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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Postgraduate Course: Calvinist Theology and Piety in Britain and America, C. 1590-1660 (ECHS11006)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe aim is to consider the character of Calvinist theology and piety in England, New England and Scotland, at a critical stage in the evolution of international Calvinism.
Course description Academic Description:
The course considers the character of Reformed theology and piety in England, New England and Scotland, at a critical stage in the evolution of international Calvinism. Taking a comparative approach, the course explores the mind-set of English-speaking Calvinists, mediated to each other through print, personal contact, and similar styles of piety. The aim will be to identify tensions within their confessional tradition, and to understand the diverse contexts in which Calvinist theology and piety took root.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
After a seminar to introduce recent scholarship and the seventeenth century context, the course explores key themes: 'godly learning' and the practice of piety, Providence and providentialism, covenant theology, the challenge of Arminianism, the role of religion in emigration to New England, contemporary debates over conversion and assurance, Reformed theology and visual culture, sacraments and the sabbath. The final seminars focus on the Westminster Assembly's efforts to achieve reform (which brought together the experience of England, Scotland, and New England), and on the explosion of radical religious activity in England in the 1640s and 1650s. Primary texts, including rare books from New College Library, are central to the course.

Student Learning Experience Information:
The course has eleven two-hour seminars, one each week. From the second week, the first hour of each class is devoted to discussion based on the previous week's work (centred on primary texts). The second hour comprises more formal teaching to introduce the following week's theme. Students must lead one or more discussion sessions, by posting a blog ahead of the class and leading the discussion on the day. All students are expected to contribute to the blog and seminar discussion: this involves reading 17th century texts, most of which are in New College Library but are also available via Early English Books Online. Through participation in the schedule of readings, class discussion, and a written assignment based on a 17th century text (chosen in consultation with the course manager), students will demonstrate their achievement of the intended learning outcomes.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThis is a graduate-level course. Please confirm subject prerequisites with the Course Manager.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Recognise and discuss central theological issues in debate during this period.
  2. Critique the forms Reformed theology and piety took in different contexts (common themes and divergences), showing how theology and historical circumstance shaped the culture of piety.
  3. Construct a critical argument based on analysis of a 17th century text, engaging with pertinent debates in recent scholarship (historical and theological).
  4. Demonstrate research skills in use of Early English Books Online and rare books in New College Library, and other library resources, for weekly readings and coursework essay.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserProf Susan Hardman Moore
Tel: (0131 6)50 8900
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
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