspected lapses in academic integrity will be investigated and adjudicated in accordance with the university's values policy.

In all essays and papers you must follow a recognized system for citation of quotes and ideas. Since religion is an interdisciplinary field you may follow whatever system you prefer (e.g., MLA, Chicago, etc.). Other guidelines for essays will be provided.


Mid Term and Final (20% mid-term, 25% final).

Major Essays (25%) On Christology and Reformation Theology.

Short Essays and Participation (20%) Reading, analysis, and reflection are the backbone of this course. Students need to come to class prepared to discuss assigned readings. Study questions will normally be provided to guide your reading. Occasional essays will also be assigned. These exercises are designed to hone your skills in analysis and writing. (Initial paper on acts, two class preparation papers on Reformation.)

Schedule and Readings:

These assignments are subject to change.

This course focuses on the careful study of primary texts (in English translation). González, The Story of Christianity is a readable, scholarly, and fairly comprehensive history of Early and Western Christianity. It is assigned to provide context and continuity for the course. Use it to learn what you need to know. Focus your readings on the primary sources.

  1. Aug. 27 Introduction
  2. Aug. 29 New Testament and the early church
    Acts of the Apostles
    González, I:xv-xvii, 8-38
    Essay A: What is the "thesis" of the historical narrative presented in the Acts of the Apostles? What does it claim Christianity is and how did it spread? Write a 2 to 5 page essay in which you address these questions. Be sure to substantiate your argument with specific references to the text. Consider the relationship of Christianity to Judaism, the Roman Empire, Pagan religions, and Hellenistic philosophy.
    You may consult commentaries or study bibles, but be sure to list them in your bibliography.
  3. Sept. 3 Apostles and Martyrs
    Church of Smyrna,
    Martyrdom of Polycarp
    The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity
    González, I:39-57
  4. Sept. 5 Early Christianities–the formation of orthodoxy
    Norris, 1-17 (introduction)
    Irenæus of Lyon, "Against Heresies," in Norris, 49-60 and
    Book 3: Ch. 1-4 [on apostolic tradition and scripture]
    Gnosticism selections: The Gospel of Truth and the Gospel of Philip from the Nag Hammadi Library in English
    Tertullian in Norris, 61-72
    González, I:58-81
    Melito of Sardis, "A Homily on the Passover," in Norris, 33-47
  5. Sept. 10 Bishops, Confessors, Ascetics
    Origen in Norris, 73-82
    Chapters 1-14 from
    Athanasius, Life of Antony
    González, I:83-90, 113-157
  6. Sept. 12 Christological Controversy I: Arians and Reaction
    Athanasius, Apollarnarius of Laodicea, and Theodore of Mopsuestia in Norris, 17-26, 83-122
    González I: 158-188
  7. Sept. 17 Christological Controversy II: Road to Chalcedon
    Norris, 26-31, 123-159
    González I: 251-265
    Essay on Christology
  8. Sept. 19 Eastern Christianity: Mysticism and Sacraments
    selections from Pseudo-Dionysius, Symeon the New Theologian, and Gregory Palamas, in William C. Placher, ed., Readings in the History of Christian Theology Volume 1: From the Reformation to the Present (Louisville: Westminster / John Knox Press, 1988), 82-84, 93-99.
  9. Sept. 24 Foundations of Western Christianity
    selections from Pelagius, Augustine, and Western Synods in Henry Bettenson and Chris Maunder, eds., Documents of the Christian Church (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1999), 57-68.
    Rule of St. Benedict (this site contains selections only)
    Foundation Charter of Cluny, 910
    William of St. Thierry, A description of Clairvaux c. 1143
    González I: 207-219, 231-250
  10. Sept. 26 Christianity on the Frontier
    Bede p. 300-303, sections [establishment of Roman Christianity among Anglo-Saxons] 1.1-1.10, 1.15-1.34
  11. Oct. 1 Medieval Church: Quest for Unity and Miracles
    Bede [note about Irish Easter] 2.4, [King Edwin and the conversion of Northumbria] 2.9-20, [Good King Oswald] 2.1-2.3, [Eorcengota and Æthelburh] 3.8 [Miracles of King Oswald's relics] 3.9-3.13, [Synod of Whitby] 3.25, [various stories: South Saxons, holy women] 4.12-24,[heavenly tour, other miracles, and Catholic Easter at Iona] 5.12-15
  12. Oct. 3 Topics Continued.
    González I: 277-291, 301-323
    González I: 266-276, 292-300, 324-341
  13. Oct. 8 Investiture Controversy
  14. Oct. 10 MIDTERM
  15. Oct. 15 Fall Break -- No Classes

