Europe’s Era of Change: Renaissance and Reformation
This course examines one of the most tumultuous periods of European History. It provides an overview of the dramatic religious metamorphoses and political developments of the sixteenth century. The course will look at the origins of these changes, which lie in that period of cultural and intellectual development of the previous century, more generally termed ‘the Renaissance’. The subsequent emergence of differing forms of protestantism and the ultimate renewal within the Catholic Church will be also be considered. An understanding of the variety of factors contributing towards the changes, and their inter-connections, will be reached through the study of the roles of individuals such as Luther and Calvin; radical groups such as the Anabaptists; the work of the Jesuits and the Papacy; and significant events such as the Council of Trent. Issues such as the impact of printing, the political, economic and social developments which influenced the progress and success of the Reformation and the Catholic Reformation will also be considered.
- Introduction: Fifteenth Century Europe and the emergence from the Middle Ages
- Europe in the Sixteenth Century: the development of the Renaissance
- Erasmus and the Humanists: Europe’s intellectual revolution
- The condition of the Roman Catholic Church in the Sixteenth Century – the need for change
- Attempts at reform from within: Paul III and the Consilium, and the emergence of new orders
- Martin Luther, his theses and the early development of Lutheranism
- The impact of Lutheranism in the German States
- The expansion of Lutheranism beyond Germany
- The emergence of Calvin and of “Calvinism”
- Early successes and the conversion of Geneva to the ‘City of God’
- Anabaptists and the failure of a truly radical Reformation
- The nature of the Catholic Reformation
- Institutional Reforms: the Councils at the Lateran Palace and Trent and the Society of Jesus
- Popes, princes and the pious: the role of key individuals in the Catholic Revival
- The impact and extent of Catholic reform
Course Aims & Objectives
The aim of this course is to provide the student with a thorough overall knowledge of the most important features of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, which emerged directly from the dynamic intellectual and cultural influences of the Renaissance.
It is intended that the student should become familiar with the variety of historiographical interpretations available on key topics.
The course also aims to familiarise students with historical methodology and to provide them with the opportunity to study closely topics they find of particular personal interest within the scope of the course.
To demonstrate, orally and in written form, a knowledge of ideological concepts of political history and government and be able to apply these to particular situations.
To demonstrate developed research skills and justify their appropriate application, orally and in written form.
To complete regular class work each week, as set by the tutor, using a range of visual, oral and written material, both individually and as a member of a group.
All students must fulfil formal assessment requirements. These consist of:
Weekly class assignments (60%). These will normally take the form of essays or documentary analysis. The completed work will be examined and discussed with the tutor in weekly individual tutorials.
Class participation (40%). Students are required to attend all group and individual sessions and will be expected to participate fully in all class activities and discussions. Where appropriate this will also involve preparatory reading of recommended texts.
This class is normally delivered over one term, with 90 teaching contact hours or equivalent in the Michaelmas term, and 60 teaching contact hours for Hilary and Trinity terms. For students requesting credit, we recommend the transfer of three college credits for Michaelmas and two college credits for Hilary and Trinity, on successful completion of the class.
|Student understands broad range of ideological concepts, has excellent|
|DISTINCTION||understanding of their impact in relation to given historical situations,|
|Grade A||and shows excellent communication skills in constructing an original and|
|persuasive argument, with reference to a broad range of evidence.|
|Student understands core ideological concepts clearly, has advanced|
|CREDIT||understanding of their impact in relation to given historical situations,|
|Grade B||and can construct a sound argument to reflect that with persuasive use|
|Student understands core ideological concepts, has clear understanding|
|MERIT||of their impact in relation to given historical situations, and can construct|
|Grade C||an argument to reflect that knowledge accurately, with reference to a|
|range of evidence.|
|PASS||Student understands basic ideological concepts, has some|
|understanding of their impact in relation to given historical situations,|
|and some ability to communicate that information both orally and in|
|FAIL||None of the criteria listed above is met.|
Recommended Introductory Reading
The list below is for guidance and to supply some ideas for preliminary reading. We recommend that you do not purchase the books on this list before arrival and certainly not all of them; most should be available from a good library. Your tutor will recommend the most appropriate books for purchase at the first class of term.
Elton, G. R.,
Green, V. H. H.,
Renaissance and Reformation
The Protestant Reformation in Europe
MacCulloch, Diarmaid,Reformation: Europe’s House Divided, 1490-1700
|Marshall, Peter,||The Reformation, a very short introduction|
|Ogg, David,||Europe in the Seventeenth Century|
|Rice, Eugene,||The Foundations of Early Modern Europe|