Religious and Political Thought in the Reformation (lecture)

Course Description: 

The temporal focus of the course is on the first half of the 16th century; however, in order to provide the necessary context, earlier reform movements (Hussites, Devotio Moderna, Biblical Humanism) will be taken into consideration. The course will focus on intellectual history and explore the thought of key figures of the reformation, such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, Philipp Melanchthon, Andreas Karlstadt, and Thomas Müntzer. While the reading seminar will discuss essential texts of these authors, the lecture will situate them in the political, social, ecclesiastical, and educational landscapes of Europe at that time.
Some of the overarching themes are:

  • the social and political organization of the Christian community
  • the imagined relation between heavenly and earthly order
  • the relation between spiritual and temporal authority
  • educational policies of the reformers
  • the religious qualification of rulers
  • obedience and resistance
  • radicalism and the legitimacy of violence
Learning Outcomes: 

The objective of the course is to show the intimate and inseparable connection between political questions and theological themes, such as sin, grace, and salvation. 

Assessment: 

Note: This is an MA course, but open to PhD students. PhD students who wish to take this course for grade must complete additional assignments (details to be discussed with the instructor).

The final grade is composed of:

  1. a take-home exam in week 6, covering the first half of the course (45%). Format: Students will have to answer 1 out of 2 general questions about the course content. Total length: about 1000 words (min. 800, max. 1200 words). Date: Sat, Oct 28, 8:00 a.m., to Sun, Oct 29, 8:00 p.m. Exam questions will be sent to your CEU email account. Submission via this e-learning page.
  2. a take-home exam in week 12, covering the second half of the course (45%). Format: Students will have to answer 1 out of 2 general questions about the course content. Total length: about 1000 words (min. 800, max. 1200 words). Date: Sat, Dec 9, 8:00 a.m., to Sun, Dec 10, 8:00 p.m. Exam questions will be sent to your CEU email account. Submission via this e-learning page.
  3. class participation (10%)