Mount Holyoke College

     

 THE MEDIEVAL CHURCH

 

History 253

 

 

"Then the preacher asked the shepherd: 'Tell me, good man, do you know who the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are?'  The shepherd replied: 'The father and the son I know, for I tend their sheep.  But I do not know that third fellow.  There is none of that name in our village.'"

 

Quoted by G.G. Coulton, The Medieval Village

(Cambridge, 1925)

 

 

Prof. C. Straw                                                                                      Office:  302 Skinner

Spring 2001                                                                                         Office hours by appointment

Class: M 2 – 5 p.m.                                                                              Home phone: 536-8984

cstraw@mtholyoke.edu                       History Dept. Ext. 2377

 

 

Course Description

             This course examines the western church from late antiquity to the high middle ages.  We will focus both on changing intellectual and spiritual beliefs and on how those beliefs are manifest in institutional organizations, which themselves are subject to secular forces.  We will trace the beliefs of Christians from St. Augustine to St. Francis, and trace the development of an organization that becomes uniquely influential in the high middle ages.  What impact does worldly power have on religious beliefs, and concomitantly, how has the church shaped secular society?  We shall focus especially on changing definitions of the holy and ideal Christian behavior.  As we examine the church's struggle for political recognition and prominence, we will note also its approach to dissent and disorder, and the creation of a total culture shaped by the church in which each member learns his and her place in the cosmic drama of life and death.  See "Questions to Ponder While Reading the Sources" for further information.

 

Books Available for Purchase at the Odyssey Book Store

Donald Logan, A History of the Church in the Middle Ages (Routledge)..

Christianity and Paganism, 350-750, ed. J. N. Hillgarth (University of Pennsylvania Press).

Augustine, Confessions (Image or New City Press).   

Bernard of Clairvaux,  On Grace and Free Choice tr. Bernard McGinn (Cistercian Studies).

Francis of Assisi, The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. Raphael Brown (Image).                                                 

Joinville and Villehardouin, Chronicles of the Crusades (Penguin).

Ledrede, Richard de, The Sorcery Trial of Alice Kyteler : a contemporary account (1324), ed. L.S. Davidson and J.O. Ward (Binghamton, N.Y. : Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies).

 

TOMCAT (=Texts on Medieval Church and Theology) purchased from the History Department

Recommended:

C. Warren Hollister and Judith M. Bennett, Medieval Europe: A Short History, 9th Ed.  ( McGraw-Hill).

Geoffrey Barraclough, The Medieval Papacy (Thames and Hudson).

R.H.C. Davis, A History of Medieval Europe, 2nd ed. (Longman's)

 

Appointments:   Schedule an appointment by talking with me after class, e-mail me, or call me at 536-8984.  I usually also have time after class just to talk.

 

Course Requirements and General Advice

1.      Regular attendance is critical for understanding the course material.  Unexcused absences will result in lower grades.  If you are ill, please send me an e-mail message before class.  ("Half of life is just being there," as Woody Allen noted.)

2.      Class participation is a significant part of your final grade.   To help you prepare for class discussion, we have 

a.       Weekly exercises, to be posted on the web.  These will vary in format, from writing three sentence observations on anything you deem to be significant, to writing a brief answer to a question, to taking notes on a source. 

b.      ESSAY 1: MIDTERM:  A five to seven page essay due Friday, March 14th .

c.       ESSAY 2: ANALYSIS OF A PRIMARY DOCUMENT:  A five to seven page essay analyzing one of the primary documents we have not covered extensively in class, due Thursday, May 12th at 12:00 noon.  The first draft will be due March 28th.   The second draft will be due the week ending April 11th.  Topics will be suggested.  Please clear your topic with me if you do not do one of my recommendations.  Secondary sources need be not consulted, except for pertinent historical background:  this is not a research paper!  This is an exercise designed to demonstrate your ability to interpret a primary document.

d.      ESSAY 3: FINAL:  A seven to ten page essay due Thursday, May 14th at 12:00 high noon.

 

YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO FIND A THEME OR PROBLEM THAT INTERESTS YOU AND FOLLOW IT THROUGH THE COURSE.  YOUR FINAL CAN BE A CONTINUATION OF YOUR MIDTERM; YOUR DOCUMENT ANALYSIS CAN BE ON THE SAME THEME.

