Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitHistory
OfferedNot offered in 2013
Coordinator(s)Dr Peter Howard


Previously coded HSY4330


This unit examines the religious cultures of Europe from the twelfth to the early sixteenth century, including the recovery of the classical past in the re-envisioning of the Christian life, the boundaries between magic, superstition, and orthodox religion, the cult of the saints, shrines, and pilgrimage, the relationship between institutional religion and popular piety, high culture and popular expressions of devotion, the function of preaching and education by friars in local contexts, and the extent to which public theology shaped the cultural and material milieu.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. Have acquired an understanding of the nature of Christianity as the matrix of experience in the Medieval and Renaissance city.
  2. Have acquired an understanding of the variety within that experience.
  3. Be critically conversant with the conceptual and analytical issues relating to the term 'popular'.
  4. Have worked with the conceptual complexities of 'religious culture'.
  5. Understand the nature of, and the religious and the social function of, devotion and devotional space.
  6. Have examined the Renaissance understanding of the nature of the natural order, sign and symbol, language and power.
  7. Understand the impact of the return 'to sources' which was part of the humanist agenda.
  8. Will have engaged the inter-relationship between the material world (piazza, building; representation) and the aesthetic, spiritual and religious medieval and renaissance Europeans.
  9. Have developed a capacity to analyse the processes which underpinned the construction of devotional and theological texts.
  10. Will have developed the capacity to detect the resonances of language and code embedded in particular texts and their relationship to social context.
  11. Will be able to engage in critical discussion of texts in relation to genre and context.


Essay related work: 60%
Critical journal: 20%
Seminar preparation and presentation: 20%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

2 hours per week


A History or RLT Major