2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
    May 28, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

RS 280 - Actors, Mystics, Heretics, Pilgrims

ENG 280  

This course examines exciting intersections of religion with political, social, economic, and artistic developments in late medieval English culture. Persecution, corruption, repression: these negative forces overwhelmingly color popular impressions of medieval religion. They also represent extreme oversimplifications and a partial view of the history. This course offers a fuller picture of medieval English religion and culture. We will consider a range of experiences wherein the sacred and secular, the spiritual and the historical overlap and inform each other. For example, we will study vibrant lay-led religious theater, daring theological expression put forth by women mystics Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, the development and role of monasticism, and various pilgrimage sites with reasons why pilgrimage has been a longstanding religious practice. Our course will consider practice both distinct from and alongside belief, and it will face the difficult problems of anti-Semitism and anti-feminism to offer a clearer view of religion’s diverse consequences in late medieval England. We will read across disciplines to explore these matters. This course will meet once weekly in the Spring and include an intense period of study and travel around England while we are based in Oxford for two weeks in the summer.

1 semester 3 credits.