Course Syllabus

Instructor: Gregory Allen Robbins, Ph.D.

Director, The Anglican Studies Program, Iliff School of Theology/Diocese of Colorado

Associate Professor, History of Christianity and its Scriptures, University of Denver

Canon Theologian, Saint John’s Cathedral/Diocese of Colorado


Office Hours: By appointment; office phone: 303.871.2751; cell phone (for weekend communication): 303.330.3634

Course Synopsis

This course argues that English Christianity has always been in the process of reformation.  The Venerable Bede, in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, documents this tendency in the early Middle Ages. Henry VIII's reforming turn, the reforms sought by John Wesley and by John Henry Newman continued the process. Current upheavals in the post-colonial era constitute a new chapter in a reformation still underway.

Books for the Course


  1. Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, revised edition (London: Penguin Books,1990). ISBN: 0-14-044565-X (paper) -- There should be plenty of good, cheap copies available. Having your own copy is much easier to use than the online version available.
  2. Alec Ryrie, The Age of ReformationThe Tudor and Stewart Realms 1485-1603 (Pearson Education Limited, 2009).  ISBN: 978-4058-3557-2 (paper).
  3. Richard P. Heizenrater, Wesley and the People Called Methodists (Abingdon, 1995).  ISBN:  10-0687443113 (paper).
  4. C. Brad Faught, The Oxford Movement:  A Thematic History of the Tractarians and their Times (Penn State University Press, 2003).  ISBN:  0-271-02394-5.
  5. L. William Countryman, Calling on the Spirit in Unsettling Times: Anglican Present and Future, Canterbury Studies in Anglicanism (Morehouse Publishing, 2012). ISBN: 10: 0819227706

Required (available on-line):

Venerable Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People (not a modern translation and not as easy to use as the readily available, inexpensive Penguin text above).

John Wesley, Works

John Henry Newman, et al, Tracts for the Times

The Anglican Communion site on "Continuing Indaba" (

Highly recommended as you build your own theological library:

Paul Avis, Anglicanism and the Christian ChurchTheological Resources in Historical Perspective, revised and expanded edition (T&T Clark, Ltd., 2002).

Owen Chadwick, The Spirit of the Oxford Movement: Tractarian Essays (Cambridge University Press, 1990, 1995)

Michael Chandler, An Introduction to the Oxford Movement (Church Publishing, 2003).

A.G. Dickens, The English Reformation, second edition (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1989).

Ian T. Douglas and Kwok Pui-Lan, Beyond Colonial Anglicanism: The Anglican Communion in the Twenty-First Century (Church Publishing, 2001). 

Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580 (Yale University Press, 1992).

Sheridan Gilley, W. J. Sheils, eds., A History of Religion in Britain:  Practice & Belief from Pre-Roman Times to the Present (Cambridge, MA:  Blackwell, 1994).

Ian Hazlett, The Reformation in Britain and Ireland: An Introduction (T&T Clark, Ltd., 2003).

Felicity Heal, Reformation in Britain and Ireland (Oxford History of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, 2004).

Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer:  A Life (Yale University Press, 1996).

***Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Reformation:  A History (New York:  Penguin Group, 2003). I will certainly recommend supplemental assignments from this outstanding work. Buy this!

Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity:  The First Three Thousand Years (Viking, 2010). Buy this!

JHR Moorman, A History of the Church in England, 3rd Edition (Morehouse Publishing, 1980).

Arthur Pollard, ed., Richard Hooker Ecclesiastical Polity (Carcanet Press, 1990).

Paul F. M. Zahl, Five Women of the English Reformation (William Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001).

See Taylor Library's list of online book sellers for purchasing options.



  • To recognize that English Christianity has always been in the process of reformation, even today.
  • To read and analyze critically both primary and secondary texts;
  • To engage recent historiographical debates about the history of English Christianity, the English Reformation and its aftermath;
  • To contemplate the future of Anglicanism (and Methodism) in a post-colonial world.


 Students who complete the requirements of English Reformations will:

  •  Produce an annotated time line tracing
  1. The beginnings of Christianity in the British Isles;
  2. The English Reformation in Britain (England, Scotland; Wales) and Ireland;
  3. Methodist reforms and their consequences
  4. The Oxford Movement and its impact;
  5. Early, signal events in the post-colonial era.
  • Submit and respond to five seminar papers that “exegete” foundational texts or illuminate important methodological and theological questions;
  • Understand the complex social, cultural, and theological matrix that gave rise to the various reformations in English Christianity, and recognize that there has been/is more than one way to construe the English Reformation and its consequences;

Begin to comprehend the link between the English reformations we have studied and issues that the Episcopal and United Methodist churches in America are confronting.


Students will be expected to compile a portfolio of work. Required postings and discussions include attention to both historical overviews and close, textual analyses of original sources. Students will complete five, short papers in which they will “exegete” specific passages from original sources. Each student will be expected to construct an annotated chronology/timeline that documents engagement with and mastery of the subject matter of the course. The compilation will be evaluated according to the following formula:

Bi-weekly postings   = 40%
Five analytical  (“exegetical”) papers and peer reviews  = 40%
An annotated chronology = 20%


There are five (5), two-week modules in this course that divide the material into manageable "chunks."

The first week of each module is devoted to reading and informed discussion. You'll start reading on Thursday, upload your first discussion post by Tuesday, and respond substantively to your peers in a second post by Thursday

The second week of each module is devoted to reading, reflection and writing. You'll start reading and reflecting on Thursday, upload your exegetical/analysis paper by Tuesday,, and respond substantively to your assigned peer's paper by Thursday


Policies And Services

Discussion Guidelines

Rubric For Evaluation Of Exegetical Papers

Rubric For Evaluation Of Peer Reviews

Things To Ask When Writing A Peer Review

Course Summary:

Date Details Due