THL513 Church History Methodology (16)

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.


Session 1 (30)
On Campus
Canberra Campus
Canberra Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: THL513. 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

Incompatible Subjects


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.


This subject will cover the following topics:

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

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of THL513 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Essay: the art of church history
History research project
Discussion/webinar contributions

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.