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You are here: Home Courses Middlebury-CMRS Course List RELI 0070 The Western Church in the Middle Ages

RELI 0070 The Western Church in the Middle Ages

This course explores the history of the church in western Europe from the eleventh to fourteenth centuries.  In some senses the notion of 'the church' as a single entity is misleading: there were a series of different ecclesiastical institutions, often pursuing conflicting interests.  However, there was a strong cultural sense of 'the church', and in practical terms it became more unified under papal leadership in this era.  The period also saw tremendous creativity in pastoral care, monasticism, intellectual life, the crusades, the birth of the friars, and responses to heresy.

Sample Syllabus

  • Papacy and Hierarchy
  • Regnum and Sacerdotium
  • The Saints
  • Popular Religion
  • Heresy and Heterodoxy
  • Building Heaven on Earth
  • Christian Scholars and Scholarship
  • Christendom and the Non-Christian World

Introductory Reading

  • Southern, R.W., Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, new edn, 1990
  • Brooke, R. & C., Popular Religion in the Middle Ages. London: Thames & Hudson, 1984
  • Hamilton, B.  Religion in the Medieval West. London: Arnold, 2nd edn, 2003
  • Tierney, B. (ed.), The Crisis of Church and State, 1050-1300. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1964
  • J. Shinners (ed.), Medieval Popular Religion, 1000-1500: A Reader. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2nd edn, 2009
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CMRS was one of the most challenging options I could have chosen for my study abroad experience, but was also without a doubt the most rewarding. It c...
Ross McIntire, Autumn Semester 2009, Carleton College