HS501 Church History: from the Early Church to the Reformation

HS501 Church History: From the Early Church to the Reformation

Winter 2013, Jan. 7 – March 24 William Travis Bethel Seminary E-mail:

Course Description:

This course is an introduction to the major movements, persons, and ideas in Christian history from the post-New Testament era through the fifteenth century.


  1. Recount the major events and ideas occurring in the Church from its beginnings to the sixteenth century.
  2. Describe the central teachings of the major figures in the history of the Church to the time prior to the Reformation.
  3. Engage in the analysis of and writing on selected primary documents in church history.
  4. Integrate knowledge of church history with concerns and issues in the church today.


Gonzalez, Justo. The Story of Christianity, vol. 1, Early Church to Reformation. Revised and updated edition. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2010. ISBN 9780061855887

Bettenson, Henry and Chris Maunder, eds. Documents of the Christian Church, 4th edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN 9780199568987

Course requirements & grading:

Three tests on course texts 30%

Three document analyses 30%

One essay exam on lectures 30%

Online discussion forum 10%

Grading: A 93%, A- 90%, B+ 87%, B 83%, B- 80%, C+ 77%, C 73%, C- 70%, D+ 67%,D 63%, F less than 60%

Due Dates: see the HS501 Schedule

Late Policy: 5 points off an assignment for each day late

Course Evaluations:

Student course assessments are an important part of course development and enhancement. In order to recognize the value of your input and to encourage you to provide that input. Completing the course

evaluation at the end of this course is included as a component of class participation. While your responses are anonymous, failure to submit an electronic evaluation will reduce your course grade by 2%. For any questions regarding the course evaluation process, please go to https://bethelnet.bethel.edu/ureg/bssp/eval_index.

Academic Course Policies:

Please familiarize yourself with the catalog requirements as specified in Academic Course Policies document found on the Registrar's website at: https://bethelnet.bethel.edu/ureg/bssp/acp/. You are responsible for this information and any academic violations, such as plagiarism, could result in an “F” in the course.


Three tests will be given, covering material from the Gonzalez and Bettenson texts. The tests will consist of multiple choice, true-false, and matching questions. Each test will be taken at the beginning of class on the day assigned. Study items for both texts are listed at the end of the syllabus. All the Bettenson documents will be discussed on class days prior to the tests.

Online Discussion Forum

1.A discussion forum, based on an assigned Bettenson reading. To get the discussion started, questions about the readings will be posed. Each student will do an initial post of200-300 words, addressing the questions posed.

2.After the initial post, students will make two 100-word response posts to posts made by others in the class.

Essay Exam

1.  An essay exam, covering the material in the class lectures, will be given on the last class day, March 18.

2.  A list of possible topics for the exam will be distributed two weeks prior to the exam. From the list, several of the topics will be chosen by the instructor for the exam.

Document Analyses

Documents are the heart and soul of history study. The Bettenson text provides short sections of many sources, but this assignment allows the student to engage more complete documents and thereby get a better feel for the basis of historical research.

Students will write an analysis of each of the three documents listed below (see Schedule/Assignments for dates and info on submitting the analyses).

·  Tertullian, “The Shows,” at http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-03/anf03-09.htm#P890

·  John Chrysostom, “On Vainglory and the Right Way for Parents to Bring Up Their Children,” at http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/books/Chrysostom--Vainglory_and_Children.pdf

·  Julian of Norwich, Julian of Norwich: Showings, 125-153.

The analysis should be 1500 to 1800 words (write in double-space please) and should address the following questions—you will be graded on how well you handle these questions and on how well you write. Consult the Writing Guidelines for help on doing the paper.

a. What is the author saying: What is/are the central contention(s) or themes of the document; what arguments does the author marshal in support of the contention(s) or what evidence does the author give to support the themes.

b. How convincing is the author: Distinguish between stronger and weaker arguments, or between stronger and weaker themes.

c. How might the document apply in today's church: E.g., should some action be taken?, is there some new understanding of the practice of the faith? What should not be applied to today’s church?

Integrative Portfolio: This assignment has been identified as a required integrative assignment that you may wish to review and reference in the future.

