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   Course Title    History of the Medieval Church
Lecturer    Carmen Florea
Institution    Babes - Bolyai University of Cluj Napoca
Country    Romania

I. Aim of the course


The course aims to provide students with an overview of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. Thus the course will approach church history from a twofold perspective: the institutional development of the Catholic Church and the religious life of the laity. Particular attention will be paid to the evolution of ecclesiastical institution in Western Europe (papacy, bishoprics, parish churches, and religious orders) in order to accommodate students with this topic. A next stage would attempt to compare the Western situation with the Central-European one (e.g. at the same institutional level) in order to define the main features of the Catholic Church in this region. The final goal will necessarily be related to the presentation of the way religious experience of the laity was integrated into the ecclesiastical framework.


II. Role of the course in the overall degree curriculum   


The course is taught in the History Faculty of the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj. Since 1989, various members of this faculty have endeavored to develop an ensemble of courses concerning the church and its development, thus providing students with a knowledge of the church, but also with an appreciation of the complexity of the society in which it is situated.


III. Methods Used


Students will receive a reading package, which contains a bibliography as well as a summary of the main aspects concerning the development of the ecclesiastical institutions. The first four seminars will focus on discussions with students of the information and approaches previously presented in the reading package. The discussion will follow the same structure as the dossier does, namely:

-           the emergence of the Christian religion as a religious system (from a dogmatic and religious beliefs perspective);

-           the development of the papacy; this section will be presented and discussed in three chronological levels: 700-1050; 1050-1300; 1300-1550;

-         the role of the bishops and bishoprics during the early Middle Ages, High Middle Ages and late Middle Ages;

-         the structure of government of the church at the deanery and parish levels;

-         the christianization of Central Europe: specific features and papal policy;

-         the development of the church in Poland and Hungary;

-         from rulers’ baptism to the conversion of the people;

The remaining eight seminars will be discussions based on the bibliography and students’ personal research (see below)




IV. Course Content


Seminar 5

The emergence of catholic dogmas and devotional patterns


For this topic students are required to write an essay reflecting how the Christian religion integrated the barbarian world into its own symbolic system.



Duby, Aričs, Istoria vietii private, (History of private life) Bucuresti, Ed. Meridiane, 1994.

            Paul Veyne, Introducere, pp. 9-14.

            Michel Rouche, Introducere, pp. 119-123.

            Peter Brown, Biserica, pp. 269-286

            Michel Rouche, Viata privata cucereste statul si societatea, pp. 124-159.

Jacques Paul, Biserica si Cultura in Occident, (Church and Culture in Western Europe) Editura Meridiane, Bucuresti, 1996.

            Puterea si biserica. Formarea ideologiilor politoco-religioase ale Occidentului, pp. 70-99.

            R. Chartier, Le monde comme representation, in Annales, ESC, 1989, 6, pp. 1514-1515.

            Carlo Ginzburg, Representation, Le mot, l'idee, le chose, in Annales, 46, 6, 1991, pp.1219-1230.

            Alain Bourreau, Les ceremonies royales francaises entre performance juridique et competence liturgique, in Annales, 46, 6, 1991, p. 1253-

            André Vauchez, Spiritualitatea evului mediu occidental, Bucuresti, Meridiane, 1994.

            Gábor Klaniczay, Rex iustus. Le saint fondateur de la royaute chretienne, in Cahiers d'études hongroises, p. 34-59.

            Georges Duby, Arta si societatea, 980-1420, (Art and Society, 980-1420),Bucuresti, Meridiane, 1987. pp. 34-44,

            Arta imperiala, pp. 45-76


Seminar 6

The development of theology in the Middle Ages

The following issues are to be discussed:          

            - the Purgatory and the way towards salvation;

            - the time in Purgatory;



Alister McGrath, Reformation Thought, Blackwell, 1988.

            Scolasticism and the Reformation, pp. 50-67.

Jacques Le Goff, Intelectualli în evul mediu, Bucuresti, 1994.

Anne Freemantle, The Age of Belief, The Medieval Philosophers,

            St. Augustine, pp. 23-52.

            Boethius, pp. 53-71

            John Scot Origena, pp. 72-87

            Anselm, pp. 88-97

            Abelard, St. Bernard, pp. 98-105

            Thomas Aquinas, pp. 144-179.

            Duns Scotus, pp. 180-197.

            William of Ockam, pp. 198-208.

Colin Morris, The Papal Monarchy...,

            The Message of the Churches, pp. 287-315;

            Christianity and Social Ideas,pp. 316-338;

            The Formulation of the Faith, pp. 358-386;

            Proclaiming the Faith, pp. 458-504;

            Reason and Hope on a Changing World, pp. 505-526; 

Jacques le Goff, Nasterea purgatoriului, (The birth of the Purgatory), Bucuresti, 1995.

            Cel de-al treilea loc, pp. 7-45.

