Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module THEO44130: England’s Religious Revolution 1640-62

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO44130: England’s Religious Revolution 1640-62

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Not available in 2020/21 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • to provide an advanced introduction to the religious developments and innovations of the period of the English Civil War and Republic
  • to explore the development of sectarian identities and the emergence of novel religious doctrines against the backdrop of social instability
  • to examine the relationship between political and religious radicalism, and the political implications of religious innovations
  • to consider the legacy of this period’s innovations for the development of religious identities in the English-speaking world over subsequent centuries


  • The religious inheritance of the revolutionary period, chiefly establishment Protestantism and radical strands including presbyterianism, separatism, New England Congregationalism and antinomianism
  • Attempts to create a new Presbyterian establishment and their failure; the role of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, and Presbyterian anti-radical texts such as Edwards’ Gangraena
  • Independency, Milton and Cromwell
  • Sectarian movements including the Baptists, the Ranters and the Quakers
  • Politico-religious movements including the Levellers, the Diggers and the Fifth Monarchists
  • The emergence of ‘Anglican’ identity and Anglicanism as sectarianism

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • knowledge and understanding of the origins, spread, nature and variety of the religious movements of the period, and of their social and political context
  • awareness of the links between political and religious radicalisms
  • knowledge of key texts by authors such as Milton, Baxter, Bunyan and Fox
Subject-specific Skills:
  • the ability to analyse and interpret polemical, devotional and confessional texts from this period
  • the ability to place religious materials from this period in a meaningful context
Key Skills:
  • advanced research skills, including the location, identification, evaluation and proper citation of key sources
  • advanced communication skills, including the abilities to construct a sophisticated written argument and to make a clear verbal evaluation of written texts

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching is through seminars in which the leader will introduce the topic but students are expected to participate fully on the basis that they have read and made their own assessments of the relevant texts prior to each seminar.
  • Tutorials (on a one-to-one basis) will offer an opportunity for planning and providing feedback on assigned work.
  • Formative and summative essays require students to investigate particular topics, to present their findings in a clear and concise manner and to cite their sources properly, displaying their subject-specific knowledge, subject-specific skills, and key skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 11 8 in term 1, 3 in term 2 2 hour 22
Tutorials 2 1 in term 1, 1 in term 2 1 hour 2
Preparation and reading 276
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 5000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

One 5000 word essay.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University