University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Ancient Church History

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Church History, Patrology and Palaeochristian Arch

DESCRIPTION Jesus Christ preached a new religion in the Roman province of Judea and his apostles and disciples proceeded with his teachings succeeding eventually to found a community at Rome, the centre of the Roman Empire. The unfolding of the Christian message proceeded with the writing of the New Testament in Greek and of a Theology that emerged as a union of revelation and Greek philosophy. The result was the establishment of a well organized Church. The Roman state persecuted this Church for over two centuries, but with the accession of Emperor Constantine a dramatic change took place — Christianity was first tolerated and then it became the official state religion. Its beliefs were debated in the first ecumenical Council hosted by the Emperor in the imperial city of Nicea. The post-Constantine period was a time of great transformation with far-reaching consequences. The Church saw the fixing of several liturgical forms that it was to retain for the next fifteen hundred years. Its chief dogma, belief in the Trinity and in Christ as God and man, was affirmed and clarified in lasting terms. This period is known for convenience as antiqua. The union between Church and State disintegrated with the downfall of the Empire at the hands of the Barbarians — a large group of tribes that descended from the North to occupy Southern Europe and the Mediterranean. Yet through the popes' policy, the labours of the monks, and the bellicose Franks, a new social order is construed: Christendom. Charlemagne consolidates this order with the foundation of a new holy Empire — a new period known for convenience as mediævalis.

Reading List:

- BEZZINA Joseph, Church history, including an account of the Church in Malta, Victoria/Gozo 1994.
- BOKKENKOTTER Thomas, A concise history of the Catholic Church, revised and expanded edition, New York etc 1990.
- History of the Church, ed by H. Jedin - K. Repgen - J. Dolan, 10 volumes, London 1965-81.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Konrad Grech

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It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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