Instructor: Jonathan Sheehan

This course fulfills the elective requirement for the DE in REMS.

Wed 3-6, 2303 Dwinelle, 4 units, CCN 39759

Christianity has always oriented itself toward, and put an enormous premium on, an organizing principle of orthodoxy. In the early modern period, however, orthodoxy exploded into competing factions. Multiple orthodoxies emerged, and in their wake, a host of heterodoxies and heresies. These dynamics put enormous pressure on normative Christianity, and were powerfully generative of new forms of religious, political, and cultural life. This course will treat this period of dynamic diversification, roughly spanning 1450-1700, as a laboratory for studying the history and historiography of modern religion.

Problems and topics that we will explore will include: the contested nature of orthodoxy; the problem of religious innovation; the nature of theology as an intellectual and cultural practice; the issues of ritual and ceremony in religious life; idolatry and iconoclasm as problems of religious and social order; new genres of religious writing from martyrology to heresiology; the question of atheism as both historical and historiographical subject; the discourse of toleration; and finally, most generally, the issue of secularism and secularization in the wake of European religious conflict.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes