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Unit Weighting                       

9 credit points

Type of Unit                




Academic Staff            


Curriculum Objectives

This graduate course unit engages the main themes and characteristics of Patristic tradition, which it examines within their historical context and from a comparative perspective. It assists students to appreciate the significance of various trends in traditional theology and spirituality for the general Christian experience.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Appreciate the historical and ecclesial contexts of various trends in patristic tradition
  2. Display an awareness of the main themes pertaining to the patristic tradition
  3. Utilise primary and secondary sources in the analysis of patristic themes
  4. Analyse themes pertaining to the patristic tradition within their immediate and distant literary and historical contexts
  5. Assess the relevance of patristic tradition to contemporary scholarship and the Christian experience


  1. Various understandings of the patristic era.
  2. What is a Church father.
  3. Church fathers and mothers.
  4. Main trends and themes in patristic theology.
  5. The Church fathers as contributors to the formation of both scripture and tradition.
  6. The influence of the fathers on the liturgical and spiritual tradition of the Church.
  7. Christianity and culture: the Church fathers at the crossroads.

Assessment Profile

  1. Critical review of article (1,000 words). Value: 20%
  2. Essay (2,500 words). Value: 50%
  3. Take home exam (1,500 words). Value: 30%


See Timetable