Mount Holyoke College
THE MEDIEVAL CHURCH
"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
Prof. C. Straw Office: 302 Skinner
Spring 2001 Office hours by appointment
Class: M 2 – 5 p.m. Home phone: 536-8984
email@example.com History Dept. Ext. 2377
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
3. Monday, February 17: GREGORY THE GREAT AND WESTERN CHRISTENDOM
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.
Recommended: Hillgarth, pp. 11-44.
FYI Background: The Rule of St. Benedict is on our website.
4. Monday, February 24: THE MESSAGE FROM ROME
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)
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,
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
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
The Foundation Charter of Cluny, pp. 216-217.
The Investiture Controversy (chronology), pp. 218-220.
Documents on Thomas Becket, pp. 226-269.
Logan, 162-173: Portrait of Becket;
9. Monday, March 31: THE BEGINNINGS OF SCHOLASTIC METHODS: St. Anselm
Selection from the Proslogion, pp. 301-303.
Selections from Prayers and Meditations, pp. 304 –323.
Jacques de Vitry, “Life of the Students at Paris, ” pp. 343
Selections from The Goliard Poets, pp. 344-358.
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
Bernard of Clairveaux, The Charter of Love, pp. 392-395.
Selections from his Letters, pp. 395-408.
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]
The Truce of God, pp. 422-423.
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
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.
14. Monday, May 5: NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS AND THE PAPACY’S RESPONSE
Fourth Lateran Council, pp. 505-516.
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
***************FINALS AND PAPER DUE MAY 15TH, 12:00 NOON**************