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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "RL 225"
COURSE NAME: "Mystics, Saints, and Sinners: Studies in Medieval Catholic Culture"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2017
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Erik Walters
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: M 8:30-11:15 AM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES: Partially on-site; activity fee: €10 or $15
OFFICE HOURS:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
Through a close study of both primary and secondary materials in theology, spirituality, aesthetics, and social history, this course will introduce students to the major forms and institutions of religious thought and practice in medieval, Christian Europe (from Saint Augustine to the rise of humanism). The course will begin by studying the theological foundations of self and world in the work of Augustine and Pseudo-Dionysius, before turning to an elucidation of central religious institutions such as the papacy (and its relationship to imperial Rome), the monastery (we will study the rule of Saint Benedict and visit a Benedictine monastery), the cathedral (we will visit San Giovanni in Laterano and Saint Peter’s), and the  university (and the scholastic philosophy to which it gave rise).  We will then turn to alternative expressions of medieval religious faith in the work of several mystics, notably Meister Eckhart and Angela of Foligno.  Finally we will study the reactions of the Church to the rise of science in the fifteenth century (we will look at the trial of Giordano Bruno) and will end with an appraisal of the continuity and renewal of Renaissance Humanism and its influence on the humanities as studied in a Liberal Arts Curriculum today.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:
The course will introduce students to the religious ideas and practices, philosophical and theological developments, and institutional changes and controversies that underlie the evolution and establishment of the Christian culture in Mediaeval Europe. Readings and analyses of both primary sources in translation (selected works of the Christian New Testament, Augustine of Hippo-Regius, Benedict of Nursia, Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas Aquinas) as well as secondary sources (J. Baldwin, N. Christie, E. Duffy, R. Southern, J. Wippel) will serve as a comparative framework for understanding the development of Scholasticism, the highest intellectual expression of Mediaeval economic, legal, philosophical, religious, sociological, and theological thought. The course will lead students through the historical origins of the papal institution (and the political implications of its spiritual and temporal authority), and the rise and establishment of monasticism and universities, where scholastic culture was developed. N.B. - This course includes several site visits that will compliment readings and class discussions, which will delve DEEPLY into philosophical, religious, and theological ideas and debates of the historical period in question.
LEARNING OUTCOMES:
Study of primary texts in translation will make students acquainted with the most significant philosophical questions produced by the Scholastic culture in the writings of prominent early and medieval Christian thinkers. Students will also develop an understanding of the development and establishment of the papacy, the monastic culture and institutional innovations, such as financial, governmental, religious, and university institutions. Writing skills will also be improved by reflection and discussion upon deeply philosophical, religious, and theological questions. Students will learn not only about the historical period in question, but how the period came into and eventually went out of existence as part of human civilization's historical progression.
TEXTBOOK:
NONE
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Research Project OneResearch Project One will test students' research and note-taking skills through an analysis of assigned readings and class lecture notes. The project is divided into two parts: 1) questions to be answered directly from the selected required readings handed out in class (e.g. N. Christie's "The Fall of the Western Roman Empire" Chapter 6; E. Duffy's "Saints and Sinners"; Christian New Testament selected readings; selections from Augustine's "Confessions"; Benedict's "Rule"; the Donation of Constantine"). Students must cite the verse/page number from which they are providing answers; 2) questions to be answered from class lecture notes including on-site visits. This assignment is worth 25% of the final course grade. Projects are to be type-written in Times New Roman 12 point font, single-spaced, and with fully justified margins. Errors in grammar, punctuation, syntax, diction, and composition will be deducted for a total of 11 points out of 100. Student names are to appear nowhere on the written project. Rather, students will submit written projects using their JCU ID number. This process is to ensure transparency and impartiality in evaluating and grading written projects. Projects are due in class by the end of the class lecture period at 11:15am on Monday, 9 October 2017. Late, emailed, and hand-written projects will not be accepted and will result in a failing grade for the assignment. In case of legitimate and documented emergency situations, late submissions will be accepted and will result in one full letter grade deduction beyond the actual grade awarded for the project. NO "EASY A's"!!!25%
