Our courses on church history at the ThM and PhD level are rich in content and designed to match the needs and interests of students. Review the topics and purpose of each course below. 

Church History ThM/PhD Level Courses
CH 711 19th-Century Global Protestantism
Purpose:

  • To acquaint students with the historiography of the revisionist literature of the secularization thesis and other historiographical topics, such as global church history
  • To introduce students to the global dimension of 19th-century Protestantism
  • To familiarize students with major texts and leading theologians of 19th-century Protestantism

Topics covered include global history, theological methodology, secularization, historicization, scientific theology, dogmatics, Kulturprotestantism, revivalism, neo-Pietism, neo-Calvinism, and neo-confessionalism.

Spring semester, Dr. Aubert.

CH 723 Readings in the History of American Evangelicalism
Purpose:

  • To understand the major philosophical and theological currents that shaped American Evangelicalism
  • To examine the writings of American Evangelicals within the historical contexts of the 18th through 21st centuries
  • To highlight ways in which the history of American Evangelicalism influences the development of global Christianity. 

Topics covered include post-puritanism, revivalism, Fundamentalism, the battle for the Bible, missions, the prophecy movement, Pentecostalism, and neo-Evangelicalism. 

Spring semester. Faculty.

CH 732 English Puritan Thought
Purpose:

  • To introduce students to reading English Puritan texts in a historical context
  • To give students an understanding of how English Puritan thought connected both to previous medieval and Patristic discussions and also to the theology of the European Reformation
  • To facilitate critical discussion of the historical events (political, cultural, and intellectual) that helped to shape and inform the thought of the English Puritans 

Topics covered include the impact of William Perkins; issues in Puritan ecclesiology and pastoral theory; the growing radicalism of the 1640s; the relationship between Reformed Orthodoxy and Puritan thought; and the impact of the Great Ejection of 1662 on English Reformed theology. 

Winter term. Faculty.

CH 733 Readings in Pre-Reformation Theology: Augustine, Anselm and Aquinas
Purpose:

  • To enable students to read primary texts in a historical context 

This is a reading course in which students will read and discuss important texts in pre-Reformation theology. Texts may include Augustine’s City of God, Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo and Proslogion, and extended selections from Aquinas’s Summa contra Gentiles and Summa Theologiae.

Spring semester. Faculty.

CH 763 The Life and Thought of John Calvin
Purpose:

  • To familiarize students with the life and writings of John Calvin through intensive study and discussion of his writings
  • To help students read and appropriate the theology of the past for theological reflection today
  • To encourage students to read John Calvin for themselves 

Topics covered include the significant life events that impacted Calvin's theology, his view of apologetics, his doctrine of Scripture and doctrine of the covenant, his view of the extent of atonement, and his view of the Lord's supper in the context of Luther, Bucer, Zwingli, and Bullinger.

Spring term. Dr. Lillback.

CH 783 God and Scripture in the Era of Reformed Orthodoxy (ca. 1560-ca. 1680)
Purpose:

  • To familiarize students with debates concerning the doctrine of God and the doctrine of Scripture in the era of Reformed Orthodoxy
  • To encourage students to explore the relationship between God, revelation, and Scripture within an historical context
  • To facilitate critical discussion of significant issues in the relevant primary and secondary sources

Topics covered include the medieval background; the essence and attributes of God; Trinitarianism in the 17th century; the formalization of the Scripture principle; the attributes of Scripture; principles of interpretation; and the crisis in biblical authority in the late 17th century.

Spring semester. Faculty.

CH 831 The Doctrine of the Church in Reformed Theology
Purpose:

  • To familiarize students with ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church) in the Reformed tradition through readings in historical, biblical, and systematic theology
  • To acquaint students with the theological foundations, principles, and practices that support, guide, and embody Reformed ecclesiology
  • To provide students with resources to answer the ancient and modern challenges of sacramental, ecumenical, consumeristic, and post-modern views of the church
  • To train students to articulate and defend more thoughtfully and winsomely the conviction that the church is “the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ”

Topics covered include the relationship between ecclesiology and biblical and systematic theology; church power, church and state, and church and the Kingdom of God; as well as readings in James Bannerman, John Calvin, William Cunningham, Herman Bavinck, G.C. Berkouwer, Charles Hodge, John Murray, Thomas Peck, John Owen, Herman Ridderbos, Stuart Robinson, James Thornwell, Geerhardus Vos, and Thomas Witherow.

Fall semester. Dr. Troxel.

