HIS203: The Early Church and the Roman Empire


HIS203: The Early Church and the Roman Empire – From the Principate of Augustus to the Reign of Justinian

Key details

Accredited towardsBachelor of Arts in the Liberal Arts
Unit typeCore unit
Credit points6
Indicative contact hours3 hours per week
Offered inSemester 1
Tuition feeLearn more



This unit explores the rise of the early Christian Church from the principate of Augustus to the reign of the emperor Justinian. It will first examine the question of the origins of Christianity and its relation with the Judaism of the Second Temple and then the emergence of the early Christian communities in the empire following the death of Jesus, the changing nature of the persecutions against Christians, along with the structuring and organisation of the Christian institution of the Church, its triumphant recognition by Constantine, its internal fight against heresy, and the formulation and formalisation of dogmas and rituals through the work of the apologists, the early Church Fathers and the various councils.


Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit of study, students will be able to:

  1. understand the problems connected with the study of the origins of Christianity and the development of the early Christian Church.
  2. understand, identify, describe and evaluate the processes which led to the emergence of Christianity within the Jewish context and its spread into the Greco-Roman world.
  3. understand the interrelation and interaction between pagan, Jewish and Christian cultures.
  4. critically evaluate primary sources.
  5. use a wide range of primary sources in reconstructing events and processes of the ancient world.
  6. engage in independent research and to critically evaluate conflicting scholarship.
  7. think logically, critically analyse situations, and design responsible solutions to problems.
  8. effectively and confidently participate in group work and tutorial events and to contribute with clarity and coherence.
  9. write well-argued and well-structured essays and appropriately use references and bibliographies according to academic conventions.



Interested in other History units?

HIS101: Western Societies from Antiquity to the Present
HIS102: The Ancient World – From the Birth of Greek Rationalism to the Crisis of the Roman Republic
HIS203: The Early Church and the Roman Empire – From the Principate of Augustus to the Reign of Justinian
HIS204: The Medieval World
HIS301: Topics in Twentieth-Century History
HIS302: Australian Politics, Culture and Religion since 1788
HIS303: Humanists and Reformers – The Renaissance
HIS304: Enlightenment Europe and the Creation of the Modern World



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