This course aims to introduce students to the major developments and traditions of the early medieval church. Building on the material introduced in the lectures on the first five centuries of the church, this course explores the social, political and doctrinal dimensions of life in the church between the sixth and tenth centuries. Most of the lectures focus on the West, but consideration is also given to influential developments in the Greek-speaking East and beyond.
Unit 1: The 6th Century
- The 6th century: an era of fragmentation and dissolution
- Christians and pagans in the new Europe: the baptism of Clovis
- Gregory the Great and his world
Unit 2: The 7th Century
- Pope Gregory the Great and the Christian mission: the conversion of England
- The doctrinal controversies of the eastern Roman Empire
- Christianity and Islam
Unit 3: The 8th Century
- The rise of western monasticism
- Medieval saints and saints’ lives in Ireland and on the continent
- The iconoclast controversy of the 8th century
Unit 4: The 9th Century
- The rise of the Papacy and the conversion of pagans
- Religious life: Charlemagne’s reforms, pagan survivals, and Christian morality
- Islam in western Europe and the martyrs of Cordoba
Unit 5: The 10th Century
- The western Church
- The Eastern Orthodox Church and the breaking of unity
- Six weeks in duration, with one week for orientation.
- Typically 15-20 students in each course.
- All readings available online in course.
- Supplemental readings are provided to encourage further exploration of topic, internet links provided for all readings.
- Written assignments (150-200 words) required.
- Facilitator moderated chat sessions with students in course.
- All course materials are available online in the course.
- Read assigned lecture text and primary sources; keep notes, questions, and comments for class discussion.
- Participate in the class discussion using the Forums area: post at least 2 comments, questions, or responses per unit.
- Write 150-200 words in response to the assignment in each unit.
- Participate in at least 3 scheduled chat sessions throughout the course.
- Complete the course evaluation.
4 to 6 hours per week, depending on your learning style and schedule.
A certificate of completion awarding 30 contact hours will be sent upon completion of all course requirements.