CH 863 Scottish Presbyterianism
Purpose:

  • To enable students to understand how and why Presbyterianism developed in the manner that it did
  • To enable students to read for themselves some of the great foundational writings of the early Scottish Presbyterians
  • To encourage students to reflect upon the relationship of historic Presbyterianism with the contemporary world Theologians. 

Topics covered include John Knox, David Calderwood, Samuel Rutherford, and George Gillespie. 

Spring semester. Faculty.

CH 872 The Life and Thought of John Owen
Purpose:

  • To familiarize students with the life and writings of John Owen through intensive study and discussion of his writings
  • To help students read and appropriate the theology of the past for theological reflection today
  • To encourage students to read the Puritans for themselves

Topics covered include the social and political background, Arminianism, Socinianism, Trinitarianism, Christology, church and state issues, and Owen’s significance in the ongoing development of Reformed theology. 

Winter term. Faculty.

CH 883 The Life and Thought of Francis Turretin
Purpose: 

  • To examine the history and theology of Francis Turretin (1623-1687) through a careful reading of Turretin’s Institutes of Elenctic Theology (the primary systematic theology textbook of Old Princeton)
  • To introduce the historical and theological context of 17th-century Protestant Scholasticism and its relation to the 16th-century Reformers
  • To enable students to reflect upon the Reformed theological tradition and its value for the contemporary church

Topics covered include the background of Post-Reformation Scholasticism, theological prolegomena, the doctrine of God, the decrees of God, man’s free will, justification, covenant theology, ecclesiology, and eschatology. 

Fall semester. Faculty.

CH 891 Reformed Confessions and Catechisms
Purpose:

  • To familiarize students with the confessional and pedagogical literature of the Reformed tradition
  • To facilitate students’ understanding of these documents in their historical context
  • To encourage students to interact with these documents as items of perennial interest

Topics covered include the nature and function of confessions and catechisms, the various historical backgrounds and contexts for the documents, early Reformed confessions, the Three Forms of Unity, and the Westminster standards. 

Spring semester. Faculty.

CH 901 The History of North American Eschatology
Purpose:

  • To examine the history of eschatological thought from the 17th to the 21st centuries in North America
  • To help students analyze how the historical context shaped the development of eschatology
  • To introduce students to the history of biblical exegesis on the Apocalypse

Topics covered include the background of Augustinian eschatology and 17th-century millenarianism, colonial apocalyptic expectations, the post-millennialism of Jonathan Edwards, the millennium and the War of Independence, the eschatology of Old Princeton, the rise of Dispensationalism, biblical theology and eschatology, and post-modern eschatology.

Spring semester. Faculty.

CH 943 Studies in Old Princeton Theology
Purpose:

  • To deepen students’ knowledge of Old Princeton’s theological contribution
  • To explore the writings of the Princeton theologians in the context of the 19th and early 20th centuries
  • To investigate the theology of Old Princeton within the wider history of the Reformed tradition

Topics covered include theological method, the influence of Common Sense Philosophy, doctrine of Scripture, Calvinism in North America, confessionalism, Presbyterian polity, and Reformed biblical theology. 

Fall semester. Faculty.

CH 951 Old Religion in the New World: Transatlantic Puritan Theology
Purpose:

  • To introduce students to the British context out of which colonial Puritanism emerged
  • To explore the transatlantic dimension of colonial Puritanism through the cross-fertilization of theological ideas
  • To examine how colonial Puritan theology distinguished itself in a North American context

Topics covered include the social and political background of the 17th century, covenant theology, soteriology, ecclesiology, sacraments, and eschatology.

Spring semester. Faculty.

CH 961 Readings in the History of Reformed Thought
Purpose:

  • To deepen students’ knowledge of Reformed theological writing in an historical context
  • To familiarize students with significant documents and theologians of the Reformed tradition
  • To help students think historically about theology and their own tradition

Topics covered include the doctrine of God, salvation, the sacraments, church and state, and eschatology. Texts will be drawn from Calvin, the Puritans, the Reformed Orthodox, the Dutch Reformed tradition, and various other Reformed traditions.

Spring semester. Faculty.

CH 972 The Life and Thought of Martin Luther
Purpose:  

  • To examine the life and teaching of Martin Luther through studying texts written by Luther and his contemporaries, which illuminate the intellectual development and theological contribution of the German Reformer

Topics include the controversy over indulgences, the nature of justification, the dispute with Erasmus, the Marburg Colloquy, and the development of Lutheran theology in the 1530s and 1540s.

Winter term. Faculty.

Courses listed for other concentrations which may be counted as concentration courses in Church History: AP 721, AP 841, AP 903, NT 981, ST 733, ST 773, ST 791, ST 803, ST 811, ST 901, ST 932, ST 972.

Did this answer your question?