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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: The Nine Lives of the Medieval Church (PGHC11560)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe tenth to fourteenth centuries in Europe witnessed the emergence of a distinctive Latin Church. The product of an intense process of reform which inspired new and vibrant cultures of belief, the architects of this Church also built inequality into its very structure and oversaw the violent persecution of the 'unorthodox'. This course traces this turbulent shift by reading the lives of nine infamous ecclesiastical figures from the margins of medieval society.
Course description In this course, we will examine the emergence of the Latin Church in the central-late Middle Ages through the lives of nine figures. Reading the wide variety of sources for these lives from the perspectives of the less powerful groups with which these people collaborated, slandered, praised, and persecuted, we consider how inequality was woven into the fabric of the nascent Latin Church as it carved out a distinct identity. From Peter Damian's misogynistic invective against priests' wives, to Elizabeth of Hungary and Francis of Assisi's injunction to identify with the poor and sick, to Stephen of Bourbon's exhumation and burning of the bones of a sacred dog, we explore the roles played, consciously and unconsciously, by the marginalised in the formation of the Church. In so doing, students will gain confidence in tracing longue durée histories of inequality, and in thinking against and beyond standard archives, as well as gaining or enhancing their knowledge of the medieval Church.

Content note: owing to the nature of the material for the topics discussed on this course, some classes may include discussion of emotionally difficult topics such as child sexual abuse and the aggressive persecution of minority religious, ethnic, and racial groups within Europe. Students will be forewarned if these issues are likely to come up in class discussion.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking The Nine Lives of the Medieval Church (Online) (PGHC11562)
Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Situate the formation of the medieval Latin Church within its social context
  2. Consider critically how to approach and narrate histories of inequality and marginality
  3. Critically analyse primary source material at an advanced level by reading it both with and against the grain
  4. Discuss and evaluate the scholarship examined on this course
  5. Write a research essay on a topic pertaining to the themes of this course
Reading List
Ames, Christine Caldwell, Righteous Persecution: Inquisition, Dominicans, and Christianity in the Middle Ages (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009)

Arnold, John, Inquisition and Power: Catharism and the Confessing Subject in Medieval Languedoc (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001)

Brenner, Elma, and François-Olivier Touati, Leprosy and Identity in the Middle Ages: From England to the Mediterranean (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2021)

De Jong, Mayke, In Samuel's Image: Child Oblation in the Early Medieval West (Leiden: Brill, 1995)

Forrest, Ian, Trustworthy Men: How Inequality and Faith Made the Medieval Church (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018)

Elliott, Dyan, Fallen Bodies: Pollution, Sexuality, and Demonology in the Middle Ages (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999)

Jordan, William Chester, The Apple of His Eye: Converts from Islam in the Reign of Louis IX (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019)

Griffiths, Fiona, Nuns' Priests' Tales: Men and Salvation in Medieval Women's Monastic Life (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018)

Wolf, Kenneth Baxter, The Poverty of Riches: St. Francis of Assisi Reconsidered (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills On completion of the course, the students will be able to demonstrate the following attributes:

- the ability to approach primary material and scholarly literature with a critical eye;
- the ability to digest and synthesise a large amount of new literature;
- the ability to research and write an independent essay, and the ability to time- and project-manage this undertaking;
- and the ability to communicate well verbally and in writing.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Kirsty Day
Course secretaryMr George Bottrell-Campbell
Tel: (0131 6)50 8349
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