PG 307: The Writing of Church History from the Reformation to the 20th Century

Module Level

MTh (History of Christianity)

Time Allowance

Semester 2. Wednesdays. Beginning 05.02.2020. 10 Seminars: 20:00-21:00 for first 5 weeks. 18:00-21:00 for remaining 5 weeks.


7,500 word assignment

Module Aims

For centuries, the history of Christianity has been viewed and presented from divergent perspectives as scholars throughout the globe have interpreted the Christian story in accordance with their own conception of doctrinal truth. Historians not only depicted the centuries since the Reformation in a denominational fashion and also interpreted the first fifteen hundred years of Christianity in a manner that validated and justified the viewpoint of their particular Church. This module will look at the manner in which history was viewed and transmitted from the Protestant and Roman Catholic perspective and will examine the writing of religious history both inside and outside of Ireland.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to

  • Appreciate the origins and development of the Roman Catholic and Protestant interpretations of history
  • Identify and discuss the impact of significant publications in the shaping of religious identities
  • Outline and explain the manner in which the writing of religious history has changed in recent decades, both inside and outside of Ireland
  • Locate and consult a range of primary and secondary source material, and interpret and contextualise their contents
  • Demonstrate an ability to argue a point cogently and with proper recourse to historical evidence, both orally and in writing


  • Barrett, S. J., ‘Where was your church before Luther? Claims for the antiquity of Protestantism explained’, Church History, lxvii, no 1 (Mar. 1999), pp 14-41.
  • Cameron, Euan, Interpreting Christian history: the challenge of the churches' past (Maiden, Mass.: Blackwell Pub., 2005).


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