Early Church History

A look at the first 600 years of the early Church

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Early Church History

‘The story of the Church begins at Pentecost with a frightened group of disciples; it progresses through an almost frenetic attempt to win over the outside world before the Second Coming; it focuses on an epic struggle with the most powerful empire of the ancient world; it reaches its high point with the conversion of that empire to the new faith; it closes with the gradual decline of a great civilization and the emergence of a new world.’                  

Joseph Kelly

As historian Joseph Kelly suggests, to study early church history is to study the rise, character, and influence of one of the most dynamic movements in world history: Christianity. This foundational church history subject introduces you to the history of Christianity during its crucial first millennium, although with particular emphasis on the Christian movement’s formative first six hundred years.

This subject encompasses the contributions of key early leaders such as the Apostolic Fathers and early Christian Apologists, and explores early challenges to the Christian movement from within and without. Close attention is given throughout to church-state relations and to the formulation of Christian theology by prominent theologians and significant councils, especially those convened at Nicaea (AD 325) and Chalcedon (AD 451). This subject also examines early Christian monasticism; issues of ethnicity, gender, and the role of women in the church; migration, mission and church expansion; divisions between East and West; and later claims of the Bishop of Rome to supremacy amid a crumbling Roman Empire. Consistent attention is given to understanding the broader social, cultural, intellectual and political contexts of the Graeco-Roman world in which Christianity developed. This subject also introduces you to essential skills and techniques in the study of history.

Starting 4 March, our Early Church History subject will be taught weekly at our Canberra campus every Thursday evening from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. As an Auditing student, you get to sit in and participate in lectures without needing to complete assignments. (You will therefore also receive no credit towards other awards.) You will also get Community Borrower privileges to St Mark’s theological library resources as part of the auditing fee. Best of all, there are no entry requirements to participate.

Single Subject Study

Single Subject Study gives you the flexibility and the credit, without the commitment of a full degree. Each successful subject completion is creditable towards a Bachelor of Theology. As a Single Subject with CSU, you get to access all subject materials and resources through our online learning environment. There will be assessed assignments in this subject study.

Interested? Just enrol as a Single Subject student through CSU. (Look for THL131/410 Early Church History.)

About the lecturer

Dr Michael Gladwin

About the lecturer

Dr Michael Gladwin is Senior Lecturer in History at Charles Sturt University’s School of Theology. His research interests include the religious and cultural history of Australia and the British Empire, particularly the relationship between religion and war in Australian history. He is currently editor of St Mark’s Review, one of Australia’s leading theological journals.

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Apply to audit today!

It’s easy to sign up — just fill in our secure online form below and pay by credit card. If you have further questions, just called our front office on 02 6272 6252 during office hours, Mondays to Fridays.

The cost of auditing this subject is $290.

You may apply to audit more than one subject in this application form. 

Auditing 2021 Session 1 Application Form

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