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Coleman M. Ford
The Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary,
2825 Lexington Road,
Louisville, Kentucky 40280
[email protected]
“To do theology without
history is to study cut
flowers, not living plants”
(Michael Blecker)
“There can be no healthy
theology without a solid
grounding in the Fathers”
(Edward T. Oakes)
“Every Christian ought to
be a good historian”
(Caleb Evans)
After an overview of the significance of studying the
history of Christianity, this course traces the major
doctrinal and ecclesiological developments in the
Ancient and early Medieval Church within the context of
their times—from the letters of Ignatius of Antioch
through to the Trinitarian and Christological debates of
the 4th and 5th centuries, from the Irish Mission of Patrick
through to the rise of the Papacy and medieval Roman
Catholicism. Special attention is given to certain major
theologians of the church, including Athanasius,
Augustine, and Anselm.
The objective of the course is basically threefold. First,
to provide the student with a basic understanding of the
key events and issues in the history of the Ancient and
Medieval Church. Second, to foster within the student
an awareness of and appreciation for the achievements of
the Ancient and Medieval Church. Third and final, to
furnish the student with models for imitation in his/her
Christian life (see Hebrews 11:1–12:3; 13:7).
Augustine, Confessions, trans. R.S. Pine-Coffin
(Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1961).
Tim Dowley, ed., Introduction to the History of
Christianity (2nd ed.; Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press,
Michael A.G. Haykin, Patrick of Ireland: His Life and
Impact (Christian Focus, 2014).
Fall, 2015
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1. The course will meet in September, 2015. There will be required reading for each of the days
that the course meets. The respective reading for each of the lectures will be detailed after
each of the lecture titles. Summaries of this required reading will account for 60% of the final
mark. These summaries are to be e-mailed to the professor by November 15, 2015.
2. For those completing the diploma, there will also be two papers, which constitute the
remaining 40% of the final mark. The first of these papers is to be on the spirituality of
Augustine’s Confessions and the second paper is to be a book review of Haykin, Patrick of
Ireland: His Life and Impact. They are to be e-mailed to the professor by December 7, 2015.
The body of each of these papers, excluding footnotes, is to be roughly 2,000 words and
type-written. Their format is to follow Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term
Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (8th ed.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012).
Each paper should include a title-page (with the title of the paper, name of the course and the
student’s name), full documentation (in footnote form), and bibliography—the latter two
items following the format laid out by Turabian. Marks will be deducted for numerous
grammar and spelling errors. Papers submitted late without advance permission will receive
at best a grade of C. Extensions will be granted in the case of such things as family or
personal illness.
3. For those completing the certificate, choose two figures discussed in the lectures and provide
a short biography on each. In no more than 750 words, briefly discuss their background, their
major contribution to church history, and why it is important for Christians to know who they
were. You may draw in material from the lectures and reading as it pertains to your chosen
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Lecture 1: Introduction to the course & The Significance of Church History
Lectures 2–3: The Ancient Church & the Roman Empire
Lecture 4: Gnosticism: An Introduction
Lectures 5–6: Irenaeus of Lyons (c.130–c.202)
Lecture 7: The Epistle to Diognetus
Lecture 8: “The New Prophecy”
Lecture 9: Tertullian (c.160–c.225), Apologist for “The New Prophecy”
Lecture 10: Cyprian of Carthage (c. 200–258)
Lecture 11: The Canon of the New Testament
Lecture 12: The Constantinian Turning-Point
Lecture 13: Early Monasticism
Lecture 14: Athanasius (c.295–373), the Challenge of Arianism, and the Council of Nicaea (325)
Lecture 15: Basil of Caesarea (c. 330–379) and the Council of Constantinople (381)
Lectures 16–17: Augustine of Hippo (354–430) and his Confessions
Lecture 18: Augustine and the Fall of the Western Roman Empire
Lecture 19: Leo I (d. 461) and the Emergence of the Papacy
Lecture 20–21: Patrick (c.389–461) and the Evangelization of Ireland
Lecture 22: The Celtic Church and the Synod of Whitby (664)
Lecture 23: The Rise of Islam and the Christian Response
Lecture 24: The Carolingian & Anglo-Saxon Churches, & Anselm of Canterbury (c.1033–1109)