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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: The Power of Religion in the Early Middle Ages, 500-900 (HIST10399)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides an introduction to the Early Middle Ages through the lens of religious transformations. The course focusses on a range of Christian societies or 'micro Christendoms' in the Latin West, but also draws comparisons with Islamic societies and the Greek East.

Course description Was the Christianization of medieval societies a revolution or an evolution? And what does Christianization actually mean? This course traces the impact of religion on a range of early medieval societies between the sixth and ninth centuries - and examines how religion was transformed in the process. We will consider different versions of Christianity found across 'micro-Christendoms' in the West, and also make comparisons with different configurations of religion, society and politics in the Greek East and Islamic States. Key themes include: the politics of conversion; heresy; popular religion; the cult of saints; missionary activity; paganism. The course draws on translations of primary source material, including sermons, saints' lives, church law, letters and chronicles, together with some material and visual culture. The course will introduce students to important historiographical and methodological questions surrounding the history of religion and the use of ecclesiastical sources.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements
A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Personal Tutors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Administrator to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503780).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Interrogate, read, analyse and reflect critically and contextually upon contemporary texts and other primary sources
  2. Interrogate, read, analyse and reflect critically and contextually upon secondary evidence, including historical writings and the interpretations of historians;
  3. Appreciate the complexity of reconstructing the past and the problematic and varied nature of historical evidence;
  4. Demonstrate awareness of continuity and change over extended time spans;
  5. Understand varieties of approaches to understanding, constructing, and interpreting the past; and, where relevant, a knowledge of concepts and theories derived from the humanities and social sciences.
Reading List
Airlie, Stuart. 'Private Bodies and the Body Politic in the Divorce Case of Lothar II', Past & Present 161 (1998), 3-38
Bailey, Lisa. '"These are not men": Sex and Drink in the Sermons of Caesarius of Arles', Journal of Early Christian Studies 15.1 (2007), 23-43
Brown, Peter. The Rise of Western Christendom, 2nd ed. (Oxford, 2002)
Castellanos, Santiago. 'Creating New Constantines at the End of the Sixth Century', Historical Research 85 (2012), 556-75
Filotas, Bernadette. Pagan Survivals, Superstitions and Popular Cultures in Early Medieval Pastoral Literature (Toronto, 2005)
Hen, Yitzhak. Culture and Religion in Merovingian Gaul, A.D. 481-751 (Leiden, 1995)
de Jong, Mayke. In Samuel's Image: Child Oblation in the Early Medieval West (Leiden, 1996)
Markus, Robert. The End of Ancient Christianity (Cambridge, 1990)
Meens, Rob. Penance in Medieval Europe, 600-1300 (Cambridge, 2014)
Smith, Julia M.H. Europe after Rome: A New Cultural History (Oxford, 2005)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Zubin Mistry
Course secretary
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