Historical Studies

History is the science of individuals in time. By using the tools of bibliography, students learn that the important task of church history is to ponder meanings, not just to list information; to interpret, but not to predict. History inflames the student’s passion for God and so helps build the groundwork both for Christian living and Christian ministry.

Objectives for students

  • Acquire an orderly grasp of the church’s development as an institution from the first century to the contemporary world;
  • Employ sound methods for interpreting artifacts of the past;
  • Interpret key events in the church’s struggle with persecution, success, heresy, and schism;
  • Analyze the role of church tradition as it relates to the Bible;
  • Explore the efforts of Christian leaders to maintain the church’s identity and mission as it engaged cultures; and
  • Find wisdom for pursuing spiritual growth through the transforming power of God.

Survey of Christianity

HS 501 • Church History: From the Early Church to the Reformation 1.5 Credits

An introduction to the major movements within Christian history from the beginnings of the church to the 16th century. Students will also be introduced to basic methodology and bibliographical tools used in the study of the past.

HS 502 • Church History: The Church in the Modern World 1.5 Credits

An introduction to the major movements within Christian history since the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Students will also be involved in primary research in the field of church history.
Prerequisites: HS 501.

HS 510 • Church History Survey 3 Credits

Introduction to the major movements, ideas, figures, and events within Christian history from the beginnings of the Church to the present era. Introduction to basic methodology and bibliographical tools used to study the past. Analysis of primary and secondary church history materials. Application of ecclesiastical and doctrinal traditions of the past to contemporary movements, theological thinking, and Christian ministries.

HS 601 • History of Christian Thought: The Early Church to Scholasticism 1.5,3 Credits

A survey of the major historical, cultural, and theological factors influencing the development of doctrine to Aquinas, with major analysis of the work of the Ante- and Post-Nicene councils and their subsequent influence on the articulation of the structure of theological thought.
Prerequisites: HS 510. Special Notes: Crosslisted with TS 601.

HS 602 • History of Christian Thought: Scholasticism to Enlightenment 1.5,3 Credits

An analysis of theological renewal based on inductive study from the writings of Wycliffe, Hus, Luther, Calvin, the Anabaptists, Elizabethan-American Puritans, and John Wesley.
Prerequisites: HS 510. Special Notes: Crosslisted with TS 602.

HS 603 • History of Christian Thought: 19th Century to the Present 1.5,3 Credits

An analysis of contemporary theology as it is reflected in the formative periods of the 19th to the present, with particular reference to the modern era and its significance to contemporary church life.
Prerequisites: HS 510. Special Notes: Crosslisted with TS 603.

HS 611 • Women in the Christian Tradition 1.5,3 Credits

An exploration of the life, thought, and context of selected Christian women across the centuries. Issues of public values, personal identity, and group affiliations have long been important to this discussion. Since the mid-19th century, and particularly in the dramatic changes in the roles and experience of women since WWII, interpretive voices (e.g., in the literature) have notably both reflected and shaped the realities. The goal of this course is to engage the "cloud of woman-witnesses," in their cultures, in a manner that will enlighten and inspire one's own life.

HS 640 • Christian Lives and Spirituality in History 1.5 Credits

This course tells the story of Christianity through the life experiences of selected men and women in their historical contexts. Utilizing several varieties of literature, these people are valued both as insightful mentors and as unique persons in need of God's grace and human community. Students are invited to reflect on their own spiritual journeys and vocations.
Prerequisites:TS 512.

HS 703 • Christian Classics 1.5,3 Credits

An evaluation of important Christian literature, from Augustine's Confessions to C.S. Lewis' Till We have Faces. Attention will be directed to the context of several types of classics, as well as to their authors and messages.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with SP 703.

HS 708 • History of World Missions 1.5,3 Credits

A survey of the missionary movements on the major continents with special emphasis on biographies, types of mission field, and missionary strategy. Special Notes: May be taken in substitute for HS 510.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with GC 708.

Medieval and Early Modern Church

HS 675 • Creeds & Confessions of the Reformed Church 3 Credits

An exploration of the theology of the Reformed Tradition through the study of nine creeds and confessions. The course also discusses how the pressure of church heresies and conflicts, as well as national pressures, brought together some of the most important theological statements the church has produced. In addition, the course explores the theological expressions surrounding the doctrines of the person and nature of Christ, the sacraments, election, the Bible and its interpretation, the church, and the relationship of church and state. Crosslisted with TS 675.

Modern Christianity

HS 726 • History and Theology of Ministry 3 Credits

This course invites the student to a survey of important theological expressions and models in the history of Christian ministries from the first century through the present day. We consider selected themes (WISHMAP), illustrated by classic and contemporary sources, within a chronological framework. The goal is for these “voices” to enlighten and inspire our lives in faithful, fruitful service for Jesus Christ and the Kingdom.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with ML 726 and TS 726.

American Christianity

HS 512 • American Christianity 1.5 Credits

Introduction to major events and trends within American Christianity, from the late fifteenth century to the early twenty-first. Evaluation of the ways in which the American Christian landscape and each participant’s theology and ministry have been shaped by various events, trends, and ideas. Hands-on historical research and in-depth analysis of primary sources while exploring local details of this changing landscape.

HS 652 • Christian Spiritual Life: Henri Nouwen 3 Credits

A study of major themes in the thought of Henri Nouwen (1932-1996), one of the most influential Chrisitan spiritual writers of our generation. The emphasis is on primary sources, set in the framework of his life and development, and complemented by reflections from the instructor, who served as a teaching fellow with Nouwen during the author's Harvard years (1983-1985). The goal is for this experience to provide critical insights and personal values that illuminate and encourage our lives as beloved and faithful children of the Lord.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with SP 652.

HS 712 • Minorities and American Christianity 3 Credits

A study of African American, American Indian, and Hispanic Christianity. Examines the history of each group, their contributions to American Christianity, and the special problems each group faces.

Thesis and Research

HS 670 • Directed Study in Church History 1-9 Credits

Research and study by arrangement with the professor.
Special Notes: Permission is required.

HS 790 • Advanced Seminars 3 Credits

Specialized studies will be offered for those interested in any period of church history.

HS 795A • Thesis Proposal 1.5 Credits

Development of a thesis proposal and prospectus. Survey of existing research and delineation of tentative argument and preliminary bibliography. To be developed in consultation and under supervision of a faculty member as thesis advisor.
Special Notes: Approval of faculty member in relevant discipline is required.

HS 795B • Thesis Writing 3 Credits

Implementation of research plan, under the supervision of thesis advisor and with input from a second reader. To include survey of existing research and thesis that is well argued and supported by the literature.
Prerequisites: HS 795A.

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