Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Fundamental Patrology

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Church History, Patrology and Palaeochristian Arch

DESCRIPTION The unit is intended to offer a detailed introduction to Patrology, that is the chronological study of the development of Christian thought through the works of the Fathers of the Church from the late first century till the eighth century, in both East and West. Particular attention will be given to the most prominent Fathers whose works were fundamental for the development of Christian dogma and later catechesis.

Keeping in mind that this is an introductory unit, the delivery of this unit shall be divided accordingly in order to cover as many Christian authors from both sides of the Empire and their major works as possible.

Each student will be asked to read in its integrity ONE from a list of early Christian texts and make an assignment on it, focusing on its context, its major themes, its addressees and its outcome.

At the end of the unit a 20 minute oral test will include further discussion on the text used for the assignment along with other aspects from the course.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit aims to give students an adequate theological context for better appreciation of other disciplines of which patrology forms the foundations. Apart from this, the unit aims to encourage students to delve deeper in the foundational texts of Christianity (orthodox and heretical) to appreciate more the style
and genres common in the first eight centuries.

This unit also intents to impart better knowledge of apocryphal books and Christian heresies that might turn out to be helpful in interpreting and entering in dialogue with contemporary deviant theologies.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- appreciate more the foundational texts of early Christianity;
- recognize the major names and currents of thought in the early Christian tradition, and place them in their context;
- have a better idea of how theology (as a scientific reflection on faith) was formed;
- describe how the basic beliefs and rites of Christianity were formed, developed and domgatized.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- define better the collaboration between theology and philosophy;
- interpret the currents of thought that were present in the tumultuous historical context of the first centuries, and how the context helped to advance particular ideas and not others;
- relate the foundational beliefs of Christianity studied here with later dogmas of the faith studied in the courses of Fundamental and Dogmatic Theology;
- compare the foundational practices of Christian communities with present-day liturgy;
- examine the patristic foundations of modern-day catechesis;
- interpret texts and their effects on early communities;
- evaluate the divisions in the Church which were created during this period and which are still present.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Text:
- Drobner H., The Fathers of the Church. A comprehensive introduction (Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007).

Supplementary readings:
- Quasten J., Patrology 1: the beginnings of Patristic literature (Allen, Tx: Thomas More Pr, 1986). Available at BQ144.Q8
- Quasten J., Patrology 2: the ante-Nicene literature after Irenaeus (Allen Tx: Thomas More Pr, 1986). Available at BQ144.Q8
- Quasten J., Patrology 3: The golden age of Greek Patristic literature (Allen, Tx: Thoms More PR, 1986). Available at BQ144.Q8
- Van Winden J. et al. (eds), Arche: a collection of Patristic studies (Leinden: Brill, 1997). Available at BQ144.W559
- Dattrino L., Patrologia: introduzione (Casale Monferrato: Piemme, 1991). Available at BQ147.D3
- Gatt R. (ed.), Harsa lejn Missirijiet il-Knisja, Knisja 2000 vol. 125 (Malta: Pubblikazzjonijiet Duminkani, 2018). Available at Melitensia Special Collection Periodicals MZ6
- Osborn E.F., The beginning of Christian philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009). Available at BQ160.O79

Other useful books not available at the University Library by available at the Theology Library (Tal-Virtu'):
- Caruana S.-Bonnici A., Patrologija vol. 1 (Malta: Religjon u Hajja, 2015)
- Akin J., The Fathers know best. Your essential guide to the teachings of the Early Church (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010).

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-Requisite Study-unit: THL1001


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Oral Examination (15 Minutes) SEM1 Yes 50%
Assignment SEM1 Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Jonathan Farrugia

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.