  16. Oct. 17 Middle Ages: Crusades, Cathedrals, and Movements for Reform
    Bontiface VIII, Unam Sanctam, in Janz, 13.
    González I: 277-291, 301-323
    González I: 266-276, 292-300, 324-341
  17. Oct. 22 Middle Ages: Mendicants, Western Schism, Conciliarism
    Thomas á Kempis, Imitation of Christ in Janz, 5-13
    Jacobus Faber Stapulensis, Introduction to the Commentary on the Psalms, in Janz, 26-29
    The Fascilulus Morum, in Janz ,29-37
    Dietrich Kolde, Mirror for Christians, 54-57
    González I: 342-361
  18. Oct. 24 Late Medieval Religious Experience and Indulgences
    Documents on Indulgences in Janz 51-54
    Ninety-five Theses in Janz, 81-86
    González I: 362-374, II:6-13
  19. Oct. 29 Martin Luther's Protest
    Meditation on Christ's Passion in Janz, 86-90
    To the Christian Nobility in Janz, 90-98
    The Freedom of a Christian in Janz, 98-106
    Prefaces to the NT and OT in Janz, 106-111
    González II: 14-37
    Autobiographical selections in Janz, 71-76, 77-78 [light]
  20. Oct. 31 Luther and Lutheranism
    Small Catechism, 110-121
    Smalclad Articles, 122-128
    Formula of Concord, 145-149
    Smalclad Articles, 128-138
  21. Nov. 5 Roman Catholic Response
    Cajetan, On Faith and Works in Janz, 333-346
    Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification
    González II: 38-45
  22. Nov. 7 Zwingli, Bucer, and the Reformed tradition
    selections from Zwingli in Janz, 154-162
    Twelve Articles of the Peasants, 165-167
    González II: 46-52
    Erasmus, In Praise of Folly, 57-69
  23. Nov. 12 Anabaptists: Radical Protest
    Hubmaier, Catechism, 170-176
    Trial and Martyrdom of Michael Sattler in Janz, 180-183
    Hans Derick, Concerning True Love in Janz, 183-190
    González II: 53-60
  24. Nov. 14 Views of Christian Community: Anabaptist and Calvinist
    Hubmaier on Heretics, 170-172
    Walpot in Janz, 194-201
    Calvin, Geneva Ordinances, 214-218
    Calvin, Institutes, 280-282 (4.20.1-3), 273 (4.2.4)
    documents on Servetus Affair in Janz, 222-226
    González II: 61-71
  25. Nov. 19 Reformed Theology–Calvin's Institutes
    Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, selections from Janz, 226-244, 253-268, 278-282
    Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.17.10-12 [on the presence of Christ in the supper]
    Rest of the selections from the Institutes in Janz. Book 4, Chapters 16 and 17 in entirety (Baptism and Lord's Supper)
  26. Nov. 22 Thanksgiving Break -- No Classes

  27. Nov. 26 Reformation in England
    Nota Bene: In sixteenth-century English the semicolon (;) is the most important punctuation mark. Twenty-first century readers are well advised to watch for it carefully and to treat it basically like a period. Otherwise your eyes may glaze over as you make you way through the 250-word sentences.
    Cranmer, A Sermon on the Salvation of Mankind, 303-309
    Thirty-Nine Articles, 317-324
    González II: 70-85
    Cranmer, Preface to the Great Bible, 294-302
    Act of Supremacy, 285
    Act of Uniformity, 313-314
  28. Nov. 28 Catholic Reformation and the Society of Jesus
    O'Mally, First Jesuits TBA
    González II: 110-121
  29. Dec. 3 Catholic Reformation and the Society of Jesus
    O'Mally, First Jesuits TBA
    González II: 132-163, 179-184
  30. Dec. 5 Pietism and Evangelicalism
    Wesley, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection
    González II: 205-216