Historical Theology/History of Christianity
Historical theology seeks to study, understand, and evaluate how, in the past, Christians have reflected on the Church's faith and practice. It may investigate specific theologians (Augustine, Aquinas, Luther), historical periods (the early Byzantine era, the Catholic Reformation, American Catholicism), or themes (asceticism and monasticism, Jewish-Christian relations), all in their institutional, cultural and intellectual contexts.
The historical section offers five sub-fields of historical study, namely: Early Christianity, the Middle Ages, the Reformation, Modern Europe (church history and theology), and American Christianity. The interests of the faculty members of the historical section include:
- in the field of Early Christianity: Origen, Augustine, patristic biblical exegesis, and asceticism and monasticism;
- in the Middle Ages: Gregory the Great, asceticism, relations between the West and Byzantine East, Christian understanding of Judaism, and the Bible in the Middle Ages;
- in the Reformation era: the Protestant and Catholic Reformations in Europe, Great Britain, and Ireland;
- in modern Europe: the history of the Catholic Church in Europe, the modern papacy, and the history of modern Protestant theology;
- and in American Christianity: the theology and practice, piety and culture of Catholic and Protestant Christians in the United States.
Doctoral students in historical theology are expected to take courses in at least three of the sub-fields of historical study. They normally write dissertations in one of the sub-fields and thus acquire specialized skills in the methods, resources, and literature of that field.
Historical Theology Faculty
Robert G. Davis
James T. Fisher
Franklin T. Harkins
J. Patrick Hornbeck II
Joseph Lienhard, S.J.