Late medieval Europe has been described as 'a persecuting society' in which the enforcement of orthodox of belief and behaviour resulted in the exclusion and persecution of individuals and groups as diverse as Christian heretics, Jews, women, mystics, and witches. This Topic will examine the rise and spread of 'deviance' in western Europe, and the strong reactions aroused by crimes as diverse as blasphemy, witchcraft, and infanticide. It will consider the factors that underpinned the determination of the authorities to define and enforce orthodoxies, and the methods employed to bring about conversion and integration, from preaching missions to segregation to persecution. Seminars will explore the treatment of various groups at the hands of church and state, including witches, heretics (Cathars, Hussites and Anabaptists), lepers, and Jews. Consideration will be given to the efforts made to stamp out doctrinal error, superstition and magic, but also the degree to which toleration was advocated and practiced. Specific case studies will be set within a more general historiographical and theoretical context. Students will also be introduced to a broad range of primary source materials, and encouraged to reflect upon the difficulties posed by the use of such records.

Term(s) offered: Spring term module; 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Credit: 3.0
General Education: III B 2