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Historical Theology  0536
Department of Theology
Tyndale Seminary
Winter 2005
Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m.
Instructor: Dr. V. Shepherd
416 226 6380  (ext. 6726)
e-mail:  victor.shepherd@sympatico.ca


This course endeavours to acquaint students with the development of Christian thought from the post-apostolic period to modernity.  As the course progresses students will gain familiarity with the kinds of theological thinking found in different eras; e.g., the patristic, the mediaeval, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the post-Reformation,, the Enlightenment, the modern.


The objectives of the course are

[1] to have students understand the church’s struggle to preserve “the faith once delivered to the saints” throughout the vicissitudes of history;

[2] to have students understand how theology is always written in a context (political, social, philosophical) and is always affected by the context, despite protestations to the contrary;

[3] to acquaint students majoring in church history with theological rigour, and to acquaint students majoring in theology with history’s surge and significance;

[4] to have students appreciate the multi-dimensionality of the gospel as different aspects of the faith are investigated week-by-week;

[5] to promote an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of the differing traditions that comprise “the household and family of God”;

[6] to reassure students that Christ’s promise to his church, the community of the faithful, is a promise that he invariably keeps;

[7] to emphasise the truth that a Christian, a congregation, or a denomination that is unaware of the past is like people suffering from amnesia: they are to be pitied and feared, not because they can’t remember details but rather because they can’t be trusted.


Text for the course: Olson, Roger E.; The Story of Christian Theology (IVP, 1999) ISBN:0 8308 1505 8


Readings for the course will be supplied in a “Kinkos” volume.


Requirements for the course are

[1] one essay, approximately 3000 words long (the essay may be written in accordance with the APA style manual.)

[2] a final, end-of-semester examination.

Essay and examination will be weighted equally.


Prerequisite for the course is the successful completion of THEO 0531 and 0532 or Theo 0530


For Seminary regulations pertaining to absenteeism, late work or incomplete work, please see the student handbook.




Jan 19               GABRIEL BIEL (348-360)*      the nature of justification

a foil for the Reformers


Jan 26               MARTIN LUTHER (375-394)   the righteousness of God

theologia crucis

Feb 2                JOHN CALVIN (408-413)         a doctrine of scripture


Feb 9                COUNCIL OF TRENT (444-449) the path to the Council of Trent

the shape of tridentine theology


Feb 16              PURITANS (493-509)               dispelling the myth

Jonathan Edwards on Religious Affections


Feb 23              JOHN WESLEY (510-517)        the nature of Christian perfection


Mar 2               ANABAPTISTS (414-428)        the protest of the Radical Reformers


Mar 9               ATHANASIUS (144-172)          the cruciality of the homoousion


Mar 16             Reading Week – no class


Mar 23             ANSELM (316-3250                 Cur Deus Homo?


Mar 30             AQUINAS (331-347)                 the refutation of Anselm’s ontological argument

the “five proofs”

analogical predication


Apr 6                SCHLEIERMACHER (538-547)  the attempt at accommodating “The Cultured

Despisers of Religion”


Apr 13              KARL BARTH (572-586)          the “doctor” of the 20th century church

the relation of gospel and law

Apr 20              Final Examination

* The numbers in parentheses refer to pages in Olson, The Story of Christian Theology.    



Supplementary Readings :


Biel                               Oberman, H.; “The Process of Justification”, Part II, The

Harvest of Mediaeval Theology

Oberman, H.;  “‘Iustitia Christi’ and ‘Iustitia Dei’:

Luther and the Scholastic Doctrine of

Justification”, Harvard Theological Review,

Vol. 59 No. 1, Jan. 1966


Luther                          Luther, M.; The Freedom of the Christian (Man)

Christian Liberty


Althaus, P. The Theology of Martin Luther

Ebeling, G.; Luther

Rupp, G.; Luther’s Progress to the Diet of Worms

Rupp, G,; The Righteousness of God


Calvin                           Calvin, J.; The Institutes of the Christian Religion,

Bk. IV, Chapt. I, Sects. 1-11, 22 (keys, church)

Calvin, J.; The Institutes of the Christian Religion,

Bk. III, Chapts. XXI – XXIV   (predestination)

Calvin, J.; Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God.

