History of Christianity: The High and Late Middle Ages

Next Session: Jan 06, 2025

This course surveys the main themes, ideas and values of the Western church in the period between 1000 and 1500 A.D. It is an introduction to the developments in Christian theology, religion and devotion that unfolded in the course of those five centuries, one of the richest and most revolutionary in the history of the church. They saw the creation of Christian university culture, further rise of the papacy, its frequent clashes with the empire, but also the emergence of conciliarism, and a flowering of lay religiosity and mysticism. The goal of this course is to introduce students to the varied, dynamic forces that contributed to the making of medieval church.

Course Content

Unit 1: The 11th Century

  • Gregorian reform and the investiture controversy
  • Western monasticism
  • The Great Schism

Unit 2: The 12th Century

  • The crusades
  • Medieval humanism
  • The Apostolic Life: Peter Valdes and St. Francis

Unit 3: The 13th Century

  • Centralization and consolidation in the Church
  • Scholasticism
  • Dealing with heresy: Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade

Unit 4: The 14th Century

  • Scandal in the Church
  • Mysticism: Henry Suso and Julian of Norwich

Unit 5: The 15th Century

  • Conciliarism
  • Trouble at the University: John Wyclif and John Hus

Course Format

  • Six weeks in duration, with one week for orientation.
  • Typically 15-20 students in each course.
  • All readings available online in course.
  • Supplemental readings are provided to encourage further exploration of topic, internet links provided for all readings.
  • Written assignments (200-250 words) required.
  • Facilitator moderated Zoom sessions with students in course.

Required Texts

  • All course materials are available online in the course.

Participation Requirements

  • Read assigned lecture text and primary sources; keep notes, questions, and comments for class discussion.
  • Participate in the class discussion using the Forums area: post at least 2 comments, questions, or responses per unit.
  • Respond to the assignment in each unit.
  • Participate in at least 3 scheduled Zoom sessions throughout the course.
  • Complete the course evaluation.

Time Expectations

4 to 6 hours per week, depending on your learning style and schedule.

Course Certificate

A certificate of completion awarding 30 contact hours will be sent upon completion of all course requirements.

Marcela K. Perett

Marcela K. Perett

Marcela K. Perett holds a Ph.D. in medieval history from Notre Dame. She is especially interested in the history of the Church, early and medieval; her current research focuses on reformers (and heretics) of the medieval Church. She also holds a master's degree in theology and in medieval studies, both from Notre Dame. Marcela has recently started a new job, teaching at the European College of Liberal Arts in Berlin, Germany.

B.A., Middlebury College, 1999; M.T.S., University of Notre Dame, 2003; M.M.S., University of Notre Dame, 2005; Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2009