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Level 5

5AAH2020 Religion & society in late antiquity & the early middle ages

Credit value: 30
Module convenor: Dr Conor O'Brien

Teaching pattern: 20 x 2-hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 3 hour examination (60%), 2 x 2,000 word essays (15% each) & 1 x oral presentation (10%)

N.B. This module cannot be taken in conjunction with 5AAH1018 Religion and Society in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages due to possible overlap of content.

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

This module will introduce students to the role of Christianity in European societies from the conversion of Constantine and the end of persecution down to the 12th-century renaissance. The course will consider the uses of religion in a wide social, cultural and political context, and examine its varied impact: whether bolstering authority or subverting it; fostering certainty or doubt, solidarity or exclusion; and constructing a sense of both community and hierarchy. Themes will include holy men and magic; the uses of relics and miracle-working; conversion of kings and the wider population; the importance of religion to the construction of both kingship and law; heresies and persecution of ‘outsider’ groups; lay piety; and the role of Christianity in conquest and colonisation from Eastern Europe to the crusades.

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