English Reformations

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

E-mail: grobbins@du.edu

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 Reformation : The 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" ( http://www.anglicancommunion.org/mission/reconciliation/continuing-indaba.aspx )

Highly recommended as you build your own theological library:

Paul Avis, Anglicanism and the Christian Church : Theological 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 , 3 rd 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.



Students who complete the requirements of English Reformations will:

  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.

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 .

Degree Learning Goals: Please take some time to look over the Professional Degree Learning Goals (MDiv, MASC, MAPSC) and the Academic Degree Learning Goals (MTS, MA).

Incompletes:  If incompletes are allowed in this course, see the Master's Student Handbook for Policies and Procedures.

Pass/Fail:  Masters students wishing to take the class pass/fail should discuss this with the instructor by the second class session.

Academic Integrity and Community Covenant:  All students are expected to abide by Iliff’s statement on Academic Integrity, as published in the Masters 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 Community Covenant.

Core ValuesAs a community, Iliff strives to live by this set of Core Values.

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 advising@iliff.edu or by phone at 303-765-1146. 

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. 

Inclusive Language:  It is expected that all course participants will use inclusive language in speaking and writing, and will use terms that do not create barriers to classroom community. 


  1. Students are required to post TWO substantive comments every week;
  2. Each posting should be no longer than 250 words;
  3. The first posting (4 points possible) should arrive by the end of the day (11:59 p.m.) on Tuesday.;
  4. The second posting (4 points possible), which engages other student comments and builds upon and extends your initial contribution, should arrive by the end of the day (11:59 p.m.) on Thursday;
  5. Please participate in on-line discussions as you would in constructive, face-to-face conversations;
  6. Please be professional and courteous;
  7. On-line communication lacks the non-verbal cues that provide much of the meaning in face-to-face interactions. Choose your words carefully, and phrase your sentences clearly. While you will want to keep your sentences and paragraphs brief (see #2 above), a “tweet” is not your aim;
  8. State the main topic of your posting in the Subject Line;
  9. State the main point(s) you are going to take up at or near the beginning of your comment whenever possible; yours are not “rambles” toward an idea;
  10. Proofread what you intend to post. You may want to use a word processor to draft what you intend to say and then paste your text into the message section of your posting. That way you can be more intentional in your composition, providing you an opportunity to check (and correct) spelling and grammar;
  11. Please do not use all CAPITAL LETTERS. It makes it hard to read, and it comes across as if you were shouting;
  12. Here’s how I intend to evaluate your weekly, on-line postings:








Good --> Above Average

Below Average


No Credit


Peer Review points will be included in your exegetical paper grade as the last criteria in the rubric.


Good --> Above Average

Below Average


No Credit


Sep 12, 2018WedIntroductionsdue by 05:59AM
Sep 12, 2018WedWeek 1, LECTURES I & IB: English Christianity's ties to ancient Christianitiesdue by 05:59AM
Sep 12, 2018WedWeek 1, LECTURE II: Bede, his precursors, resources, and principal themesdue by 05:59AM
Sep 14, 2018FriWeek 1, The Beginnings of the Romano-British Churchdue by 05:59AM
Sep 18, 2018TueAnalysis Paper #1: Bede’s Agenda in Ecclesiastical History of the English People due by 05:59AM
Sep 19, 2018WedWeek 2, LECTURESdue by 05:59AM
Sep 26, 2018WedWeek 3, LECTURE I: En route to the Protestant Reformationdue by 05:59AM
Sep 26, 2018WedWeek 3, LECTURE II: The Eve of the Protestant Reformationdue by 05:59AM
Sep 26, 2018WedWeek 3, LECTURE III: Luther & the Reformed Traditiondue by 05:59AM
Oct 02, 2018TueThe Coming of the Reformationdue by 05:59AM
Oct 03, 2018WedWeek 4, LECTURE I: The Bible takes center stagedue by 05:59AM
Oct 03, 2018WedWeek 4, LECTURE II: Hooker's "Triple Cord"due by 05:59AM
Oct 03, 2018WedWeek 4, LECTURE III: The King James Bibledue by 05:59AM
Oct 04, 2018ThuAnalysis Paper #2: After Henrydue by 05:59AM
Oct 10, 2018WedWeek 5, LECTURE I: From James I to John Wesley, reformerdue by 05:59AM
Oct 10, 2018WedWeek 6, LECTURE I: Re-visiting Pelagianismdue by 05:59AM
Oct 10, 2018WedWeek 6, LECTURE II: Re-visiting faithdue by 05:59AM
Oct 10, 2018WedWeek 6, LECTURE III: Wesley on Scripturedue by 05:59AM
Oct 10, 2018WedWeek 6, LECTURE IV: Singing the Faithdue by 05:59AM
Oct 12, 2018FriMethodism and the Christian Heritage in Englanddue by 05:59AM
Oct 12, 2018FriPreliminary review of timeline + GUIDELINES FOR THE PROJECTdue by 05:59AM
Oct 19, 2018FriAnalysis Paper #3: Maturing Methodismdue by 05:59AM
Oct 26, 2018Fri19th-Century Ecclesiological Renewal: Church & State, and the Catholic Heritage Re-claimeddue by 05:59AM
Nov 02, 2018FriAnalysis Paper #4: The Oxford Movement & Social Reformdue by 05:59AM
Nov 06, 2018TueWeek 7, LECTURE I: An age of transition, the French Revolution & it's aftermathdue by 06:59AM
Nov 06, 2018TueWeek 8, LECTURE I: On Newmandue by 06:59AM
Nov 07, 2018WedWeek 7, LECTURE II: An age of transition, "Sola Scriptura" reduxdue by 06:59AM
Nov 07, 2018WedWeek 8, LECTURE II: On Newman continueddue by 06:59AM
Nov 08, 2018ThuWeek 7, LECTURE III: An age of transition, the industrial revolutiondue by 06:59AM
Nov 09, 2018FriWeek 7, LECTURE IV: An age of transition, scientific revolutionsdue by 06:59AM
Nov 09, 2018FriWeek 8, LECTURE III: Banishing the pewsdue by 06:59AM
Nov 09, 2018FriThe Oxford Movement & Social Reform Peer Reviewdue by 06:59AM
Nov 13, 2018TueAnglican identitydue by 06:59AM
Nov 15, 2018ThuAnglican identity and conversationdue by 06:59AM
Nov 19, 2018MonSubmit timelinedue by 06:59AM