 

ALL ASSIGNMENTS SHOULD BE SENT VIA E-MAIL TO cstraw@mtholyoke.edu.  I would also appreciate a hard copy, but this is not necessary.  Please use Word, html or rtf. 

 

TURN IN ALL ASSIGNMENTS ON TIME AND PREPARE CAREFULLY FOR CLASS!  Remember the Rule of π governs most activities in life (i.e., the completion of a task will invariably take you longer than you predict--normally at least 3.14159265 times your most optimistic projection). Or, in the immortal words of Dr. Seuss:     

"How did it get so late so soon?

                                                December is here before it’s June.

                                                It’s night before it’s afternoon.

                                                My goodness, how the time has flewn.”

                                                                                                           

Schedule of Topics  (N.B.  Always bring Hillgarth and TOMCAT to class).

                            

1.  Monday, February 3:  INTRODUCTION:  THE HISTORICITY OF CHRISTIANITY

    

            The Hebraic and pagan background of Christianity; the fluidity of early Christianity and the battle for orthodoxy; some early Christian social and political texts  

                                                                   

2.   Monday, February 10: THE AUGUSTINIAN REVOLUTION

 

            Augustine, Confessions, books 1-10.

                        

             Logan, 3-12.

 

3. Monday, February 17:  GREGORY THE GREAT AND WESTERN CHRISTENDOM

 

            From TOMCAT:    

                        Selection from the Moralia (35.20.49) , pp. 22.

                        Paulus Diaconus, “Pope Gregory the Great and the Lombards,” pp.  23.

                        Gregory I: An Activist Pope, Epistles, pp.  25.

                        Pope Gregory the Great: The Papal Estates, c. 600, pp.  34.

                        Selection from Book IV of The Dialogues, pp.  36.

                        The Second Book of the Life and Miracles of Saint Bennet (= Benedict), , pp   60. 

 

            Logan, 47-51.            

            Recommended:  Hillgarth, pp.  11-44. 

            FYI Background: The Rule of St. Benedict is on our website.  

 

4.  Monday, February 24:   THE MESSAGE FROM ROME  

 

The Continent

            Hillgarth, pp.  53-64:  Martin of Braga

             _______   pp.  72-87:  The Conversion of Clovis

      ­­­      _______, pp. 137-149:  Traveling Bishops

            ­­

The British Isles

            Hillgarth, pp. 150-168.

            Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, selections  in TOMCAT, pp. 88-138.

 

            Logan,  pp. 51-70.                    

 

 

5. Monday, March 3:  EARLY IRISH CHRISTIANITY

 

Hillgarth, pp. 117-137:  Ireland (focus on The Penitential of St. Columbanus)

 

 

 

            From TOMCAT:

 

Definition of Superstition , pp. 138-139.

What Pagans Do,  pp. 140-141.

                        Poems, The Nun of Beare, Colum Cille, pp. 142-145.

            St. Brigid, “I Should Like to Have a Great Pool of Ale,” Vision of the Afterlife,

pp. 146. 

                        Rule of the Céili Dé , pp. 147-152.

                        Document on the Perfect Life from the Céili Dé, pp. 153-159.

 

            Recommended: The Confession of St. Patrick, in TOMCAT, pp. 160-168.

  

       6.  Monday,  March 10: THE FRANKISH CHURCH:  THE SYMBIOSIS OF CHURCH AND STATE

 

            Hillgarth, pp.  85-116:  The Fusion of Church and Monarchy; Legislation

            _______, pp. 168-177:  Boniface and the Conversion of Germany

 

            From  TOMCAT: 

 

The Anglo-Saxon Missionaries in Germany, Correspondence of St. Boniface. pp. 168-177.  

            Feudalism (terminology),  pp. 178-180.

            General Capitulary for the Missi (802), pp. 180-185.

            Letters of Alcuin, selections, pp. 186-188.

            Pierre Riché, Daily Life in the World of Charlemagne (selection), pp. 188-189.

            Selections on Feudalism and Its Practices, pp.200-210.

            Ordeals and Judgments, pp. 211-214.

            The Fourth Protocol of Hincmar for the Coronation of Louis the Stammerer, pp. 214-215.

 

            Logan, pp. 71-104.

