Studying online

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Unit Overview


This unit explores the history of Christianity, from its inception in antiquity as a small sect of Judaism to its global expansion as the world's most popular religion. Christianity is no monolithic religion, but it comprises a vast set of traditions that differ in significant ways, from theological beliefs to political practices to authoritative texts. A key aim of this unit is to examine the history of how Christianity came to be represented by such diverse sets of beliefs and practices by considering the major events, texts, and figures that constituted and informed these changes. The content is divided roughly into historical periods. These include, but are not limited to the following: New Testament Christianity, the Patristic era and Byzantine Christianity, medieval European Christianity, the Reformations and early modern Christianity, and global Christianity in modernity. Significant historical events such as the Council of Nicaea, the East/West Schism, the rise of monasticism and scholasticism, the Crusades, the Protestant Reformation, and the global missions will receive due attention. Along the way, we will consider the recurring historical debates and theological controversies surrounding issues such as the doctrine of the Trinity, the Eucharist, and the resurrection of the body, which both demarcate Christianity from other world religions but also demarcate different Christian sects and denominations from one another.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the History major sequence
  • Level 3 elective

Students are able to (1) describe and assess important historical events and developments within the Christian tradition; (2) describe and assess the basic methodological characteristics of the history discipline through the study of the history of Christianity and its historiography; (3) locate and use a range of historical sources for researching and writing a major essay; (4) analyse primary sources from the Christian tradition from the perspective of their historical context(s) and with reference to secondary scholarship on said sources; and (5) relate independent interpretations to the complex historiographical debates concerning the history of Christianity in both written and oral assessments using the conventions of the historical discipline..


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) workshop participation; (2) source analyses; and (3) research essay. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Kirk Essary
Unit rules
Completion of 12 points of level 2 units.
Advisable prior study
Any HIST coded units.
Contact hours
workshops: 2 hours per week
lectures: 1 hour per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.