George, T.; Calvin and the Church

Milner, B.; Calvin’s Doctrine of the Church

Parker, T.; Calvin (biography)

Wendel, F.; Calvin


Radical Reformers

Williams, G.; The Radical Reformation

Steinmetz, D.; Reformers in the Wings


Council of Trent

Janelle, P.; The Council of Trent

Jedin, E., History of the Council of Trent

Dickens, A.G.; The Counter-Reformation



Daniels, B.; Puritans at Play

Packer, J.; A Quest for Godliness


Wesley                         The Works of John Wesley (Albert Outler, ed., Abingdon)

Vol 1: “Salvation By Faith”

“Scriptural Christianity”

“The Witness of the Spirit”  – I

“The Witness of the Spirit” – II

“The Witness of our own Spirit”


Vol. 2: “Christian Perfection”

“Catholic Spirit”

Vol. 3: “The Danger of Riches”


Lindstrom, H.; Wesley and Sanctification

Maddox, R.; Responsible Grace

Williams, C.; John Wesley’s Theology Today



Athanasius                    Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word of God

Norris, R. (ed.;) Christology of the Later Fathers

(Library of Christian Classics)


Kelly, J.; Early Christian Doctrine



Anselm                         Anselm, Cur Deus Homo?

Deane, S.; Saint Anselm, Basic Writings


Hopkins, J.; A Companion to the Study of St. Anselm


Aquinas            Gilby, T.; St. Thomas Aquinas, Theological Texts

Chesterton, G.; St. Thomas Aquinas

Copleston, F.; Aquinas

Kenny, A.; Thomas Aquinas



Schleiermacher              Schleiermacher, G.; The Christian Faith

Schleiermacher, G.; Lectures


Mackintosh, H.; Types of Modern Theology, Chapts. II & III

Barth, K.; Protestant Theology in the Nineteenth Century, Chapt. 11


Barth                            Barth, K.; Dogmatics in Outline

Barth, K.; Evangelical Theology

Barth, K.; The Humanity of God


Bloesch, D.; Jesus is Victor!

Bromiley, G.; An Introduction to the Theology of Karl Barth

Torrance , T.; Karl Barth



Liberation Theology


Bonino, M.; Doing Theology in a Revolutionary Situation

Brown, R.; Unexpected News: Reading the Bible with

Third World Eyes

Gonzalez, C. and G.; Liberation Preaching: The Pulpit

and the Oppressed


Armerding, C. (ed.); Evangelicals and Liberation




Essay Topics


  1.   Justification According to the Council of Trent and the Magisterial Reformation.  (You may select
    one reformer)


  1.   Luther’s Ecclesiology.


  1.   Luther’s Notion of the Two Kingdoms.


  1.   Luther’s Understanding of the Ordained Ministry.


  1.   The Christology of the Radical Reformers.  (You may select one reformer)


  1.   Anabaptists, Zwingli and Calvin on the Lord’s Supper.


  1.   Menno Simons’ Understanding of Baptism.


  1.   Menno Simons and Ignatius Loyola: Divergence and Convergence in their Understanding of the
    Christian Life.


  1.   Calvin on the Three Uses of the Law.


10. Calvin’s Understanding of Scripture.


11. A Puritan Understanding of the Believer’s Holiness.


12. A Puritan Theologian on Sanctification.


13. A Comparison with respect to Substance and Mood of Luther’s Small Catechism, Calvin’s Geneva
Catechism, The Heidelberg Catechism, and The Westminster Shorter Catechism.


14. Wesley’s Puritan Inheritance.


15. Wesley’s Understanding of Christian Perfection.


16. The Place of the Doctrine of Prevenient Grace in Wesley’s Theology.


17. Wesley’s Understanding of Regeneration and Assurance.


18. The Doctrine of…(Atonement, for instance) in the Hymns of

Charles Wesley.


19. A Comment on Critique of Selected Doctrine(s) in the Thought of Schleiermacher.


20. Barth’s Assessment of Natural Theology.


21. Barth’s Doctrine of the Word of God.


22. Barth’s Appreciation of the Blumhardts.

23. An Exposition and Critique of Athanasius’s Notion of               Recapitulation.


24. Thomas Aquinas on Predestination (or Grace, Faith, etc.).


25. The Scriptural Adequacy of Anselm’s Understanding of the Atonement.


26. Roman Catholicism: A Comparison of the Council of Trent and

Vatican II.


  1.   (Any topic approved by the instructor.)