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CHTH102 The History of Christianity

A survey of the history of Christianity from 100 AD to the present day: from early formation to recent contexts in Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and North America.

This paper offers a framework for 2,000 years of global history that is useful for students in all Humanities subjects. By engaging with the story of Christianity in Asia and Africa as well as in Europe and the West, students will gain new perspectives on the nature and history of the Christian faith, and they will develop their skills in critical and reflective thinking.

Paper title The History of Christianity
Paper code CHTH102
Subject Christian Thought and History
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points 18 points
Teaching period(s) Second Semester, Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $904.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,954.75

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CHTH 101, CHTX 101, CHTX 102
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 neither presupposes nor requires a 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 divided into three modules: early, medieval and modern Christianity.

Assessment comprises:
  • Creative online activities (15%)
  • Two essays (20% and 25%)
  • Two-hour exam (40%
Teaching Arrangements
Campus: Three lectures per week

Distance: One 1-hour videoconference and three 2-hour videoconferences spaced throughout the semester

This text is recommended but not required: Martin Marty, The Christian World: A Global History (New York: The Modern Library, 2007)

Course outline

View the course outline for CHTH 102 (on campus)
View the course outline for CHTH 102 (distance)

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

This paper has two broad learning outcomes. Students who successfully complete the paper will be:

  • Able to articulate the story of the history of Christianity in a way that is accurate and informed. In particular, this means:
    • Understanding the main outlines of the history of Christianity in the early, medieval and modern periods
    • Grasping the development of the key institutions of historical Christianity
    • Appreciating patterns of piety and thinking among the laity
    • Understanding how broader historical and intellectual developments have had an impact on Christianity and vice versa
    • Doing all of this especially in view of the Western Church, but without ignoring the Eastern and non-Western dimensions of the Church
  • Equipped to read Church history for themselves and prepared for more in-depth study at higher levels. In particular, this means
    • Being introduced to the main modes of writing Church history, to contemporary trends in Church history and to the most significant historians
    • Developing a critical appraisal of such historical writing

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Second Semester

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

Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41
Tuesday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41
Thursday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41