This Church History course will be taught by Dr. Matthew Hoskin, and will run from April 11th through June 17th 2022. The syllabus is available here.
The centuries between the so-called “Fall of Rome” in 410 and the Reformation in the 1500s are often caricatured as dark and dismal days in every way possible—life was nasty, brutish, and short. For Protestants in particular, the Middle Ages are seen as a time of spiritual decay, abuse, and darkness, associated with the worst excesses combatted by the Reformers—centuries where the Gospel lay hidden and forgotten by an institutionalized church with no true piety.
Yet the English Reformers saw the Reformed, catholic Church of England as the continuing story of the medieval church, and even as reset to its earliest days when Augustine of Canterbury arrived on mission from Rome in 597. The story of this church is the subject of this class, from the arrival of Augustine and Irish missionaries, through to the accession of Henry VII—the good, the bad, the ugly. We will see much light shining in the darkness.
The course will move chronologically, covering the major events and thinkers of the medieval English church such as the so-called “Celtic” and Anglo-Saxon church; its survival through the Viking Age; the transformation of the church under the Normans; the twelfth-century Renaissance and reform movements including Cistercians and universities; calls for reform from Grosseteste to Wycliffe; English devotional poetry such as The Dream of the Rood and Pearl; and late medieval English piety. Throughout, the relationship between court and church will be kept in mind—Anglo-Saxons, early Normans, Plantagenets, Tudors, not to mention the relationship between England and her neighbours and the continent. Finally, notable individuals will not be missed—we will encounter Bede, Cuthbert, King Alfred the Great, Lanfranc, Anselm, Aelred of Rievaulx, Thomas Becket, Robert Grosseteste, Richard Rolle, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, and John Wycliffe, alongside the historians and chroniclers of the mediaeval English world and the rich embroidery that they create when seen together.
Students will gain a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the Middle Ages, enriching their understanding of its relation to both the Reformation and the modern day.
Dr. Matthew Hoskin received his Ph.D. in the History of Christianity from the University of Edinburgh in 2015. His expertise is in the field of ancient Christianity (Patristics) with a focus on Leo the Great, Christology, and canon law in the fifth century, and he has a background in Classics and research that extends across the Middle Ages. He lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario, with his wife and children where he is Coordinator of Liturgy and Education at The Urban Abbey (www.urbanabbey.ca) and blogs semi-regularly at http://thepocketscroll.wordpress.com.
Online only, runs 10 weeks, meeting 2 hr./wk. via Zoom. Students will also have the option to participate in class discussion on the Davenant Common Room Discord server. Register to reserve your spot and schedule will be set after a poll of participating students; if the class time does not fit your schedule, you will be eligible for a full refund.
This is a graduate-level course. Although a BA is not a necessary pre-requisite for this course, students should come prepared to do graduate-level work.