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THEO 0635
Department of Theology
Tyndale Seminary
Instructor: Rev. Dr. Victor Shepherd
Office Hours: Thursday 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Prerequisite: THEO 0531 and THEO 0532 or THEO 0530

Description: While the Puritan contribution to the history, institutions, literature and religious expression of the English-speaking world is immense, this course probes the spirituality of English and American Puritans. It focuses specifically on the Puritan understanding, appropriation, and expression of the believer’s faith. It investigates the inception of faith, the trials that beset it, the arrears of sin in the believer’s life, and the need for spiritual discernment, vigilance, and discipline.


to acquaint students with Puritan spiritual resources related to devotion, discipleship, and private spiritual discipline;

to situate the Puritan ethos in the Elizabethan, post-Elizabethan and New England church;

to investigate the scope of Puritan spiritual concerns, from sexual conduct to the threat of riches;

to have students see that while the Jesuit or Cistercian or Franciscan traditions of spiritual formation are unquestionably helpful, the Puritan is in no way inferior;

to encourage students to use the resources of another era and ethos in informing and structuring their own spiritual development;

to render students able to assess contemporary spiritual formation through comparison with that cherished in the 16th and 17th centuries;

to foster the students’ integration of their academic theology, their ministry skills and their devotional life;

to facilitate the students’ perception of the relation between being and doing: what we do in the name of Jesus Christ can ultimately be only an expression of who we are in him.


weekly readings (see schedule);

a weekly synopsis of and/or comment on the reading to be discussed in class (approximately 300 words);

a major essay (approximately 3000 words).


To be purchased:

John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress (Signet Classic Edition)

Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor (Banner of Truth Edition)

Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections (Bethany House Edition)


Weekly comments: 50%

Essay : 50%

Total :100%

Written material is to be submitted in APA style.

For policies concerning academic integrity see student handbook.


Sept. 12 Introductions, Class assignments

The English Reformation

Sept. 19 Features of Elizabethan Puritanism

Popular Myths Concerning the Puritans

Sept. 26 Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress, pp.17-55

Oct. 3 Bunyan: ” , pp.55-103


Oct. 10 Bunyan: ” , pp.103-148


Oct. 17 Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, chapter I


Oct. 24 Baxter, ” , chapter II


Oct. 31 Baxter, ” , chapter III


Nov. 7 Baxter, ” , pp.173-192


Nov. 14 Edwards, Religious Affections, pp.xiii-xxxiv, chapters 1-2


Nov. 21 Edwards, ” , chapters 3-5


Nov. 28 Edwards, ” , chapters 6-8


Dec. 8 Edwards, ” , chapters 9-10