Elective unit                                                                                                          (Min. No. 8)

1st semester: Thursday morning, cross listed as Church History CH9511Y



A study of the theology, history, and spirituality of the patristic period from the apostles’ deaths to the pontificate of Gregory the Great 600 CE. Through a study of the writings of the key patristic figures, we come to appreciate the diverse cultures and experiences that marked the earliest centuries of the church. These events have enduring relevance to the contemporary church.

PREREQUISITES: A foundational unit in Systematic Theology CT or Church History CH


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

  1. identify and source the principal themes within patristic theology
  2. articulate the early development of church doctrine within its wider historical and cultural context
  3. use critically primary and secondary sources in the analysis of patristic themes
  4. assess and provide evidence of the enduring impact of patrology upon contemporary theology and spirituality
  5. formulate, with the use of primary material, a sustained argument on the work, thought and historical significance of a selected patristic author
  6. show in primary sources the mutual influence of historical events and theological developments upon each other in the patristic era


Document study 1000 words (20%); minor essay 2000 words (30%); major essay 3000 words (50%)



Chadwick, Henry. The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great. London: OUP, 2002.

Drobner, Hubertus R. The Fathers of the Church: A Comprehensive Introduction. Peabody, MS: Hendrickson, 2007.

Hamman, Adalbert. How to Read the Church Fathers. London: SCM Press, 1993.

Harmless, William. Desert Christians: An Introduction to the Literature of Early Monasticism. Oxford: OUP 2004.

Irvin, Dale. Christian Histories, Christian Traditioning: Rendering Account. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1998.

Louth, Andrew. The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition from Plato to Denys. Oxford: Clarendon, 1983.

Meredith, Anthony. The Cappadocians. Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary, 1995.

Quasten, Johannes. Patrology. 4 Vols. Westminster: Christian Classics, 1986-88.

Ramsay, Boniface. Beginning to Read the Fathers. London: DLT, 1985.

Silvas, Anna M. Macrina the Younger: Philosopher of God. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2008.

Wetzel, James. Augustine: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: Continuum, 2010.