Heretics and Inquisitors in Europe,800-1600 HIST5134

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will explore to what extent religious dissent was possible in the long middle ages and to what extent its internal enemies were a product of the medieval Church's own imagination. The course will cover a selection of heretical movements according to student interests, but may include Bogomils, Cathars, Waldensians, Amalricians Wyclifites, Lollards, Hussites, Lutherans, Anabaptists, Calvinists and Roman Catholics


10 x 2hour sessions throughout semester, one hour of lectures and one hour of seminars.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level.

Excluded Courses





3500 word essay at 70%, a 15 min oral presentation and associated powerpoints 20% and 10% for general oral contribution to seminars.

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Examine the allegations of heresy in Western Europe in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

■ Relate the religious cultures of eastern and western Europe in the Middle Ages by examination of a selection of Bogomils, Saint Sava and Jan Hus.

■ Trace the rise of the machinery for the policing of religious belief through the Inquisition and the intervention of the secular state into religious affairs.

■ Account for the waves of religious enthusiasm in Western Europe by reference to network theory.

■ Examine a range of primary source material from the period concerning heresy and its repression.

■ Consider the academic controversies concerning heresy over the last decade by reference to the work of Brunn, Moore, Pegg, Roach and Foucault among others.

■ Consider how the subject might be presented to the wider public and academics from other disciplines.


Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Analyse source material from chronicles, papal decrees and inquisition depositions.

■ Evaluate alternative historical interpretations of the rise, persistence and elimination of religious dissent from medieval Europe.

■ Conduct further research at an advanced level.

■ Discuss the nature of religious dissent and its repression in the Middle Ages and form an opinion as to its nature and effectiveness.

■ Identify areas for possible research projects related to medieval heresy for Masters Dissertation and doctoral level.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.