Christian History

The Seven Ecumenical Councils

This course deals with the historical context of the Seven Ecumenical Councils which took place between Constantine’s rule in the 300s and Charlemagne’s in the 800s, as well as their theology and canon law, and their ongoing relevance today.

Taught by Dr. Matthew Hoskin.

Runs 1/10/22-3/19/22.

Auditing: participate in readings and live class sessions, but no graded assignments and no course credit
Full course part-time: individual classes on a for-credit basis; you can later apply them toward a Certificate or Degree
Full course full-time: for-credit courses (at least four per term) toward our Certificate or M.Litt in Classical Protestantism


This Church History course will be taught by Dr. Matthew Hoskin, and will run from January 10th through March 19th 2022. The syllabus is available here.

A resurgence of interest in historic theology within the Reformed and evangelical world has reintroduced many to the great councils of church history. Many know the basics of the Trinitarian debates of Nicaea in 325AD, or the Christological debates of Chalcedon in 451, and the content of these councils has been key to some recent intra-evangelical debates.

Yet between Constantine in the 300s and Charlemagne in the 800s, seven councils in total met in the Roman Empire, assembling as many bishops as possible to deal with important doctrinal and disciplinary matters. These seven “ecumenical” councils dealt major questions surrounding the Trinity, Christology, and the right worship of Christ. But what are we to make of them today? What decisions were made, and why, and by whom? What bearing should they have on our theology? And how “ecumenical” can they be when different churches only accept some of them?

This course deals with the historical context of the councils, as well as their theology and canon law, and their ongoing relevance today.

Dr. Matthew Hoskin received his Ph.D. in the History of Christianity from the University of Edinburgh in 2015. His expertise is in the field of ancient Christianity (Patristics) with a focus on Leo the Great, Christology, and canon law in the fifth century, and he has a background in Classics and research that extends across the Middle Ages. He lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario, with his wife and children where he is Coordinator of Liturgy and Education at The Urban Abbey ( and blogs semi-regularly at

Online only, runs 10 weeks, meeting 2 hr./wk. via Zoom. Students will also have the option to participate in class discussion in 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.