History 2312: Religious Reformation and Popular Piety, 1450-1650

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History 2312: Religious Reformation and Popular Piety, 1450-1650

University College London

Prof. Benjamin Kaplan


25 Gordon Square, Room 307

Lecture: Thurs 2-3, 25 Gordon Street,

Maths 500

Office Hours: Tues 3-5 and by


Essay Classes: Thurs 4-5, History Dept G.09

Phone: 020 7679 1338

Thurs 5-6, History Dept 102

Email: b.kaplan@ucl.ac.uk

Fri 3-4, Roberts 105b


Moodle materials: http://moodle.ucl.ac.uk//


I. Description

This course examines the sweeping changes in religious life in Europe between the late Middle Ages and the seventeenth century. It concentrates on the upheavals associated with the Protestant and Catholic Reformations (the latter known also as the Counter-Reformation), but places these in a much broader context, examining the role of religion in the social, cultural, and political world of early modern Europe. The course does not treat religious issues solely in theological or ecclesiastic terms, but also in terms of piety – the `varieties of religious experience’ Europeans had, and community – the social and spiritual bonds formed by religion. It pays attention to the `common folk’ as much as to famous leaders, and looks for long-term shifts behind the era’s revolutionary events.

The first half of the course has a largely narratival structure, tracing the events and movements conventionally associated with the Reformations of the 16th century. After setting the context, it begins with reform efforts prior to Luther, and ends with the consolidation of rival `confessional’ churches by around the end of the century. The second half of the course is organized thematically. Each week a phenomenon – i.a. Ritual and Community, Sin and Confession, The Holy Household – is considered over the entire chronological scope, more or less, of the course. In this way we will trace changes in the way religion was experienced and practiced by Europeans of all confessions between 1450 and 1650, comparing the new, early modern forms of Christianity both to one another and to the late medieval religion they supplanted.
II. Format

The course has no formal prerequisites, but students will be assumed to have taken the UCL History Department’s Lecture Core Course (`From the Ancient Near East to the Twenty-First Century’) or to have equivalent background knowledge of early modern Europe. Please consult the instructor if you have questions or concerns on this score.

Each week there will be a one-hour lecture plus a one-hour meeting of each essay class. The lectures provide a guiding thread, as it were, through the field of Reformation history. The classes provide students an opportunity to explore each week’s topic in greater depth and to discuss the reading assignments. Attendance and participation in essay classes are required by the Department, and students who miss a class must inform the instructor promptly of the reason.
Students will be expected to devote an average of eight hours per week to reading and research for the course. The assigned readings fall into two categories, `core’ and `further’ readings. Each week you will be required to read:

  1. all of the core readings: these usually include a pertinent chapter from a textbook or handbook, for orientation. Most core readings, though, are primary source documents. They are of short- to moderate-length but require close analysis. All students will be expected to have read these items in time to discuss them at the appropriate essay class. At the first meeting of the course, the instructor will explain where these core readings can be found.

  1. some of the further readings: for each week there is also a list of further readings, which offers a selection of relevant secondary works, some recent, some classic, to be found in the UCL Library and/or other library collections in Bloomsbury. Which of these works you read each week is your choice, and a matter of library availability. The lists will also be of use to you in writing your coursework essays.

If you find you need more general background than is provided in the assigned readings, or detailed explanations of specifics (e.g. theological concepts, or events in a particular country), see Section IV below for a list of useful textbooks, reference works, and other general works.

III. Assessment

For students who attend for the whole year, the course will be assessed by two essays (25%) and one three-hour written examination paper (75%). You must achieve a pass in both your coursework and your examination in order to pass the course.

For Affiliate students leaving in December only (course code ending in ‘A’), the course will be assessed by two essays, which will be equally weighted.
For Affiliate students who start the course in January (course code ending in ‘B’), the course will be assessed by two essays, a first essay and a second, ‘summative’ essay. Summative essay questions will be available on the first day of the summer term, Monday 22 April 2013.
Coursework Essays

Coursework essays must be c.2,500 words each (including footnotes/endnotes but excluding bibliography). A list of possible topics for each essay will be distributed at least a month in advance of the deadline for submission.

