Origins and Development of the Early Church


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.


UoN Broken Bay Instit - Online

  • Semester 2 - 2016

Learning Outcomes

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)

This course replaces the following course(s): THEO6002. Students who have successfully completed THEO6002 are not eligible to enrol in RELT6002.


This course replaces THEO6002. If you have successfully completed THEO6002 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assessment Items

Online Learning Activity: Discussion Forum

In Term Test: Take-Home Exam

Written Assignment: Document Study

Essay: Research Essay

Contact Hours

UoN Broken Bay Instit - Online


Online 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term