- Department: History
- Module co-ordinator: Dr. Lucy Sackville
- Credit value: 20 credits
- Credit level: M
- Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
- See module specification for other years: 2021-22
From the thirteenth century, academic thought drove contemporary debates as never before. On the shoulders of the pioneering scholars of the twelfth century, later medieval thinkers built a system of study in which reason and enquiry, rather than authority, formed the basis of academic research. In its ascendancy, the scholastic project explored the scope, and reach, of human understanding, but inherent in this approach was a capacity for radical and even heterodox thought that generated debates whose implications resonated far beyond the confines of the universities.
This module looks at the impact of this changing attitude to the role of rational intellect and human knowledge. Our focus will be on the Universities of Paris, Bologna, and Oxford, but we will also look at Prague and other northern universities. Through the treatises, polemics, and letters that make up the substance of the intellectual world of the period, we will examine the major debates and controversies that lie at heart of shifts in the cultural and religious climate of the later Middle Ages. We will look at the ways in which discussions about how the world should be understood and ordered led inevitably to discussions about the source of spiritual, and by implication secular, authority. The role of scepticism and heterodoxy in the formation of orthodoxy will be considered, as well as the relationship of universities to dissent, a recurring theme in contemporary discourse as well as in modern historiography
|Autumn Term 2022-23
The module aims to:
After successfully completing this course students should:
Students will attend eight weekly two-hour seminars in weeks 2-9.
The likely seminar programme is as follows:
|% of module mark
4,000 word essay
Students will complete a 2,000-word formative essay, due in week 6 of Autumn term. They will then submit a 4,000-word assessed essay for summative assessment in week 2 of Spring term.
For further details about assessed work, students should refer to the Taught Masters Degrees Statement of Assessment.
|% of module mark
4,000 word essay
Following their formative assessment, students will receive oral feedback at a one-to-one meeting with their tutor and written feedback consisting of comments and a mark within 10 working days of submission. Tutors are also available in their student hours to discuss formative assessment. For more information, see the Statement on Feedback.
For the summative assessment task, students will receive their provisional mark and written feedback within 20 working days of the submission deadline. The tutor will then be available during student hours for follow-up guidance if required. For more information, see the Statement of Assessment.
For term time reading, please refer to the module VLE site. Before the module starts, we encourage you to look at the following items of preliminary reading:
Baldwin, J. W., The Scholastic Culture of the Middle Ages, 1000-1300 (1971)
Grant, E., God and Reason in the Middle Ages (2001)
Fichtenau, Heinrich. Heretics and Scholars in the High Middle Ages, 1100-1200. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998.
Leff, Gordon. Heresy in the Later Middle Ages: the Relation of Heterodoxy to Dissent, c. 1250-c.1450. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1967, repr. 1999.