HS501 Schedule/Assignments

Week 1Jan7 -13

·  Read Gonzalez 13-23, 41-81, Bettenson: test 1, first 5 readings

·  Begin studying for test 1

·  Begin reading Tertullian for document analysis one

Week 2Jan 14-20

·  Read Gonzalez 83-126, Bettenson: test 1, readings 6-10

·  Continue working on document analysis one

Week 3Jan 21-27

·  MLK Day, January 21 – No Class

·  Read Gonzalez 131-197, Bettenson: test 2, readings 1-5

·  Complete study for test 1

·  Submit Document Analysis One by 11:59 pm Wednesday, January 23

Week 4 Jan 28 – Feb 3

·  Read Gonzalez 199-258, Bettenson, test 2, readings 6-10

·  Take test 1 in class

·  Begin reading Chrysostom for document analysis two

·  Begin studying for test 2

Week 5 Feb 4-10

·  Winter Reading Week 1 - NO CLASS

·  Online Discussion Feb 4-7

·  Continue working on document analysis two

·  Continue studying for test 2

Week 6 Feb 11-17

·  Winter Reading Week 2 – NO CLASS

·  Submit Document Analysis Two by 11:59p, Wednesday Feb 13

·  Complete study for test 2

Week 7 Feb 18-24

·  Take test 2 in class

·  Read Gonzalez 269-356, Bettenson: test 3, readings 1-5

·  Begin studying for test 3

Week 8 Feb 25 – March 3

·  Read Gonzalez 357-431, Bettenson: test 3, readings 6-10

·  Begin reading Julian of Norwich for document analysis three

·  Complete study for test 3

Week 9 March 4-10

·  Take test 3 in class

·  Continue working on document analysis three

·  Start preparation for the essay exam

Week 10 March 11-17

·  Submit document analysis three by 11:59p on Wednesday, March 13

·  Continue Preparing for the essay exam

Week 11 March 18-24

·  Take Essay Exam in class

·  Submit course evaluation by end of week


·  Please contact the instructor as soon as possible if disability-related accommodations are needed. Accommodations for students with documented disabilities are set up through the office of Disability Services. Contact Disability Services at 651-638-6833. You may visit www.bethel.edu/disability for further, detailed information.


·  Gonzalez

Test One:

Diaspora Judaism Irenaeus

Stoicism Clement of Alexandria

Persecution: Domitian Tertullian: Prescription against Heretics

Ignatius of Antioch Tertullian: Montanism

Persecution: Marcus Aurelius Origen

Celsus: Criticism against Christianity Decius

Apologists: Tatian and Justin The Lapsed: Cyprian and Novatian

Arguments of the Apologists Christian Worship

Gnosticism Organization of the Church

Marcion Missionary Methods

Apostolic Succession Persecution: Galerius

Test Two:

Licinius Julian’s Religious Policy

Constantine: conversion Athanasius: the early years

Impact of the New Order Athanasius: exile

Constantine: churches Macrina

Eusebius: official theology Basil the Great

Origins of Monasticism Gregory Nazianzus

Anthony Ambrose: the bishop and the throne

Pachomius Chrysostom: return to wilderness

Martin of Tours Jerome

Donatist Schism: roots Augustine: path to faith

Outbreak of the Arian Controversy Beyond the Borders: east

Council of Nicea

Test Three:

The Barbarian Kingdoms: Britain Pope Innocent III

Pope Gregory I Anselm, Abelard

Arab Conquests Aquinas

Christology: Apollinaris, Nestorius, Eutyches Middle Ages: new conditions

Eastern Church: further debates Boniface VIII

Eastern Church: after the Arab conquests Great Western Schism

Charlemagne: theological activity Conciliar Movement

Cluniac Reform John Wycliff

Papal Reform John Huss

The First Crusade Savonarola

Consequences of the Crusades Later Course of Scholasticism

Mendicant Orders Xavier, Di Nobili, Ricci (477-482)


Test One:

Tacitus, pp. 1-2

Pliny’s approach to prosecuting Christians, 3-4

Tertullian on loyalty to the emperor, 8-9

Papias, Tradition of the Elders, 28-30

Irenaeus on the recapitulation theory, 31-33

Gnosticism, 37-39

The Didache on prophets, 69-70

Justin on church worship, 70-71

Irenaeus on succession, 72-74

Cyprian on unity and the episcopate, 76-78

Test Two:

Constantine’s support of the church, 17-19

Hosius, bishop of Cordova, to Constantius, 20-21

Julian (the Apostate) on Christianity, 21-22

Theodosius I on catholic and heretic, 23-24

Monarchianism, 40-41

Augustine on two kinds of assistance, 58-59

Julius on the claims of Rome, 84

The African bishops on appeals to Rome, 86-87

God’s twofold ignorance, as seen by Pelagius’ opposition to Augustine, 55

Parallel jurisdiction between Rome and Constantinople, 87-88

Test Three:

Zeno, pp. 93-95

Monothelitism, 97-98

Iconoclasm, 98-99

Nicholas I, 99-101

Innocent III, Clericos Laicos, 119-120

Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, 121-122

Benedict Rule, excommunication, 124-126

Aquinas on Inquisition, 141-142

Anselm on atonement, 146-147

Aquinas on the Incarnation, 149-151