Michael Heintz Syllabus




Michael Heintz, PhD

133 Malloy    



This course offers a survey of Christian theology from the end of the New Testament period to the eve of the Reformation. Through the close reading of primary texts, the course pays special attention to the way in which theology was done in the first millennium of the Christian era, with particular attention to the ways that Scriptural reading, the life of common, liturgical prayer, and active charity shaped the theological reflection of the Great Church. This course is obligatory for all majors and supplementary majors but is open to others who have completed the university requirements in theology and who wish to gain a greater fluency in the history of Christian thought.



Prepared and thoughtful participation in discussions of assigned readings (20%); this includes not only unfailing attendance but also insightful classroom comments. To facilitate this, students in the class may be asked to submit via email to the instructor a question related to the assigned readings; these will be collated and distributed electronically to the class and will form the basis for discussion; further details to follow. 

A Final Examination (40%): scheduled by the Registrar (TBA)

A typed, double-spaced paper of  7 (seven) to 10 (ten) pages in length on the student’s choice of one of the following three books: Andrew Louth’s The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys, Simon Tugwell’s Ways of Imperfection: An Exploration of Christian Spirituality, and Rowan Williams’ The Wound of Knowledge: Christian Spirituality from the New Testament to John of the Cross, due in class on Wednesday, November 13 (40% of final grade); specifics about the paper to follow.

Students are expected to uphold the honor code at all times, as required by the honor code pledge (see Academic Handbook; nd.edu/~hnrcode).

BOOKS available at the Bookstore or through Amazon (total cost ranging from $ 115.00 – 155.00, depending upon which books are selected for the two papers):

Early Christian Writings, ed. A. Louth  [ISBN 9780140444759]

Anselm of Canterbury, Prayers and Meditations [ISBN 978014044272]

Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word [ISBN 0913836408]

Augustine, Confessions, trans. H. Chadwick [ISBN 0199537828]

Basil of Caesarea, On the Holy Spirit [ISBN 0881418765]

Benedict, The Rule [ISBN 00814612729]

Bonaventure, The Journey of the Mind to God [ISBN 0872202003]

Cyril of Jerusalem, On the Sacraments [Mystagogical Catecheses] [ISBN 0913836397]

Gregory of Nazianzus, On God and Christ [Five Theological Orations] [ISBN 9780881412406]

Origen, Select Writings, ed. R. Greer [ISBN 9780809121984]


Andrew Louth, The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition [ISBN 0199291403]

Simon Tugwell, Ways of Imperfection [ISBN 0872431649]

Rowan Williams, The Wound of Knowledge [ISBN 1561010472]

Any remaining texts used in this course are available through Course (formerly called Electronic) Reserves [ER] or will be distributed by the instructor.  Since discussion of the primary texts will be prominent in the classroom, it will be highly desirable that students print up the primary text and bring it to the session for which it is assigned, for ease of consultation.



August 28: Introduction; what is Theology; what is Historical Theology; Robin Darling Young, “Theologia in the Early Church” [ER]

September 2: Letters of Ignatius of Antioch (in Louth); Robin Darling Young, “Ancient Culture and the Shape of Early Christian Discipleship” [ER]

September 4: Justin Martyr, 1 Apology [ER]; Epistle to Diognetus (in Louth)

September 9: Tertullian, On Baptism [ER]; Passion of Perpetua [ER]

September 11: Letters of John; Gospel of Truth; Gospel of Thomas; Second Treatise of the Great Seth [ER]

September 16: Irenaeus, Against Heresies – selections from Books II and III [ER]

September 18: Origen, Homily 27 on Numbers [ER]

September 23: Origen, Exhortation to Martyrdom (in Greer)

September 25: Cyprian, On the Unity of the Church [ER]

September 30: Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word

October 2: Gregory of Nazianzus, Five Theological Orations, Orations 1-3

October 7:  Nazianzen (cont’d), Orations 4-5; Letters to Cledonius; Gregory of Nyssa, On “Not Three Gods” to Ablabius [ER]

October 9: Conciliar Creeds and Decrees from Nicaea, Constantinople I, Ephesus, and Chalcedon; and Leo, Tome to Flavian [ER]

October 14: Basil, On the Holy Spirit

October 16: Cyril, Mystagogical Catecheses

October 19-27: MID-TERM BREAK

October 28: Augustine, Confessions 1-5

October 30: Augustine, Confessions 6-9

November 4: Augustine, Letter 130 to Proba On Prayer

November 6: Benedict, Rule

November 11: Anselm, Selected Prayers

November 13: Thomas, Summa Theologiae IIa IIae , Question 83 on Prayer [ER]


November 18: Thomas, De Perfectione [ER]

November 20: Bonaventure, The Journey of the Soul to God, Prologue – Ch. 4

November 25: Bonaventure, The Journey of the Soul to God (cont’d) – Chs. 5-7

November 27-November 30: THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

December 2: Bonaventure, Breviloquium VI: The Sacramental Remedy [ER]

December 4: Julian of Norwich, Sho