Medieval Seminar
Spring 2002

Interdisciplinary Studies in the
    Humanities Humanities 312
Philosophy 312

The primary political and intellectual institutions on which Western civilizaton is based were devised in the Middle Ages, with the establishment of representative governments and the birth of the university. The artistic world saw the triumph of perspective in painting. With the advent of scholasticism, the Western scientific tradition was reborn. Persistent efforts to reform the church led to the foundation of two major mendicant orders, Franciscan and Dominican, whose members played a leading role in the political, intellectual, and artistic life of the period. Primary texts by Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham, Dante and Chaucer.

Requirements in the course:
  • several two to five minute class presentations
  • a five page paper
  • a 10 to 15 page term paper
Required book purchases:
  • C. W. Hollister, Medieval Europe: A Short History.
  • Aquinas, On Law, Morality and Politics, tr. R. Regan.
  • Dante, Inferno, tr. A. Mandelbaum.
  • Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, ed. A. and C. Hieatt.
  • Strongly recommended: Chambers-Murray Latin-English Dictionary.

Part 1: Introduction
Hollister: "New Paths to God" N375-7, 188-216, O206-224. Mandelbaum, pp. 319-329.

April 2: Dramatis personae, Conquests, Crusades, Plagues: 1200-1450
Painting: Cimabue (d. 1302), Giotto (d. 1337), Fra Angelico (d. ca 1455)
April 4: Franciscus de Assisi (1182-1226), Dominic de Guzman (c. 1170-1221)
Francis' Testament, Eccleston, "Coming of the Friars"
Part 2: Church and State
Hollister: "Growth of Kingdoms/States in the Making", N268-291, O248-271. Inferno, Cantos 1-8. Tierney, Crisis, 33-44, 85-95.

April 9: Constitutional government in the Middle Ages
Church: Novit beatitudo vestra: 1059, Concordat of Worms: 1122.
April 11: State: Magna Carta: 1215 (Joe), Bracton, De legibus.
Part 3: The Universities of Salerno, Bologna, Paris, Oxford
Hollister: "Conquests and Crusades" N217-241, O189-205. Inferno, Cantos 9-18.

April 16: Universities (Matt), Secular-mendicant controversy
April 18: Short paper due, no class
April 23: Parens scientiarum (Charter of the University of Paris): 1231
Muslim Spain (John)
Part 4: Scholasticism
Hollister: "Literature, Art..." N292-322, O272-314. Inferno, Cantos 19-25.
Thomas Aquinas, On the eternity of the world.

April 25: Aristotle, Averroes, and Natural Philosophy
Cathedral building (Jessica)
April 30: Thomas Aquinas and Richard Rufus on Projectile Motion
Part 5: Natural Law and the Common Good
Hollister: "Worlds in Collision" N24-267, O225-247; Paradiso, Cantos 10-13.

May 2: The Natural Law Tradition
May 7: Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologica (Mark on Dante's politics)
Part 6: Politics and Literature
Hollister: "Diversity and Dynamism/Death, Disorder" N367-384, O352-375.
Inferno, Cantos 26-33.

May 9: Dante on Monarchy (Connie, bk 3)
May 14: Dante, Inferno (Janet); Boniface VIII: Unam Sanctam (1302)
Part 7: Papal Monarchy
Hollister: "Toward the Sovereign State/Christianity and the State"
N346-366, O329-351; Hieatt, Chaucer intro.

May 16: Ockham, politics, physics; Plague (Nicolas)
May 21: Ockham, Opus nonaginta dierum
Part 8: Politics and Pilgrims in the Canturbury Tales

May 23: Chaucer on science and statecraft: Knight (Stephanie) and Yeoman
May 28: Chaucer on marriage and social order: Wife of Bath (Emily) and the Clerk
Part 9: Conciliarism and the Church
Hollister: "Famine, Plague" N326-345.

May 30: Chaucer on the Church: Friar, Summoner, Pardoner, Parson
June 4: The Great Schism: Council of Constance: Haec sancta (1415)
June 10: Term paper due

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Last modified: Sun Mar 31 21:07:40 PST 2002