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College of Arts and Sciences

Historical Theology/History of Christianity


The Historical Theology/History of Christianity (HT/HC) area studies past theological reflection on the faith and practice of the Church, with a particular focus on early and medieval Christianity. The HT/HC area strives to appreciate these theological expressions both within their immediate historical contexts (social, cultural, institutional) and within the broader trajectories of theological development in the Christian tradition.

Sample of Recent Graduate Seminars

Augustine: Life and Thought
Augustine's Confessions
Introduction to Early Christianity
Intro. to Medieval Theology I-II
Fathers of the Church
Irenaeus and Origen
Late Medieval Mysticism
Latin Paleography
Patristics: Latin & English
Theologies of the Eucharist, High Middle Ages
The Theology of Bonaventure
The Theology of Hugh of St. Victor
The Theology of Thomas Aquinas

Resources for Study of HT/HC

The Boston Colloquy in Historical Theology (BCHT)

The Boston Theological Institute is a consortium of theology faculties primarily in the Boston-Newton-Cambridge area. This consortium offers complete cross-registration in several hundred courses, the use of library facilities in the nine schools, joint seminars and programs, and faculty exchange programs.

The Patristica Bostoniensa is a colloquium for faculty and graduate students of the Boston Theological Institute and other institutions in the greater Boston area. It meets on a regular basis for the presentation and discussion of the current research of the colloquium's members.

Students may take Graduate seminars in Boston College’s Philosophy Department which is particularly strong in ancient philosophy.

The Stephen and Catherine Pappas Patristic Institute of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, among other initiatives, hosts annual conferences on early Christian topics for faculty and graduate students.

The Boston College Libraries have strong holdings especially in the early and medieval periods.

Summer language instruction is available at Boston College in French, German, and Latin. Syriac instruction is available through the Boston Theological Institute.

Preparation for Admission

Students seeking admission to the Ph.D. program with a research interest in HT/HC should develop both the linguistic skills and the areas of background knowledge necessary for such study. Those entering the program in this field normally have already studied either Greek or Latin, and can read at least one of the main modern research languages (German and/or French). In addition, prospective students are expected to have done substantial preparatory course work in subjects such as Christian history and theology, Biblical studies, ancient philosophy, and classical civilization. The writing sample submitted during application should demonstrate facility in scholarly methods, theological argument, and the use of research languages.