All essays must be well presented and clear. Please use double-spacing, 12-point text, and leave margins of at least 2.5cm. Proof-read your work carefully and do not rely entirely on spell-checkers – they can introduce mistakes, particularly with proper names. Please put your name on your essay. One of the hard copies you submit will be returned to you with corrections and feedback.
Plagiarism: essays, while based upon what you have read, heard and discussed, must be entirely your own work. It is very important that you avoid plagiarism, i.e. the presentation of another person’s thoughts or words as though they were your own. Plagiarism is a form of cheating, and is regarded by the College as a serious offence, which can lead to a student failing a course or courses, or even deregistration. Any quotation from the published or unpublished works of other persons must be clearly identified as such by being placed inside quotation marks and students should identify their sources as accurately and fully as possible. Please see the History Department Study Skills booklet for further guidance on avoiding plagiarism and referencing. (Students not registered in the History Department may obtain a copy from the Departmental Reception or download one from the History Department webpages.) You should note that UCL uses a sophisticated detection system (Turn-It-In) to scan work for evidence of plagiarism, and the Department uses this software to check assessed coursework.

For students who attend the whole year:
The official deadline for your first essay is 12.00 noon on Monday 12 November 2012 (there is no prior, informal deadline). You will be penalised if you fail to meet this deadline unless you have been granted an extension by the Chair of the Board of Examiners.
The official deadline for your second essay is 12.00 noon on Monday 18 February 2013 (again, there is no prior, informal deadline). You will be penalized if you fail to meet this deadline unless you have been granted an extension by the Chair of the Board of Examiners.
For Affiliate students leaving in December only (course codes ending in ‘A’):
The unofficial deadline for the first essay is Monday 12 November 2012. I strongly recommend that you submit your first essay by this date so that I have an opportunity to give you some tutorial feedback before you write your second essay. However, you will not be penalized if you choose not to meet this deadline.
The official deadline for both essays is 12.00 noon on Friday 14 December 2012. You will be penalized if you fail to meet this deadline unless you have been granted an extension by the Chair of the Board of Examiners.
For Affiliate students who start the course in January only (course codes ending in ‘B’):
The official deadline for your first essay is 12.00 noon on Monday, 18 March 2013. You will be penalized if you fail to meet this deadline unless you have been granted an extension by the Chair of the Board of Examiners. Please choose your essay question from the list above.
The official deadline for your second (summative) essay is 12.00 noon on Monday 20 May 2013. You will be penalized if you fail to meet this deadline unless you have been granted an extension by the Chair of the Board of Examiners. This essay may not be submitted earlier than Monday 13 May 2013.
For second-year History students writing the HIST2902 long essay in connection with this course:
You are required to submit in January a proposal for your long essay. The unofficial deadline for submission to the course tutor (hard copy only) is Tuesday 8 January. I strongly advise you to meet this deadline so that we have an opportunity to discuss your proposal before it is finalised. The final version of your proposal must be submitted on Moodle for HIST2902 by 12.00 noon on Friday 18 January 2013. Your final 7,500-word essay must be submitted by 12.00 noon on Monday 22 April 2013.
Submission Procedures

Unless otherwise stated above, your work must be submitted on Moodle/Turn-it-in by 12.00 noon BST on deadline day. Two hard copies with coversheet must also be submitted directly into the course tutor’s pigeonhole within 24 hours of the deadline. Please follow the guidelines on submission procedures on the departmental website at www.ucl.ac.uk/history, under ‘Undergraduates’.

IV. Bibliography of General Works

Carter Lindberg, The European Reformations (Oxford, 1996)

Euan Cameron, The European Reformation (Oxford, 1991)

Steven Ozment, The Age of Reform 1250-1550 (New Haven, 1980)

Diarmaid MacCulloch, Reformation: Europe’s house divided, 1490-1700 (London, 2003)

Ulinka Rublack, Reformation Europe (Cambridge, 2005)

Patrick Collinson, The Reformation (London, 2003)

Reference Works
Hans J. Hillerbrand, ed., The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation (New York, 1996)

Hans J. Hillerbrand, Historical Dictionary of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation (London, 2000)

Hans J. Hillerbrand, ed., The Encyclopedia of Protestantism (London, 2004)

The New Catholic Encyclopedia (2nd ed., Detroit/Washington, 2003)

