323: History of Christianity:
|Professor: Stephen Shoemaker
sshoemak (at) uoregon (dot) edu
Office: 813 PLC
Office Hours: TR 1-2
(or by appointment)
of Saint John of the Cross
Internet Resources of General Use:
If you have a general question about a particular person, concept, etc.,
you might try these resources first to find an answer.
Schedule of Assignments and Suggested Internet Resources
Description and Objectives
course will introduce students the history of the Western Christian traditions in Europe
and America from 1500 to the present. We will
focus especially on the development of Christian thought, the structures
of the modern church, and the interplay of church, culture, and society. We will
also concentrate on the historical diversity of the Christian tradition, in an effort to understand better its contemporary
complexity. Only minimal attention will be given to the Eastern Christian
traditions during this period, since these are the subject of a separate
course. In the course of the term, students will read and write
reflective essays on several primary sources, each selected to represent the
historical and confessional diversity of Christian traditions, as well as to
present certain basic problems from the history of Christianity.
González, The Story of Christianity, vol. 2, The Reformation to
the Present Day. 2nd
Edition. HarperOne, 1985. ISBN 0061855898
other readings are to be found on the internet, as
of General Use
The World Wide Encyclopedia of
Christianity. Links to a number of different sources available on
the web. Entries for just about everything.
Encyclopedia Although this is an older edition (1907-12), there
are many excellent articles on many of the key people, events, concepts,
etc. covered in this class.
The articles naturally reflect a particularly Roman Catholic point of view,
making it a rich source for information on this tradition. The articles
are often lengthy, but are usually worth the read.
of Theological Terms This glossary, taken from Alister McGrath's Christian
Theology (2nd edition) published by Blackwell Publishers, provides
succinct definitions for a number of theological technical terms..
Modern History Sourcebook Many of the items used in this class, along with a
number of other historical documents, maps, etc., are to be found here
and at the related.
Wikipedia: The Free
Encyclopedia This is a good online source for general information on
a variety of topics: brief explanations of many people, places, etc.
at all class sessions is expected. Since
class sessions will involve a fair amount of student discussion, students should
read all the assignments carefully before coming to class.
Assignments will generally involve about 100 pages of reading per week.
Everyone should be prepared to contribute both ideas and questions to the
class discussions. Assignments and
grading are as follows:
Two exams 5/3 & 8:00
Monday, June 11 (60%)
Class attendance and participation (10%)
One 5-6 page (double-spaced: approx. 1500 words) essays (30%), chosen
from the following options.
Due 5/1 . Read
the following: Epistle
to the Galatians 3-4, the Epistle
of James 1-2, Martin
Luther, The Freedom of a Christian, the statement of the Council
of Trent on Justification, and answer the following questions: "What is
Luther's view of the importance of faith and good works in the process of human
salvation? What is the significance of divine grace? Does the human
will play any role in the process of salvation for Luther? What are the views of the council of
Trent on these same issues? What are the
strengths and weaknesses of both points of view? Which one do you most
agree with and why?"
(You may also read Galatians
& James from an NRSV, RSV, REB, NAB, or Jerusalem version - no Living Bible,
Bible in Today's English, NIV, KJV, NKJV, etc.)
Read Martin Luther, Temporal
Authority: To What Extent it Should Be Obeyed; the Schleitheim
site); John Calvin Ecclesiastical Ordinances,
Civil Government and Resistence (from Institutes of the Christian
Religion); and Henry VIII, The
Act of Supremacy and answer the following questions: “How does
Luther understand the relationship between ‘Church and State,’ between
Christians and their governments? How
is this different from the relationship envisioned in the other
‘reformations’ of this period, such as the Anabaptist, Calvinist, and
English reformations? What are the various strengths and weaknesses of
these different positions?”
3. Due 5/31. Read Thomas Paine's
Religion and Of
the Religion of Deism Compared with the Christian Religion and answer
the following questions: "What is Paine's understanding of the relation
between reason and religious faith? What are his main criticisms of
Christianity? Are you persuaded by any or all of these? Why or why
not? Does Deism sound like a viable alternative to Christianity?
What do you think should be the proper relationship between reason and faith?"
4. Due 6/7. Read
Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter
from a Birmingham Jail, Rediscovering
Lost Values, Paul's
Letter to American Christians, Loving
Your Enemies, and A
Knock at Midnight
and answer the following questions: “How
does Martin Luther King, Jr. understand the role of Christianity in modern
society? What possibilities and
limitations for effecting social change does he identify in Christianity?
To what extent does he interpret Christianity as a message primarily for
individuals or for society as a whole? Does
he balance these two effectively, or does he emphasize one aspect more than the
others? Do you find that his
presentation of Christianity faithfully articulates the heart of its message, or
does it perhaps reduce Christianity to the service of a social cause, or would
you give it another different assessment? Why
do you think this?”
of Essay: In
answering the questions, first of all, briefly summarize the contents of the
text(s) regarding the questions asked: what do the texts say? Then, take a
clear position in response to the texts and defend it: imagine that your reader
believes the opposite and that you are trying to persuade him or her. Your
assignment for this paper is to write from a perspective outside of the
traditions in question. Do not make the mistake of giving a spiritual
autobiography or a narrative of how this text relates to your own personal
spiritual life and faith. Do not make the mistake of just dismissing the
ideas of a text because you have different religious beliefs: if you disagree,
give convincing reasons why. In all instances, strive for an impersonal
and objective tone: you need to represent the contents of the text(s) fairly and
accurately and give thoughtful reasons for your response.