 

             ***MIDTERM ESSAY DUE FRIDAY, MARCH 14TH AT 5:00 P.M.***              

 

7. Monday, March 17:       MID-SEMESTER BREAK (Let’s eat cakes and ale!)

 

8. Monday, March 24:  THE INVESTITURE CONTROVERSY:  THE EXAMPLE OF BECKET  

                                          

            From TOMCAT:    

                        The Foundation Charter of Cluny, pp.  216-217.

                        The Investiture Controversy (chronology), pp.  218-220.

                                                                                                       Gregory VII, pp. 220-225.

                        Documents on Thomas Becket, pp.  226-269.

 

            Logan, 162-173:  Portrait of Becket; 

            Movie:  “Becket”

           

 

9. Monday, March 31:  THE BEGINNINGS OF SCHOLASTIC METHODS:  St. Anselm

                         

            From TOMCAT:

                     Selection from the Proslogion, pp. 301-303.

                        Selections from Prayers and Meditations, pp. 304 –323.

                                                                        Meditation on Human Redemption , pp.  324-327.

                        “On Free Choice of the Will,” pp. 328-

           

            Logan,  90-105.

 

                                    

       10. Monday, April 7: THE RENAISSANCE OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY

 

            From TOMCAT:                                      

            Skim:        

                        Jacques de Vitry, “Life of the Students at Paris, ” pp.   343

                        Selections from The Goliard Poets, pp. 344-358.

            Read carefully:

                        Peter Abelard, Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans, selection, pp.  353

                        Peter Abelard, The Ethics, pp. 358

                        Andreas Capellanus, “The Idea of Courtly Love,” selections, pp.  270-291.

                        Romance of the Wings, pp.  292-298.

                        The Order of Knighthood and Saladin, pp. 298-300.

 

            Logan, The Twelfth Century, pp.131-151; Portrait of Peter Abelard, pp. 152-163; also Two Legacies: Universities and cathedrals.

 

 

11.  Monday, April 14:  THE CHIMERA OF HIS AGE:  ST. BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX               

 

                        St. Bernard, On Free Choice of the Will

 

            From TOMCAT:

Bernard of Clairveaux, The Charter of Love, pp. 392-395.

Selections from his Letters, pp.  395-408.

            Skim:

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, “In Praise of the New Knighthood,” pp.  409-416.

Apologia for the Second Crusade,  pp.  417-418.

 

     

12.  Monday, April 21:  THE CRUSADES

         

 

From Joinville and Villehardouin, Chronicles of the Crusades (Penguin)

 Villehardouin, The Conquest of Constantinople [on the Fourth Crusade]             

       

           

            From TOMCAT:

      

Fulcher of Chartres, “Speech of Urban II at the Council of Clermont,” pp.  419-421.

The Truce of God, pp.  422-423.

Privileges of the Crusaders, Account of the Start, pp. 424-429.

Episcopal blessing for a new knight (c. 1295), pp. 430-432.

 

            Logan, 105-130; 184-193..

 

            Timeline film on the Crusades                                

 

 

13.  Monday, April 28: POPULAR PIETY AND WITCHCRAFT   

        

        The Sorcery Trial of Alice Kyteler           

 

From TOMCAT:       

Stabat Mater (late 1200s?), pp. 433-434.

Stories of the Virgin, pp.  435-436.

Tales of the Devil, pp.  437-438.

Tales of Relics, pp.  439-440.

Tales of Confession, pp. 441-444.

Christian Charms, pp.  445-448.

Burchard of Worms’ Corrector (1088-12), pp. 448-456.

Documents on Witchcraft, pp.  457-479.

Caesarius of Heiserbach on Heresies, pp.  480-487.

Heresy and the Inquisition, pp.  488-504.

 

            Logan, 202-213.

 

14.  Monday, May 5:  NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS AND THE PAPACY’S RESPONSE      

 

            From TOMCAT:

                        Fourth Lateran Council, pp. 505-516.

Skim:

Innocent III: Letters, selections, pp. 517-527.

“Saint Francis of Assisi”, pp. 527-528.

St. Francis, Second Rule of Friars Minor, pp. 528-533.

 

            The Little Flowers of St. Francis

      

            Logan, 193-224.

                                   

 

***************FINALS AND PAPER DUE MAY 15TH, 12:00 NOON**************