Peter G. Bietenholz, ed., Contemporaries of Erasmus: a biographical register of the Renaissance and Reformation (Toronto, 1985-87)

Bibliography, Historiography, Research Guides
The Sixteenth Century Journal, special retrospective issue 40/1 (Spring 2009)

David M. Whitford, Reformation and Early Modern Europe: A Guide to Research (Kirksville, Mo., 2008)

Steven Ozment, ed., Reformation Europe: A Guide to Research (St. Louis, 1982)

William Maltby, ed., Reformation Europe: A Guide to Research II (St. Louis, 1992)

John W. O'Malley, ed., Catholicism in Early Modern History: A Guide to Research (St. Louis, 1988)

Anne Jacobson Schutte et al., eds., Reformation Research in Europe and North America: A Historical Assessment (vol. 100 of the Archive of Reformation History) (2009)

Annual Literature Supplement of the Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte/Archive of Reformation History

Philip Benedict. "Between Whig Traditions and New Histories: American Historical Writing about Reformation and Early Modern Europe." In Imagined Histories: American Historians Interpret the Past, ed. Anthony Molho and Gordon S. Wood, 295-323. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998.

A.G. Dickens and John Tonkin, The Reformation in Historical Thought (Cambridge, Mass., 1985)

John O’Malley, Trent and All That: Renaming Catholicism in the Early Modern Era (Cambridge, Mass., 2000)

The Reformation
Robert W. Scribner, The German Reformation (2nd ed. with C. Scott Dixon, Basingstoke, 2003)

Thomas A. Brady Jr., German Histories in the Age of Reformations, 1400-1650 (Cambridge, 2009)

Andrew Pettegree, ed., The Early Reformation in Europe (Cambridge, 1992)

Bob Scribner, Roy Porter, & Mikulas Teich, eds., The Reformation in National Context (Cambridge, 1994)

Andrew Pettegree, ed., The Reformation World (London, 2000)

R. Po-chia Hsia, ed., A Companion to the Reformation World (Oxford, 2004)

The Cambridge History of Christianity, vol. 4: Christianity in Western Europe, c. 1100 – c. 1500, ed. Miri Rubin and Walter Simons; vol. 6: Reform and Expansion 1500-1660, ed. R. Po-chia Hsia

Alec Ryrie, ed., The European Reformations (2006)

Mark Greengrass, The Longman Companion to the European Reformation, c. 1500-1618 (London, 1998)

John Bossy, Christianity in the West, 1400-1700 (Oxford, 1985)

C. Scott Dixon, ed., The German Reformation: The Essential Readings (Oxford, 1999)

Alister McGrath, Reformation Thought: An Introduction (2nd ed. Oxford, 1993)

Bernard Reardon, Religious Thought in the Reformation (2nd ed. London, 1995)

Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, vol. 4: Reformation of church and dogma (1300-1700) (Chicago, 1984-9)

Carter Lindberg, ed., The Reformation Theologians: An Introduction to Theology in the Early Modern Period (Oxford, 2002)

David Bagchi and David C. Steinmetz, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Reformation Theology (Cambridge, 2004)

The Catholic/Counter-Reformation
Mullett, Michael A. The Catholic Reformation (London, 1999)

Hsia, R. Po-Chia. The World of Catholic Renewal, 1540-1770 (2nd ed. Cambridge, 2005)

Bireley, Robert. The refashioning of Catholicism, 1450-1700 (Washington, D.C., 1999)

Dickens, A.G. The Counter Reformation (London, 1968)

Martin Jones, The Counter Reformation: Religion and Society in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 1995)

Jean Delumeau, Catholicism Between Luther and Voltaire (London, 1977)

David Luebke, ed., The Counter-Reformation: The Essential Readings (Oxford, 1999)

Early Modern Europe (for background)
Merry Wiesner-Hanks, Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 2006)

Beat Kümin, ed., The European World 1500-1800: An Introduction to Early Modern History (London, 2009)

Thomas Brady Jr., Heiko Oberman, & James Tracy, eds., Handbook of European History, 1400-1600, 2 vols. (Leiden, 1994-5)

Euan Cameron, ed., Early Modern Europe: An Oxford History (Oxford, 1999)

