Orthodox Theology


Course Objective

By the end of the module, the student will:
• be familiar with select Fathers of the Orthodox Christian tradition
• be able to read Patristic texts with understanding, paying attention
to genre, historical context and theological contribution
• be conversant with the theological issues being discussed during the
period of the early Church
• be able to relate the Patristic material studied to contemporary

Course Content

This course will look at the key themes of Orthodox theology as
developed in the early Church, the age of the Councils, as articulated
by particular Fathers, in particular St Athanasius, St Gregory the
Theologian, Dionysius the Areopagite, and St John of Damascus. The
questions that will be addressed concern such fundamental issues as:
what is the nature and method of theology and what is the canon or
criterion, if any, that regulates it? What are the central teachings of
Christianity regarding the person of Christ and his relation to God and
the Spirit, and the relationship between creation and salvation.

Teaching Methods

This module is taught in a blended format of on-line instruction
and interaction together with one intensive day at VU.

Method of Assessment

On-line assignments (40%), presentation (20%), research paper (40%)

Entry Requirements

Basic knowledge of the Bible, courses History of Orthodox Christianity,
Scripture in Orthodox Christianity and Liturgy in Orthodox Christianity.


• Irenaeus of Lyons, Selections (PDFs online)
• Origen, two chapters on Christ from On First Principles (PDFs online)
• Athanasius, On the Incarnation (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary
Press, 2012)
• Gregory of Nazianzus, Theological Orations, in St Gregory of
Nazianzus: On God and Christ, The Five Theological Orations and Two
Letters to Cledonius (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2002)
• Dionysius the Areopagite, Mystical Theology (PDFs online - two
different translations!)
• John of Damascus, On the Holy Images, trans. A. Louth, Popular
Patristics Series (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2003)
• John Behr, The Nicene Faith (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary
Press, 2004)

Additional Information

This course is an integral part of the minor/pre-master Orthodox

Custom Course Registration

This course is an integral part of the minor/pre-master Orthodox Christianity. Before enrolling in the minor/pre-master programme you need to register through www.acot.nl.

Recommended background knowledge

At ease with writing and speaking in English

General Information

Course Code G_OCOLT
Credits 6 EC
Period P5
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Religion and Theology
Course Coordinator dr. H.P.S. Bakker BA
Examiner prof. dr. J. Behr
Teaching Staff prof. dr. J. Behr

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: