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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Byzantine Church and Society 451-1672 (DIVI10023)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity 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
SummaryAn examination of the major historical events and theological movements affecting the world of Byzantine Orthodoxy from the Council of Chalcedon to the early Ottoman empire.
Course description Academic Description:
This course will look at major developments in the Byzantine world from the Council of Chalcedon to the aftermath of the Fall of Constantinople. The course will focus on a representative series of major texts, including conciliar documents, saints' lives, and writings of major theologians such as Maximus the Confessor and Gregory Palamas. Consideration will be given to the reciprocal influence between social and political questions on the one hand, and theological articulations on the other.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
Among the topics covered in the course are: the Byzantine World; the Aftermath of Chalcedon- fragmentation and consolidation; the Age of Justinian- the theology and politics of the Fifth Council; the Collapse of Compromise- Heraclius and Monotheletism; Byzantine Monasticism from Gaza to Athos; the Phenomenon of Iconoclasm; the Theology of the Liturgy and the Liturgy of Theology; Schism and the Quest for Union- the Encounter with the West; Palamas and Hesychasm- the politics of prayer; a Brief Affair- Lucaris, Calvinism, and the Synod of Jerusalem.

Student Learning Experience Information:
This course offers students with a background or an interest in Classics, Church history, philosophy or theology the opportunity to engage closely with the history and culture of Eastern Christianity in its central period. Students will meet with the lecturer weekly for a two-hour seminar, which will focus on discussion of the text or texts for the week, together with the indicated background reading. All students, besides sitting a two-hour exam, will be required to post one commentary online, and will have a choice between posting two more commentaries or writing an essay. Students will also be required to make one presentation.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Byzantine Church and Society 451-1672 3/4 (ECHS10015)
Other requirements Students who have previously taken the following course MUST NOT enroll: Byzantine Church and Society 451-1672 3/4 (ECHS10015)
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Divinity/Religious Studies courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). 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. Demonstrate a knowledge in some depth of aspects of the geography, literature, theology, culture and politics of Byzantine Christianity in the period 451-1672.
  2. Analyse and refer in argument to selected texts in English by and about Byzantine Christianity as evidence for its culture, beliefs and politics in the period.
  3. Contribute to group discussion about these texts.
  4. Address at least two disputed scholarly questions regarding a particular aspect of Byzantine Christian history in this period, showing knowledge in some depth of several scholarly readings of the relevant evidence.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Independence of mind and initiative
- Ability to gather, evaluate and synthesise different types of information
- Analytical ability and the capacity to formulate questions and solve problems
- Writing skills, including clear expression and citing relevant evidence
KeywordsByzantine,Classics,Church history,Christianity
Course organiserMiss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
Course secretary
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