Church History Methodology

Church History Methodology

Please make an enquiry regarding your interest i this subject for 2019 sessions.

2017 Subject details below

THL513 (Master of Theology) – run in face-to-face and distance mode at United Theological College.

Call UTC to enrol for courses in 2018.
Phone 02 8838 8914
Office Hours: 9 am – 5 pm (Mon – Fri)

2018 UTC Education Prospectus – Downloadable PDF (2MB)

This subject aims to foster a self-critical religious historiography by exploring how and why history is written and re-written principally within Christian traditions in the modern era. It seeks to identify the dominant concerns and emphases of past and recent historiography to uncover widely recognised criteria for good history writing; to focus on perennial methodological issues in religious history writing; to survey critically recent Australian religious history writing; and to demonstrate the central part that history as a discipline plays within theological studies.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:

  • be able to show understanding of how emphases and perspectives of religious and wider historiography have changed during the past century;
  • be able to demonstrate recognition of how perspectives of history writers are shaped by their culture and religious interests;
  • be able to assess the competence of any history writing by formal historiographical standards;
  • be able to evaluate critically the perspectives and preoccupations of contemporary works on Australian religious history;
  • be able to discuss the problems posed by historical methodology in vindicating or corroborating religious faith;
  • be able to evidence enhanced research and historiographical skills.


The subject will cover the following topics:

  • An overview of history writing and methods of critique
  • Professional skills and current standards in contemporary history writing
  • Religious and church history writing during the previous fifty years
  • Contemporary forces that shape the writing and criticism of religious history
  • Developments in Australian religious historiography since the 1960s
  • Perennial methodological issues affecting history writing in general and religious history writing in particular
  • The place of the historian’s own attitudes and concerns in religious history writing
  • The nature of historical proof
  • The contested use of historical methodology in vindicating or corroborating religious faith