CH602 Medieval And Reformation Church

Course Description

The first half of the course shall study the development of medieval theology, doctrinal controversies, the development of the church, monasticism, mysticism and the forerunners of the Reformation. The second half shall study the theology and practices of the Protestant Reformation. We will consider the social and intellectual contexts in which the Reformation theologies developed with special attention to Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, and Calvin. Some attention shall be given the English and later Reformations including the rise of Protestant scholasticism and confessionalism. Spring Semester. 4 credits.

Course Goals

—Academic Goal:

To enable the student to understand and discuss intelligently the institutional, theological, and social history of the church such that the student demonstrates understanding of dogmatic development in the history of the church from c. 500 AD -1619 AD.

—Pastoral Goal:

To help the student gain a critical appreciation for the development of Christian theology, piety, and practice from c.500 AD to 1619 AD.

Required Reading

NB: I do not discuss the background texts (Southern and Cameron) in class. The lectures assume that you have read them but you must read and master them in order to complete the course.

R. W. Southern, Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages (New York, [repr.] 1978). This is a general background text not intended for class discussion.

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae in either St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 5 vol. (Westminster, MD [repr.] 1981), or in A.M. Fairweather, ed. Aquinas on Nature and Grace (Philadelphia, 1959).


Summa TheologicaReference Nature and Gracepagination
1a. Q. 1 Art. 1.1–10 35–49
1a. Q.23 Art. 1–8 101–18
1a–2ae. QQ. 112–114 174–218

Euan Cameron, The European Reformation (Oxford, 1991). This is a general background text not intended for class discussion. Chapters 1–5, 14, 19, 21.

T. Lull ed. Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings:

Disputation Against Scholastic Theology
Heidelberg Disputation
Concerning the Letter and the Spirit
A Brief Instruction
Preface to the NT
Two Kinds of Righteousness
Bondage of the Will

R. Scott Clark, Iustitia Imputata Christi: Alien or Proper to Luther’s Doctrine of Justification?”Concordia Theological Quarterly 70 (2006): 269–310.

——, “The Benefits of Christ: Double Justification in Protestant Theology Before the Westminster Assembly,” Anthony T. Selvaggio, ed., The Faith Once Delivered: Celebrating the Legacy of Reformed Systematic Theology and the Westminster Assembly (Essays in Honor of Dr. Wayne Spear). (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2007), 107–34.

——, “Election and Predestination: Sovereign Expressions of God,” in David Hall and Peter Lillback, ed. A Handbook of Calvin’s Institutes (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing).

——, “Calvin’s Principle of Worship,” in ed. David Hall, Tributes to John Calvin: A Celebration of his Quincentenary (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2010), 247–69.

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. F. L. Battles, ed. J. T. McNeill, 2 vols (Philadelphia, 1961), 1.1–10; 2.9–11; 3.1, 2, 11, 13, 17, 20, 24; 4.14–19.

Philip Schaff, ed. Creeds of Christendom (Grand Rapids, [repr.] 1983) or online:

Vol. 2: Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, Tridentine Profession of Faith;

Vol. 3: Augsburg Confession, Formula of Concord, Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, Canons of the Synod of Dort, Westminster Confession of Faith.

R. Scott Clark, Caspar Olevian and the Substance of the Covenant: The Double Benefit of Christ (2005; Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2008) [all]

Willem van Asselt, ed. Introduction to Reformed Scholasticism, Reformed Historical-Theological Studies (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2011).

Recommended Reading

Engelbrecht, Edward A. Friends of the Law: Luther’s Use of the Law for the Christian Life. St Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2011.

Carl R. Trueman and R. Scott Clark, ed. Protestant Scholasticism: Essays in Reassessment(Carlisle: Paternoster, 1999).

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Dorothy Sayers, “Lost Tools of Learning”

G. R. Evans, ed. The Medieval Theologians (Oxford: Blackwells, 2001).

——A Brief History of Heresy (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003).

Marcia L. Colish, Medieval Foundations of the Western Intellectual Tradition 400-1400, Yale Intellectual History of the West (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998).

Sabina Flanagan, Hildegard of Bingen, a Visionary Life, (Routledge, London, 1989).

Hildegard von Bingen,The letters of Hildegard of Bingen, trans. Joseph L. Baird, Radd K. Ehrman. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).

Course Requirements:

  1. We live in a post-everything world of endless options. Nevertheless, in this course, your options are more limited. In order to pass the course you must demonstrate that you have learned and can adequately summarize and repeat the important material from the lectures and the readings.
  2. Mid-Term (covers the medieval church lectures and reading). 35%A failing grade on the mid-term means a failing grade for the course.
  3. Final exam (covers the Reformation church lectures and reading) 35 % A failing grade on the final exam means a failing grade for the course.
  4. Reading 30%
  5. Attendance. The WSC catalogue requires attendance to class. Class conflict petitions will not ordinarily be approved for this course.

Computers, Cheating, and Plagiarism

Anyone found to be using the computer inappropriately in class will face discipline.

Students who take class notes by computer tend to create a large, detailed transcript but they also tend not to analyze the information they are receiving. They hear the lecture but they do not listen to what is being said. In such a case, it is difficult to think about and interact with what is being said. As a consequence, students end the course with a large transcript of material with which they are not intimately familiar. This means that students have only reading week to master a large amount of relatively unfamiliar class material for the final exam.

In 2007, I encouraged students to take notes by hand. By doing so, those students had to listen closely to what was being said and they had to make a decision whether to write down anything and what to write. The student who takes notes by hand must synthesize and prioritize material. As a result, the student with handwritten notes has relatively less material to review before the exam. An informal survey of students with handwritten notes suggests that they felt better prepared for the final exam than they had with a large transcript.

Cheating and plagiarism are a serious infractions of the law of God and punishable by a measures determined by the faculty up to and including expulsion from the seminary. Cheating is presenting someone else’s work during an exam as your own. Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work as your own in a paper. Please acknowledge all sources with appropriate footnotes. See the Student Handbook for a complete statement on plagiarism.

Questions in Class

I will set aside the last five minutes of class for questions. I generally encourage students to refrain from asking questions during the lecture unless it is a clarification that would be of use to the entire class. Students often report that if they wait a bit I will answer their questions in the lecture. I am not forbidding questions but I do ask students to ask themselves before the ask a question in class whether the question will benefit the entire class or whether the question would be better addressed privately after class. I always stay after class as long as necessary to answer questions and I am available in my office and by email and telephone.


Assertion of Intellectual Property Rights

The instructor holds the copyright to all course lectures and original course materials. This copyright extends to student notes and summaries that substantially reflect the lectures or original course materials. Course lectures and materials are made available for the personal use of students only and may not be recorded or otherwise distributed (including the publication of student notes or summaries on social media) in any way for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the express written permission of the instructor.