Elective Unit                                                                (Min. No. 8)

2nd semester Thursday evening



Immense creativity, great energy and remarkable displays of faith marked the church of the Middle Ages, from the revival of the western ‘Roman Empire’ in 800 to the Empire’s demise in the East in 1453.  This era saw matters of religion and faith touch all aspects of life and so this unit looks at the interplay between religion and the rest of medieval society.  Topics to be considered include relations with Islam & Judaism, heresy, superstition & magic, doctrinal reform, women, schools, crusades and popular religion.  A better understanding of the deep roots of modern religion in the Middle Ages enriches our understanding of the contemporary church.






Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. articulate the interaction between mediaeval church history with the wider historical context
  2. analyse critically primary and secondary sources for mediaeval church history
  3. demonstrate understanding of religious experience of groups in both the official and popular church
  4. formulate a sustained argument in mediaeval church history about a nominated issue
  5. engage fruitfully with historiographical issues in mediaeval studies analyse and express the contemporary significance of church history of the Middle Ages.



2000 word document study (40%); 4000 word research essay (60%)



Cook, William and Ronald Herzman. The Medieval World View: An Introduction. New York: OUP, 2004.

Le Goff, Jacques.  Medieval Civilization. London: Blackwell, 1991.

Linehan, Peter.  The Medieval World.  London: Routledge, 2001.

Lynch, Joseph H., and Phillip C. Adamo. The Medieval Church: A Brief History. London: Longman. 2014

Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Spirit of Eastern Christianity 600-1700. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1989.

Riley-Smith, Jonathan.  The Crusades: A Short History.  New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1987.

Rubin, Miri, ed. Medieval Christianity in Practice. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.

Shinner, John, ed. Medieval Popular Religion.  Orchard Park, NY: Broadview Press, 2009.

Vauchez, André.  The Laity in the Middle Ages: Religious Belief and Devotional Practices. Trans. Margery J Schmeider.  Notre Dame, IN: UND Press, 1993.