Christian Spirituality B: Modern Authors

Foundational Unit

Semester 2, 2020
Tuesday 10.00am – 1.00pm
Following on from DS8001C, this unit will acquaint students with some significant examples of Christian literature from the Reformation of the 16th Century to the present. The focus will be on the study of these texts in their theological and cultural settings. The impact and aftermath of Vatican II on the development of Christian Spirituality will be considered. Students will be required to experience some contemporary expressions or aspects of this subject. Examples of texts studied include:
  • Reformation Period: Thomas More, Erasmus, Francis de Sales; 
  • Classical Spanish School: Teresa of Avila of John of the Cross; 
  • Classical French School: J.P. de Caussade
  • Modern English Writers: Selected poetry, John Chapman, John Henry Newman and the modern English writers such as Evelyn Underhill, Dorothy L. Sayers and C.S. Lewis
  • Modern Catholic Writers: Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Teilhard de Chardin, Karl Rahner
  • Modern Protestants: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Aspects of the documents of Vatican II and its impact to the present.

Census Date

Tuesday 18 August




two one hour lectures each week and eight additional seminar sessions


  • one 4,000-word essay 60%
  • one 2,000-word synthesis 40%


  • Downey, Michael. Understanding Christian Spirituality. New York: Paulist, 1997.
  • –––, ed. The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1993.
  • Dreyer, Elisabeth A., and Mark S. Burrows, eds. Minding the Spirit. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.
  • Holder, Arthur, ed. Blackwell Companion to Christian Spirituality. The Blackwell Companions to Religion. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005.
  • ——, ed. Christian Spirituality: The Classics. London: Routledge, 2009.
  • Perrin, David B. Studying Christian Spirituality. New York: Routledge, 2007.
  • Sheldrake, Philip. Explorations in Spirituality: History, Theory and Social Practice. New York: Paulist, 2010.
  • ——. Spirituality: A Brief History. 2nd ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
  • Wakefield, Gordon, ed. A Dictionary of Christian Spirituality. London: SCM, 1983.
  • Woods, Richard O., and Peter Tyler, eds. The Bloomsbury Guide to Christian Spirituality. London: Continuum, 2012.