Eugene F. Rice, Jr. and Anthony Grafton, The Foundations of Early Modern Europe, 1460-1559 (2nd ed. London, 1994)

Richard Dunn, The Age of Religious Wars, 1559-1715 (2nd ed. London, 1979)

George Huppert, After the Black Death: A Social History of Early Modern Europe (2nd ed. Bloomington, 1998)

Specialized Journals
Archive of Reformation History/Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte

The Sixteenth Century Journal

Journal of Ecclesiastical History

Church History

Church History and Religious Culture


Online Resources (to be used with caution!)
Christian Classics Ethereal Library: http://www.ccel.org/

The Latin Library – Christian Latin: http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/christian.html

IntraText: http://www.intratext.com/

Project Wittenberg (Lutheran texts): http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/wittenberg-home.html

Internet Modern History Sourcebook – Reformation Europe: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/modsbook02.html

Le Projet Albion – The English Reformation: http://puritanism.online.fr/engref.html

Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page

Hanover College Internet Archive of Texts and Documents: http://history.hanover.edu/early/prot.html (sections on Protestant and Catholic Reformations)

Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia: http://www.gameo.org/

Catholic Encyclopedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/index.html

Calvin Bibliography 1997: http://www.calvin.edu/meeter/bibliography/1997.htm

V. Schedule of Classes & Readings

The following abbreviations are used:

Handbook Thomas A. Brady Jr., Heiko A. Oberman, and James D. Tracy, eds., Handbook of European History, 1400-1600, 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill 1995)

Reader Denis R. Janz, ed., A Reformation Reader, 2nd ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008)

Companion R. Po-chia Hsia, ed., A Companion to the Reformation World (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004)

World Andrew Pettegree, ed., The Reformation World (London: Routledge, 2000)

EEBO Early English Books Online: available via UCL Metalib at: http://metalib-a.lib.ucl.ac.uk/V/?func=find-db-1-category&mode=category&category=Arts%20and%20Humanities%20%28general%29&sub_cat=E-book%20collections&format=001&restricted=all

ECCO Eighteenth-Century Collections Online: via UCL Metalib at same

Autumn term
Week 1 Introduction
Specimen question: How did the term `Christianity’ change in meaning between 1450 and 1650?

Week 2 Christianity in the West anno 1450
Specimen question: How religiously dependent were lay people on clergy in the fifteenth century?
Core readings:

John van Engen, `The Church in the Fifteenth Century’, in Handbook, vol. 1, pp. 305-330 (ch. 9) [you can start at p. 309]

Reader, items # 1, 9, 11-15 [= #s 1, 6, 8-12 in 1st edition]
Further readings:
John Bossy, Christianity in the West 1400-1700, Part I

Francis Oakley, The Western Church in the Later Middle Ages (Ithaca, 1979)

Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (London, 1971), pp. 25-50

Bernd Moeller, "Piety in Germany Around 1500," in The Reformation in Medieval Perspective, ed. S. Ozment (Chicago: Quadrangle Books: 1971), 50-75.

Duffy, Eamon. The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580 (New Haven, 1992), part I

Rubin, Miri. Corpus Chisti: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture (Cambridge, 1991)

Johan Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages (many editions)

John van Engen, `The Christian Middle Ages as an Historiographical Prodblem’, American Historical Review 91 (1986): 519-52

John van Engen, Sisters and Brothers of the Common Life (Philadelphia, 2008)

Alister McGrath, The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation (2nd ed. Oxford, 2003)

Peter Dykema and Heiko Oberman, eds., Anticlericalism in Late Medieval & Early Modern Europe (Leiden, 1993)

Steven Ozment, The Age of Reform (New Haven, 1980), chs. 1-5

Larissa Taylor, Soldiers of Christ: Preaching in Late Mevieval and Reformation France (Oxford, 1992)

Charles Trinkaus and Heiko Oberman, eds., The Pursuit of Holiness in Late Medieval and Renaissance Religion (Leiden, 1974)

Heiko Oberman, Forerunners of the Reformation: the Shape of Late Medieval Thought (Philadelphia, 1981)

R.N. Swanson, Religion and Devotion in Europe, c. 1215 – c. 1515 (Cambridge, 1995)

