Anglican Studies, Christian History

Anglican Church History I

Taught by Gerald Bray
Difficulty: Introductory
Crosslist: Christian History
Runs 9/25 – 12/9/23
$225.00 – $399.00

This course will look at the factors that led to the English Reformation and the key texts and events that gave it its particular shape. It will cover the work of Bible translation, the reshaping of doctrine in the Articles of religion and the attempt to reform church discipline from the Reformation parliament of 1529 to the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603.

Deadline to register: Wednesday, September 13th




Auditing ($225):

participate in readings and live class sessions, but no graded assignments and no course credit

Full course (Full-Time Discount) ($275):

for-credit courses (at least four per term) toward our Certificate or M.Litt in Classical Protestantism

Full course ($399):

individual classes on a for-credit basis; you can later apply them toward a Certificate or Degree




This Anglican Studies/Christian History course will be taught by Gerald Bray, and will run from September 25th through December 9th. The syllabus is available here.

This course covers the history of the Church of England, with special emphasis on the sixteenth-century Reformation and subsequent developments up to the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603.

It consists of ten lectures which highlight the theological and political factors that combined to produce a unique type of Protestant church that is now called “Anglican”. In contrast to what happened elsewhere, the English Reformation began from the top down and was imposed on a country that had little apparent desire for change. That fact was to shape the approach of the Reformers and determine what the reformed Church of England would look like.

The first three lectures cover the millennium leading up to the Reformation, putting special emphasis on the development of those church structures that were to be of primary importance in the Reformation. There is a detailed explanation of the way the clergy were recruited and trained, of the tithe system by which they were financed and of the relations between church and state which determined how the system operated.

The fourth lecture talks about early reform movements and explains why they failed, even though they left a legacy that would re-emerge later. The fifth and sixth lectures detail the policies of King Henry VIII and explain their importance for later times. The seventh lecture describes the radical changes that occurred under Edward VI and the reaction to them under Mary I.

Finally, the last three lectures outline the Elizabethan settlement of 1559 and later, when the contours of the lasting Reformation were established.

Gerald Bray is an ordained priest in the Church of England. He studied in Paris at at Cambridge, and taught in London for many years before going to Beeson Divinity School, where he has bene since 1993. He is the author of many books, including a number that deal with Anglican Church history and doctrine. His next publication will be A Companion to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, which will be forthcoming in November 2023.


Online only, runs 10 weeks, meeting 2 hr./wk. via Zoom. Students will also have the option to participate in class discussion on the Davenant Common Room Discord server. Register to reserve your spot and schedule will be set after a poll of participating students; if the class time does not fit your schedule, you will be eligible for a full refund.

This is a graduate-level course. Although a BA is not a necessary pre-requisite for this course, students should come prepared to do graduate-level work.