THL533 The Philosophy of Religious History (16)

This subject addresses the development of historical thought and method from classical Greece to the present day, with reference to both religious history and the discipline of history generally. Students will consider the meaning, purpose and social functions of historical writing, as well as assess critically the methods, models and interpretations employed by different historical schools and traditions.  In addition, they will examine trends in recent historical thought and practice, and explore the influence of disciplines such as theology, sociology and anthropology on religious history, as well as of movements such as postmodernism, feminism and post-colonialism.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2018.

Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Theology

Enrolment Restrictions

Master of Theology and Bachelor of Theology (Honours) students only.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate in-depth understanding of key philosophical and methodological issues central to the study of religious history; to the study of history generally; and to other disciplines in the humanities and social science
  • be able to analyse critically the assumptions and methods adopted by different historians, schools of historical thought (from antiquity through to the modern period) and historiographies in their attempts to understand and write about the past
  • be able to identify and critique the underlying premises and presuppositions of specific pieces of historical writing and media
  • be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the ways in which theoretical issues are relevant to the practice of different forms of history
  • be able to develop sustained arguments regarding the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to the study of the past
  • be able to design and create a research project illuminating theoretical issues relevant to the practice of religious history specifically, and history generally


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Themes, issues and concepts, including: purpose, truth/fact, interpretation, moral judgment and laws in history
  • Historians in the classical age: cyclical history, Herodotus and Thucydides
  • Christian philosophies of history: from ancient to early modern
  • The idea of progress
  • Historicism
  • The founder of modern history: Leopold von Ranke
  • Nietzsche and Croce
  • Longue durée: The Annales School
  • Marxist and neo-Marxist history: from Marx to EP Thompson
  • Foucault on power, knowledge and sexuality
  • From women's history to gender history
  • Postcolonialism and the Subaltern Studies school
  • Narrative and truth: Hayden White
  • Truth and the Shoah/Holocaust
  • From church history to religious history
  • Christian philosophies of history in the modern age


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.