History of Christianity

Faculty members and students in history of Christianity/historical theology examine the ways in which Christians, through the centuries, have engaged their tradition, its beliefs and practices, and the world in which they live. Theology and doctrine, devotional life and practices, liturgy, institutions, cultural productions, and lived religion are all foci for study. Faculty and students focus on specific theologians in particular contexts (e.g., Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, Henri de Lubac), on historical periods and/or regions (e.g., the early Byzantine era, the medieval west, the United States, 20th century Europe), or on themes throughout Christian history (e.g., asceticism, the papacy, heresy, Jewish-Christian relations, mysticism, gender, embodiment, sacred space).

While we welcome applicants in any aspect of the history of Christianity, current faculty strengths include:

Early Christianity (patristic biblical exegesis, asceticism, monasticism, gender);

Medieval Christianity (mysticism, scholasticism, heresy, history of emotions, relations between the west and Byzantine east);

Early Modern Christianity (English and continental reformations, trans-Atlantic Protestantism); and

The Modern West (cultural and social history of U.S. Christianity, theology and culture in modern France).

Language Requirements

In addition to French and German, students in historical theology/history of Christianity who intend to write a dissertation in a pre-modern period for which Latin and/or Greek is necessary must demonstrate proficiency in the relevant language(s) by the successful completion of the relevant exam(s).

Comprehensive Exams

At the current time, the faculty in historical theology/history of Christianity define the possible areas of research in which a student may select a major or minor exam as follows: Early, Medieval, and Modern. Each area of research has its own bibliography selected by the faculty.

A student whose field of study is historical theology/history of Christianity will select two of these areas of research for his or her major exams.

A student from another field of study who selects historical theology/history of Christianity for his or her minor exam will select one of these areas of research.

History of Christianity/Historical Theology Faculty