Course Syllabus


Introduction to the History of Christianity - Spring Term 2022

(IST 2500; 4 Credits; Residential HI-Intro-Level Course) 

Thursdays: 8:30 AM-Noon. Classroom Location: BEC-218

Start Date: Thursday March 31st, 2022 

End Date: Thurs. June 2nd, 2022 

Instructor:  Albert Hernández, Ph.D.     Email Address:

Office:  Iliff Hall, Room 115    Office Hours: --By Appointment--

Course Description/Synopsis:

This course introduces students to the broad outlines of the history of Christianity with an emphasis on major historical developments, and on the emergence of both local and trans-local expressions of religious traditions. Students will examine and discuss a series of historical case studies, derived from primary and secondary sources, covering different periods and themes, beliefs and practices, controversies and compromises, and key religious figures. Students will apply their learning from the case studies to a broad understanding of how different social, cross-cultural, institutional and intellectual patterns have shaped the diversity and complexity of the Christian historical and religious tradition.

Overview and Objectives  (click to read/review)

Required Course Textbooks & Readings: 

Justo González, The Story of Christianity, Volume I:  The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. Revised and Updated Edition. New York: Harper-One, 2010. [ISBN: 978-0-06-185-588-7]. (Also available from Amazon Kindle, and from Harper-Collins e-books thru Harper Collins Publishers, and available to Rent from select textbook providers, including  

Justo González, The Story of Christianity, Volume II:  The Reformation to the Present Day. Revised and Updated Edition. New York: Harper-One, 2010.  [ISBN: 978-0-06-185-558-94].  (Also available from Amazon Kindle, and available from Harper-Collins e-books thru Harper Collins Publishers, and available to Rent from select textbook providers, including  

Additional Required Readings----from primary and/or from secondary sources will be listed with Links in the "Course Summary" outline of the Syllabus under the respective week of the course in which the reading is due to be completed with full author, title, and page number information as well as any relevant external links for each secondary source or for each primary source excerpt.  All additional required readings are also be available to students under the "Files" tab of our Canvas course site.

Suggested Additional Reading: (Optional texts; Not required to purchase)

Everett Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity. Third Edition. William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003.  

Kevin Madigan, Medieval Christianity: A New History. Yale University Press, 2015.

Brian Catlos, Kingdoms of Faith: A New History of Islamic Spain. Basic Books/Hachette Book Group, 2018. 

Glen S. Sunshine, A Brief Introduction to the Reformation. Westminster John Knox Press, 2017.

George E. Tinker, Missionary Conquest: The Gospel & Native American Cultural Genocide. Fortress, 1993. 

Evaluation, Assignments, & Grading Procedures (click to read/review)

Course Procedures & Expectations

Accessing and Regularly Checking our Canvas Course Site:

  • Before the start of Spring Tern 2022:  Students are expected to use the Canvas course site/page to familiarize themselves with the entire course syllabus, the required weekly reading assignments from the different primary and secondary sources, and with the instructions and deadlines throughout the duration of the course.
  • Checking Canvas Regularly: Students are expected to check the Canvas course site/page regularly for important announcements or updates from the instructor.
  • Handouts and Resources: Historical timelines, relevant images from the historical periods covered in the course, and links to additional web-based resources are also available on the Canvas course site/page and on the "Files" tab for the course.
  • Inclusive Language:  It is expected that all course participants will use inclusive language and appropriate pronouns in speaking and writing, and will use terms that do not create barriers to fostering an effective and respectful classroom community. 
  • Pass/Fail Grading Option:  Iliff masters students wishing to take the class on the Pass/Fail grading option should discuss this with the instructor by the second class session.
  • Technology Issues/Concerns: If you need assistance managing Canvas please email the Iliff School of Theology HELP DESK or call them at 303-909-9321.  Please leave a message and the staff will get back to you as soon as possible. They are typically available from about 8:30 AM to about 4:30 PM in the Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

Writing Lab: 

Grammar and organization are important for all written assignments.  Additional help is available from the Iliff Writing Lab., which is available for students of any level who need help beginning an assignment, organizing thoughts, or reviewing a final draft. 

Academic Integrity and Core Values:  

All students are expected to abide by Iliff’s statement on Academic Integrity, as published in the Master's Student Handbook , or the Joint PhD Statement on Academic Honesty, as published in the Joint PhD Student Handbook , as appropriate.  All participants in this class are expected to be familiar with Iliff’s Core Values.

Incomplete Grade Petitions: 

Incomplete Grade Petitions will be granted only in the case of documented and verifiable medical circumstances or other personal or family related emergencies. In the event a student requires this option, the final grade for the course will be assigned as a "Pass" (P) or "Fail" (F) grade.  See the Master's Student Handbook for the Policies and Procedures about Incomplete Grade Petitions. 

Additional Policies & Services: 

Accommodations: Iliff engages in a collaborative effort with students with disabilities to reasonably accommodate student needs. Students are encouraged to contact their assigned advisor to initiate the process of requesting accommodations. The Advising Center can be contacted at or by phone at 303-765-1146.  The Disability Services Officer at Iliff is Jeremy Garber,  For more information, go to the Disability Services section in the Masters Student Handbook (Links to an external site.).

Course Summary:

Date Details Due