Academic Programs 

Christian Theology: An Historical Introduction  (TH-650)
  Fall 2005

This course is a survey of the history of Christian doctrine from its origins in the Bible to the doctrine of modern day.  Starting with the Christian roots in the Hebrew Bible, the course looks at the development of the creeds, the major preoccupation of the medieval church, culminating in the impact of modernity on the shape of Christianity in the West.  Particular attention is paid to Augustine and Aquinas.  Students at the end of the course will have a good grasp of the complexity and diversity of Christian thought through the ages. 


Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:50 p.m., beginning September 13

Ian Markham
Professor of Theology and Ethics and Dean of the Seminary

Contact Information:
(860) 509-9500


Course Syllabus

Aim of the course:

  1. To provide the student with a sense of the historical variety and development of Christian doctrine;
  2. To facilitate the understanding of the theological ideas within a particular historical content;
  3. To cultivate both historical and philosophical skills.


At the end of the course, the student will:

  1. Have an overview of the movement of theological ideas from the New Testament to the 20th century;
  2. Have a grasp of the link between theological ideas and historical periods;
  3. And have a good historical and philosophical sensitivity.


Content of Course.

Session 1: An overview of the course.  Grappling with the Past. 

Session 2: Moving from the Bible.  (P/ chapters 1 & 2.)

Session 3: Patristic Period: part 1 – Gnosticism and the Apologists. (P/ chapters 4 & 5)

Session 4: Patristic Period: part 2 – Trinitarian and Christological Controversy. (P/ chapter 6)

Session 5: Augustine (P/chapter 8)

Session 6: The Middle Ages. (P/chapters 9/10/11)

Session 7: Aquinas

Session 8: Luther and the Reformation (P/chapter 12/13)

Session 9: Calvin and the English Reformation. (P/chapter 14)

Session 10: The Enlightenment.  Kant and Schlieremacher. (P/chapter 15)

Session 11: Theology in the United States (P/chapter 16)

Session 12: Modern Theology (P/chapters 17 & 18)

Session 13: Where to now?


Required texts:

William Placher, A History of Christian Theology. An Introduction  (P = reading required from Placher)
Henry Bettenson and Chris Maunder, Documents of the Christian Church. This will be used in the class.
Augustine, Confessions, translated by Henry Chadwick. (Oxford World Classics)


Course pre-reading:

Anderson, W. P & Diesslin, R. L. A Journey through Christian Theology  (Fortress 2000)


Select Bibliography:

McGrath, Alastair Historical Theology.
Chadwick, Henry, The Early Church (Penguin 1967)
Chadwick, Owen, The Reformation  (Penguin 1964)
Frend, W. H. C.  The Early Church (Fortress 1982)
Gonzalez, Justo, A History of Christian Thought (Abingdon 1988)
Hodgson, Peter C. & Robert H. King, Christian Theology.  An Introduction to its
Traditions and Tasks
  (Fortress Press 1982)
Neville, Robert, A Theology Primer  (SUNY)
Russell, Jeffrey B. A History of Medieval Christianity  (Harlan Davidson 1968)



  1. (By week five).  Take Augustine’s Confessions and (a) locate the text historically, (b) describe the main themes of the text, and (c) offer an analysis of his contemporary value for modern theology.
  2. Write a 15 page paper on a particular controversy, which can be individually determined with the instructor.

Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500