Elective unit                                                                                                          (Min. No. 8)

2nd semester: Thursday evening



This is an examination of the reform movements in the Western European Church during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with special attention to the interactions between theology and history. Building on religious practice in the late medieval era, this unit moves through the major theological and political issues raised by figures like Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, Thomas Cranmer and Thomas Cajetan, examining in detail their theological positions, writings and the reactions which they sparked. This material will be located in its socio-political contexts to demonstrate the mutual effect of religion and politics upon each other.

PREREQUISITES: CH8001Y or equivalent and 15 points of elective units from fields B or C


Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate familiarity with the major theological and political issues of the European Reformation
  2. analyse critically a range of early modern historical sources, including written material and visual evidence
  3. evaluate critically the key historiographical debates on the causes, nature and effect of ‘Reformation’
  4. distinguish the theological and socio-political forces at work in the European Reformation
  5. articulate historical conclusions drawn from study of primary and secondary historical sources of the Reformation


Document study 2500 words (40%); major essay 3500 words (60%)


BIBLIOGRAPHY *set texts recommended for purchase

Bagchi, David, and David C. Steinmetz, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Reformation Theology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Collinson, Patrick. The Reformation: A History. New York: Random House, 2006.

Dixon, C. Scott. Contesting the Reformation. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

Heal, Felicity. Reformation in Britain and Ireland. Oxford: OUP, 2003.

Jones, M. D. W. The Counter-Reformation: Religion and Society in Early Modern Europe. Oxford: OUP, 1995.

Lindberg, Carter, ed. The European Reformations Sourcebook. Oxford: Blackwell, 2014.

———. The Reformation Theologians: An Introduction to Theology in the Early Modern Period. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002.

MacCulloch, Diarmaid. Reformation: Europe’s House Divided, 1490-1700. London: Penguin, 2004.

McGrath, Alister E.  Reformation Thought: An Introduction. Rev. ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999.

Po Chia Hsia, R. The World of Catholic Renewal 1540-1770. Cambridge: Cambridge     University Press, 1998.