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You are here: Home Courses Middlebury-CMRS Course List HIST 0130 Heresy and Authority in the Middle Ages

HIST 0130 Heresy and Authority in the Middle Ages

This course explores the twin phenomena of heresy and ecclesiastical authority in medieval western Europe.  This era saw the development of a series of Christian communities which came to reject (or were rejected by) the official church.  These included the Waldensians, the Humiliati and the Cathars, as well as more transient groups around specific individuals such as Henry of Lausanne.  Some intellectual figures were also caught up in accusations of heresy, for instance Peter Abelard.  At the same time, the official church became more anxious about identifying and correcting deviant Christian beliefs and practices.  This led to the development of pastoral care, and also the Inquisition and the Albigensian Crusade. The course concentrates on the period from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries, but this is prefaced by examining the definitions of orthodoxy and heresy in Late Antiquity and the early middle ages, which continued to shape attitudes for centuries to come.

Thankful for every moment
I devoured the integral lectures, the seminars, the tea and biscuits, and the charming streets of Oxford. Aided by my tutors, my passion for the human...
Mike Rectenwald, Summer 2000, Geneva College