History of the Early Church

The early centuries (i.e. to the 4th or 5th centuries) of the Christian church’s history were a formative period where the doctrine was consolidated and institutional structures were established. As such, this period is fundamentally important to an understanding of the subsequent history of the church.

The introductory unit History of the Early Church provides an approach to the study of church history, with particular reference to the Early Church period. In doing so, it sets the context for doctrinal and institutional development, with an analysis of the various conflicts, challenges, and relationships that occurred and which set the foundation for the ongoing development of the church. The unit may serve as a Core unit and part of a Major in Church History within the Bachelor awards.

Study Level



Humanities in the Christian Tradition

Sub Discipline

Church History

Credit Points






Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit students will be able to:

  1. identify the cultural, political, and religious factors that influenced the development of the early church;
  2. review the major challenges and controversies that arose in the Early Church period;
  3. analyse the contribution of selected people and movements to the development of the church’s thought and structures;
  4. interpret individual primary historical documents in their social context;
  5. utilise appropriate methods of historical inquiry to construct a coherent historical argument in written form.
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