            Secolul al XII-lea:Nasterea purgatoriului, pp. 225-300.

Jacques le Goff, Imaginarul medieval, Bucuresti, 1991.

            Timpul în purgatoriu, sec. III-XIII, pp. 128-146.

Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception, Flamingo, 1994.

            Heaven and Hell, pp. 61-103.

Elaine Pagels, Adam, Eve and the Serpent, First Vintage Books edition, 1989,

            The Politics of Paradise, pp.98-126

            The Nature of Nature, pp. 127-150


Seminar 7

The clergy in medieval Hungary

Students are required to provide an outline on this topic. The outline should refer to the development of the secular and regular clergy, and the level of the intellectual training. At the same time students are strongly encouraged to present this topic by comparing it with the status of the clergy in Western Europe. 



R.W. Southern, Western Society and the Church...,

            The Religious Orders, pp. 214-300;

            Fringe Orders and the Anti Orders, pp. 300-358;

C. H. Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, Forms of Religious Life in Western Europe in the Middle Ages, Longman, London, 1989.

            England and the Continent, pp. 57-69

Colin Morris, The Papal Monarchy...,

            Monastic Growth and Change, pp. 57-78;

            The New Monastic Orders, pp. 237-262;

            Friars, Beguines and the Action against Heresy, pp. 452-477

Roman Michaowski, Les églises royales dans la Capitale. Une étude sur la religiosité politique au Moyen Age,

Tonk Sándor, Erdélyiek egyetemjárása a középkorban, (Transylvanian Students in the Middle Ages), Bucuresti, Kriterion Könyvkiadó, 1979, vol. 1, pp. 121-138

Mályusz Elemér, Egyházi társadalom a középkori Magyarországon, (Ecclesiastical Society in Medievla Hungary), pp.33-171 }i pp. 305-361

C.H Lawrence, Medieval monasticism, Forms of Religious Life in Western Europe in the Middle Ages, Longman, London, 1989

Jacques Le Goff, Apostolat mendiant et fait urbain dans la France medievale: L'implantation des ordres mendiants; Programme-ouestionnaire pour une enquete, în Annales ESC, 1969

Idem, Ordres mendiants et urbanisation dans la France medievale; Etat de l'enquete, în Annales,  no. 4, 1970, pp. 924-947

Erik Fügedi, La formation des villes et les ordres mendiants en Hongrie, în Annales, no. 4, 1970, pp. 966-988

Idem, Kolduló barátok, polgárok, nemesek. Tanulmányok a magyar középkorról, (Mendicant friars, citizens, noblemen. Studies on the Hungaian Middle Ages) Budapest, Magvetö Könyvkiadó, 1981

Tonk Sándor, Erdélyiek egyetemjárása..., pp. 138-144

Mályusz Elemér, Egyházi társadalom..., pp. 209-361

Miri Rubin, Corpus Christi. The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991

András Mező, A templomcím a magyar helységnevekben, (Church names in Hungarian place names), Budapest, Magyar Egyháztörténeti Enciklópedia Munkaközösseg, 1996

Harsányi, András, A Domonkosrend Magyarországon a Reformáció előtt, (The Dominican Order in Hungary before the Reformation), Budapest: 1938;

pp. 7-96;

pp. 113-161;

pp. 234-282;

Boros, Fortunát,  Az Erdélyi ferencrendiek, (The Transylvanian Franciscan Order),Cluj-Kolozsvár, 1927

pp. 230-236;


Seminar 9

1. The sacred space in the Middle Ages from catacombs to basilicas, from basilicas to cathedral, the Romanesque and the gothic art.

Students must write an essay on the above mentioned topics.



Georges Duby, Arta si societatea, 980-1420, Bucuresti, 1987.

            Lumina absoluta, 1130-1190, pp. 175-233

            Epoca ratiunii 1190-1250, pp.233-273

            Calugarii pp. 113-144

            Fericirea, 1250-1280, pp 5-40

Paul Binski, Medieval Death. Ritual and Representation, London, British Museum Press, 1996

Andre Scobeltzine, Arta feudala si rolul ei social, (Feudal art and ist social role), Bucuresti, 1979.

            Sistemul romanic, pp. 175-189

            Sistemul romanic si semnificatia lui sociala, pp. 190-215

            Ordinul gotic si seminificatia lui sociala, pp. 284-305

            Reactia cisterciana pp. 306-311

Lucien Musset, Les Invasions, Les premieres vagues, Paris, P.U.F., 1965

E.H. Gombrich, The Story of Art,Phaidon Press, Oxford, 1950

            A Parting of the Ways: Rome and Byzantium, Fifth to Thirteenth Centuries, pp. 94-101.

            Western Art in the Melting Pot: Europe, Sixth to Eleventh Centuries, pp. 113-124.

            The Church Militant: the Twelfth Century, pp. 125-136

            The Church Triumphant: the Thirteenth century, pp. 137-154.

