Classical Faith: An Introduction to Patristic Theology and Spirituality

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Interest in early Church studies has risen considerably over the last several decades. Perhaps most surprising is the emergence of interest among evangelical Protestants, among whom there is particular curiosity in the beliefs and spiritual practices of the post-apostolic believers. This course is an introduction to the study of patristic theology and spirituality, with the specific aim of learning to integrate lessons from these formative years of Christian history. Through the assigned readings and lectures students will receive a general overview of the 2nd through 4th century Church’s social, theological, and spiritual perspectives and practices. Of primary importance for the course is noting the unique bond between theology and spirituality at this stage in Christianity. Students will be expected to come away from this class not only appreciative of historical roots, but better equipped to theologically reflect on their own beliefs and practices.


  • To gain a firm understanding of the essential beliefs and spiritual practices of the Church  in the second through fourth centuries
  • To learn the value in studying the early Church, while doing so with an objective mind


  • To develop a theological and spiritual lens for evaluating the contemporary world.
  • To allow classic Christian writings to shape our own spirituality


  • To develop skills of critical thinking and analysis of theological texts 
  • To consider one’s own context and allow the Fathers to challenge us