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    The sixteenth century Reformation broke apart western Christianity. By focusing on powerful forces and intriguing personalities, this paper explores why and how that happened, and what it meant for the western world.

    This paper provides students with the opportunity to go deep into a complex, interesting and surprising subject: the sixteenth-century Reformation. Students will gain insight into the ways in which the Reformation reflected the medieval world and helped to initiate the modern world, thus bringing perspective on present experience and developing critical thinking and research skills.

    About this paper

    Paper title The Reformation
    Subject Christian Thought and History
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024, expected to be offered in 2026 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    36 100-level points
    CHTH 306, CHTX 206, CHTX 306
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music, Theology
    Any student can study Theology, whether they are of the Christian faith, another faith or of no religious faith at all. Theology is an examination of the scriptures, history, content and relevance of the Christian faith, but it presupposes or requires no Christian commitment from students. All it requires is an inquiring mind and an interest in those skills that can be gained through the study of any subject in the Humanities.

    Dr Brett Knowles:

    Teaching staff

    Lecturer: Dr Brett Knowles

    Paper Structure
    The paper is structured in four modules that guide students through the Reformation in four different and progressively deeper ways: an examination of the story of the Reformation in light of its medieval contexts; an exploration of its main centres of reformation and three of the main themes; and an assessment of what it all meant for the modern world. Students practise the skill of handling primary documents through close engagement with extensive historical evidence.

    200-level Assessment comprises:
    • Creative online exercise (25%)
    • Two essays (15% and 20%)
    • Two-hour exam (40%)
    Teaching Arrangements
    Campus: A teaching day (3:30 pm - 9.00 pm) takes place in week two of the semester, which replaces all lectures in the first three weeks of the semester (except for the first lecture), followed by three lectures per week for the remainder of the semester.

    Distance: A teaching day, three 1-hour videoconferences and two 2-hour audioconferences spaced throughout the semester.

    Required textbook: Carter Lindberg, The European Reformations, 2nd ed. (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).
    This textbook is available electronically through the University of Otago catalogue.

    Course outline
    View the course outline for CHTH 206
    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Lifelong learning, communication, critical thinking, research.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    When you successfully complete the paper at the 200 level you will:

    • Have a good understanding of the story of the Reformation
    • Be equipped to think critically about why it happened and what it represented
    • Have further developed your capacity to think both sympathetically and critically about the past
    • Have developed your skill in handling primary documents
    • Have further cultivated your ability to research and write academic history


    Not offered in 2024, expected to be offered in 2026

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system
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