            Courtiers and Burghers, the Fourteenth Century, pp. 155-166

            The Conquest of Reality, the Early Fifteenth Century, pp. 167-182

            Tradition and Innovation, the Later Fifteenth Century in Italy, pp. 183-201

            Tradition and Innovation, the Fifteenth Century in the North, pp. 202-216.

Hugh Honour and John Fleming, A World History of Art,

            The European Middle Ages,, pp. 271-316

            The Fifteenth Century in Europe, pp. 317-348

Leon Ouspensky, Theology of the Icon, Crestwood, 1992.


Seminar 10

The cult of the saints

For this topic students are required to write an outline on the following topics:

-         patterns of sanctity in early medieval times;

-         Central-European sainthood;

-         local saints-universal saints;

-         late medieval sainthood;



Peter Brown, Cultul sfintilor, (The cult of the saints), CEU Press, 1995.

André Vauchez, Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997

            Towards Papal Reservation of the Right of Canonization (Eleventh to Thirteenth Centuries), pp. 22-32.

            The Process of Canonization from its Origins to its Calssical Form (cc. 1200 to c. 1270), pp. 33-38.

            Sancti et beati, pp. 85-104

            The Role of the Regulars, pp. 113-127.

            The Secular Clergy and the Laity, pp. 128-136.

            The Cult of Saints between Universalisms and the Rise of Partiucularisms, pp. 137-140.

            The Evolution of the Criteria of Sainthood, from the Late Twelfth to the Early Fifteenth Centuries, pp 387-412.

            The Roman Church in the Face of Popular and Local Sainthood: a Silent Rejection, pp. 413-422.

            The Hagiographical mentality and the Popular Mind, pp. 527-539.

Gábor Klaniczay, The Uses of Supernatural Power. The Transformation of Popular Religion in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1990

            "From Sacral Kinship to Self-Representation. Hungarian and European Royal saints in the 11-13th centuries"

            "Legends as Life-Strategies for Aspirant Saints in the later Middle Ages"

Alexander Murray, Reason and Society in the Middle Ages, Oxford, 1985.

            The Saint the Man Without Social Class, pp. 383-404.

For this topic students are required to work on the collections of documents referring to the history of Transylvania such as: Documenta Romaniae Historica, Bucuresti, Editura Academiei, 1965, Urkundenbuch zur Geschichte der Deutschen in Siebenürgen, Hermannstadt-Bukarest, 1890-1991 in order to establish:

-         the most frequent patron saints of churches, chapels, convents, altars which occurred in the documents;

-         the feast days to which the sources refer;

-         the divine services asked to be performed in honor of various saints;


Seminar 11

Models for a Christian life: mirrors and exempla; the rites of passage.



Alexander Murray, Reason and Society...

            Avarice, pp.59-80

            Ambition, pp. 81-109

            Reason and Power, pp. 110-140

            The University Ladder, pp. 213-233

            The intellectual elite, pp. 234-257.

            The Assault on the Citadel, Practice, pp. 282-31

Jacques le Goff, Imaginarul medieval,...

            Timpul în exemplum, sec. XIII, pp. 147-151

            Refuzul placerii, pp. 192-208

            Visul lui Helmbrecht tatal, pp.

Arnold van Gennep, Riturile de trecere, Polirom, Iasi, 1996.

Bob Scribner, Historical Anthroplogy of Early Modern Europe in R. Po-Chia Hsia and R.W. Scribner eds. Problems in the Historical Anthropology of Early Modern Europe

Miri Rubin, Corpus Christi...,


Seminar 12

Lay associations.

This topic will be discussed on three levels:

            Definition and terminological problems;

            The role of the lay associations in the religious life;

            The impact on the late medieval piety;


Goff, Imaginarul Medieval,...

            Timpul purgatoriului

Goff, Nasterea purgatoriului,...

Aričs, Omul în fata mortii,Bucuresti, 1996

            Ad sanctos, apud ecclesiam, pp. 45-129

            Moartea sinelui, pp. 129-274

            Gisanti, oranti si suflete, pp. 275-400

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

John Henderson, Piety and Charity in Late Medieval Florence, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995

Pásztor Lajos, A magyarsság vallásos élete a Jagellók korában,(The religious life of the Hungarians during the Jagello dynasty), Budapest: Magyar Királyi Egyetemi Nyomda, 1940 

Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars. Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580, Yale U. P. , 1992.

            Seasons and Signs: The Liturgical Year, pp. 9-52.

            Priests, People and Catechesis, pp. 53-62.

            The Mass, pp. 91-106

            pp. 109-125

            Corporate Christians, pp. 131-154.

            The Saints, pp. 155-159.

            Pilgrimage, pp. 190-199.

            Devotions to the Pasion, pp. 234-237.

            Devotions to the Virgin, pp. 256-265.

André Vauchez, Les laďcs au Moyen Âge, Paris, 1991,15-295

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