Week 3 Calls for Reform
Specimen question: How revolutionary was the Humanist programme for reform of Christianity?
Core readings:

Erika Rummel, `Voices of Reform from Hus to Erasmus’, in Handbook, vol. 2, pp. 61-91

Erasmus, Enchiridion Militis Christiani [The Handbook of the Militant Christian], abridged edition in John P. Dolan, ed., The Essential Erasmus (New York, 1964), pp. 24-93
Further readings:
Gerald Strauss, "Ideas of Reformatio and Renovatio From the Middle Ages to the Reformation," in Handbook, vol 2., pp. 1-30

Jerry Bentley, Humanists and Holy Writ

Lewis Spitz, The Religious Renaissance of the German Humanists

Cornelis Augustijn, Erasmus: His Life, Works, and Influence

Roland H. Bainton, Erasmus of Christendom (New York, 1969)

Lisa Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters (Princeton, 1993)

Marjorie O’Rourke Boyle, Rhetoric and Reform: Erasmus’ Civil Dispute with Luther (Cambridge, Mass., 1983)

Bernd Moeller, "The German Humanists and the Beginnings of the Reformation," in his Imperial Cities and the Reformation.

William Bouwsma, "Renaissance and Reformation: An Essay in their Affinities and Connections," in Heiko Oberman, ed., Luther and the Dawn of the Modern Era.

Charles Nauert, Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe (Cambridge, 1995)

Albert Rabil, Jr. ed., Renaissance Humanism: Foundations, Forms and Legacy, 3 vols. (Philadelphia, 1988)

Paul O. Kristeller, Renaissance Thought, esp. chs. 1 and 4

Gerald Strauss, ed., Manifestations of Discontent in Germany on the Eve of the Reformation

A.G. Dickens, The German Nation and Martin Luther, chs. 1-4

Malcolm Lambert, Medieval Heresy: Popular Movements from the Gregorian Reform to the Reformation

Anne Hudson, Lollards and Their Books (London, 1985)

Howard Kaminsky, A History of the Hussite Revolution (Berkeley, 1967)

Gordon Leff, Heresy in the Later Middle Ages (Manchester, 1999)

Steven Ozment. ed., The Reformation in Medieval Perspective, essay by G. Ritter

Hilmar M. Pabel. Erasmus' vision of the Church. Kirksville, 1995.

Week 4 Martin Luther’s “Theology of the Cross”
Specimen question: What did Martin Luther mean by “Christian freedom”?
Core readings:

Berndt Hamm, `What was the Reformation Doctrine of Justification?’, in C. Scott Dixon, ed., The German Reformation: The Essential Readings, ch. 3

Reader, items #17, 22, 25, 26, 32 [= #s 14, 19, 22, 23, 28 in 1st edit]
Further readings:
Heiko Oberman, Luther: Man Between God and the Devil (New Haven, 1989)

Martin Brecht, Martin Luther, trans. James L. Schaaf, 3 vols. (Philadelphia, 1985-93)

Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand (New York, 1950)

Erik K. Erikson, Young Man Luther (New York, 1958)

Mark U. Edwards, Jr., Luther and the False Brethren (Stanford, 1975)

David Steinmetz, Luther and Staupitz: An Essay in the Intellectual Origins of the Protestant Reformation (Durham, N.C., 1980)

Alastair McGrath, Luther's Theology of the Cross (Oxford, 1985)

Paul Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther (Philadelphia, 1966)

B. Lohse, Martin Luther’s Theology (Minneapolis, 1999)

E.G. Rupp, The Righteousness of God: Luther Studies (London, 1968)

Steven Ozment, "Homo Viator: Luther and Late Medieval Theology," in Ozment, ed., The Reformation in Medieval Perspective (Chicago, 1971)

David Steinmetz, Luther in Context (Grand Rapids, 1995)

Scott H. Hendrix, Luther and the Papacy (Philadelphia, 1981)

Robert Kolb, Martin Luther as Prophet, Teacher, and Hero: Images of the Reformer, 1520-1620 (Grand Rapids, 1999)

Mark U. Edwards, Printing, Propaganda, and Martin Luther (Berkeley, 1994)

Robert Scribner, `The Incombustible Luther’, in his Popular Culture and Popular Movements in Reformation Germany (London, 1987)

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