Your goal for this assignment is to approach and consider these religious
traditions as objects of study from the outside, NOT from the perspective
of an insider, legitimate as this perspective is in other contexts.
Even if one is a believer in a particular tradition, the purpose of
taking this class is to learn how to see and study the same phenomena from a
perspective outside of the tradition. In general, it is good to avoid
using "I," "me," "my," "we,"
"our," "you", "your" (except in quotations of
course); you should give your opinions, but write them using the third person.
Also, while you should cite examples from the texts, be sure to explain and
contextualize any quotations made, and be sure that your own voice is not lost
in a sea of quotations. All quotations must be identified as such, and
references to the text should be given parenthetically either as a page number
or section number, as appropriate. Take care to write correctly and well:
you will be graded for grammar and style as well as content. Finally,
please number your pages. For extra help and advice on writing your paper,
University Teaching and Learning Center in
the basement of PLC is an invaluable resource.
Expectations and Regulations
1. Preparation: You are expected to come
to class having completed the reading assignments for that session. You
should be prepared to discuss and ask questions about the assignments.
Note also that some material from the readings that is not covered in class
may be included on the examinations.
2. Participation and Class Attendance: You should come
to class prepared to ask questions and to discuss the readings for that
session. Regular class attendance is required, and attendance will
be taken. If you expect to miss class doe to illness, observance
of religious holy days, or other extenuating circumstances, please notify
the instructor in advance.
3. Late Papers: Unless an extension has been arranged in
advance, late papers will be marked down one full letter grade for each
day after the due date. Late papers will not be accepted more than
three days after the due date.
4. Make-up or Early Exams: will be allowed only
in truly exceptional
circumstances, in the case of unforeseeable events beyond the
student’s control and must be approved by the instructor in advance.
5. Plagiarism or Cheating: Students caught plagiarizing
or cheating on any assignment will be reported to the Student Conduct
Coordinator in the Office of the Dean of Students. Students who
are aware of cheating or plagiarism are encouraged to inform the instructor.
If you are uncertain as to what constitutes plagiarism (or other forms of
academic dishonesty), please consult this helpful guide from the UO library
as well as the UO's Policy
on Academic Dishonesty.
6. Completion of Assignments: Completion of all required
assignments is necessary to pass and receive
credit for the course. Incompletes will be granted only at the discretion
of the instructor and only in case of circumstances beyond the student's
7. Special Needs: Students with special needs requiring academic
accommodations should 1) register with and provide documentation to Disability
Services; 2) bring a letter to the instructor from the SSD indicating that
you need academic accommodations, and we will arrange to meet them. This
should be done during the first week of class.
The Road to the Reformations: John Wycliffe, Jan Huss, and
condemnation of John Wycliffe; Jan Huss, Final
Declaration; decrees of the Council of Constance: Sacrosancta
Early Reformers: Martin Luther
19-56; Martin Luther, Letter
to Archbishop of Mainz, 1517 [On Indulgences]; Luther's
Tower Experience; Pope Leo X, Exsurge
Early Reformers: Ulrich Zwingli and the Anabaptists
The Chronicle of the Hutterian
Brethren; the Schleitheim
The Second Generation of Reform: John Calvin
77-86; John Calvin, On
Double Predestination (from Institutes of the Christian
The English Reformation
87-104; The Act of Supremacy; The
Suppression of Glastonbury Abbey, 1539; James I, from Anglicanism
The Catholic Reformation
Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual
Exercises (excerpts); Profession of Tridentine
also the Schematic
Overview of Lutheran, Catholic, Calvinist, and Zwinglian
theologies by David M. Luebke (Dept. of History)
151-65; Martin Luther, Schmalkald Articles, Article
4: Of the Papacy; De Thou, St.
Bartholemew's Day Massacre
War and Religion: The 30 Years War & The
from Puritan Writers;
Baptist confessions of faith
Protestant and Catholic Scholasticism
Five Articles of the Remonstrants, 1610; The Synod of Dort, On
CLASS: Instructor giving lecture at Ohio State University
Rationalism and the Enlightenment
237-48; Cardinal Bellarmine, Attack on
the Copernican Theory; John Toland, Christianity
Not Mysterious (selections); John Locke, On
the Reasonableness of Christianity (selections); William Paley: Natural
Pietism and Spiritualism
William Penn, A
Letter to the King of Poland; Jacob Boehme, selections;
Philip Jacob Spener, Pia Desideria
(selections); Nicolas Ludwig von Zinzendorf, Nine
Public Lectures on Important Subjects in Religion
Christianity in the 13 Colonies
John Wesley, The
Character of a Methodist; Predestination
Calmly Considered; Virginia
Statute on Religious Freedom
NO CLASS: Instructor away attending North American Patristics Society
Christianity in 19th Century America
301-47; Rev. James B. Finley, Autobiography, the Cane
Ridge Revival; LDS Articles of
Faith; The Book of Abraham, ch.
3; Jehovah's Witnesses on the Trinity
Christian Thought in the 19th Century
348-97; Schleiermacher, On
Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers (selections);
Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling
Modernity and the Roman Catholic
Pope Pius X, Lamentabili
Same: The Syllabus of Errors Condemning the Errors of The Modernists;
Oath Against Modernism
Protestant Christianity in the 20th
Walter Rauschenbusch, Christianity
and the Social Crisis (selections); Chicago
Statement on Biblical Inerrancy; Karl Barth, 'How
My Mind Has Changed in this Decade'; Paul Tillich: The
Courage to Be (selections)
Monday, June 11