Project PresentationEach student will select one topic from a list of topics, which will accompany the "Research Project One" and present a research project in class on Monday, 20 November 2017. Presentations are to be approximately 7 minutes. Presentations will address the following regarding the selected topic in question: 1) Historical and geographical contextualization of the selected topic (When and where?); 2) Biographical overview of the topic (Who?); 3) Three major issues, contributions, and/or controversies surrounding this topic (What?); 4) Reasons this topic is considered to be important during or after his or her lifetime (How?); 5) What, if any, relevance does this figure have today? (Why?) Presentations will be evaluated on the quality of the research itself as communicated in the oral presentation as well as the quality of public speaking and communication skills. Project presentations must use some form of visual/audio media (PowerPoint, etc.). Project presentations MAY NOT BE PRESENTED ON ANY OTHER DAY. If a student is unable to present, then a grade of 59% "F" will be awarded. PERIOD. NO "EASY A's"!!!25%
Research Project TwoResearch Project Two will test students' critical thinking skills through an analysis of selections from assigned readings (Lawrence, Southern, Anselm, and Aquinas), class lecture notes, and on-site visits. The assignment is divided into ten questions, each worth ten points. This project is worth 25% of the course grade. Students must cite the verse/page number from which they are providing answers. Projects are to be type-written in Times New Roman 12 point font, single-spaced, and with fully justified margins. Errors in grammar, punctuation, syntax, diction, and composition will be deducted for a total of 11 points out of 100. Student names are to appear nowhere on the written project. Rather, students will submit written projects using their JCU ID number. This process is to ensure transparency and impartiality in evaluating and grading written projects. Projects are due in the examination room by the end of the exam period on the date assigned to be determined by the registrar's office during the semester in progress. Late, emailed, and hand-written projects will not be accepted and will result in a failing grade for the assignment. In case of legitimate and documented emergency situations, late submissions will be accepted and will result in one full letter grade deduction beyond the actual grade awarded for the project. NO "EASY A's"!!!25%
Class participation and site visitsThis course is "partially" on-site. Half of all 14 course lecture sessions are on-site. Class attendance is mandatory as is active participation in class discussions and on site visits of the following 5 venues: 1) ancient Roman imperial necropolis in Vaticano beneath St. Peter's Basilica ("scavi") and the Basilica of St. Peter itself; 2) 1st century Domus, 2nd-3rd century Mithraeum, and 4th century basilica all beneath the 11th-12th century church of Saint Clement; and the nearby 13th century chapel of Saint Sylvester at Santi Quattro Coronati; the 2nd-3rd cent. Domus of Saints John and Paul "in Coelio"; 3) 2nd-3rd century catacombs, 4th century Constantinian basilica, 4th century mausoleum of Princess Constance, and 7th century church of St. Agnes in Via Nomentana; 4) 12th-13th century church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, the 14th century palace of the Porcari family, the nearby 2nd century Pantheon, and the 4th century Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill; 5) the Vatican Museums including "early entry" into the Sistine Chapel. One absence will result automatically in a grade of 75% "C" for this assessment method/assignment. Two absences (including "emergency situations") will result in a grade of 69% "D" for this assessment method/assignment. Three absences (including "emergency situations") will result in a grade of 59% "F" for this assessment method/assignment. Compliance with these guidelines gets you that "guaranteed C" if not that "EASY A" for this assignment.25%

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course. (95-100% A; 90-94% A-)
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments. (88-89% B+; 83-87% B; 80-82% B-)
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings. (78-79% C+; 73-77% C; 70-72% C-)
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail. (60-69% D)
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant. (59%)

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
This course is "partially" on-site. Half of all 14 course lecture sessions are on-site. Class attendance is mandatory as is active participation in class discussions and on site visits of the following 5 venues: 1) ancient Roman imperial necropolis in Vaticano beneath St. Peter's Basilica ("scavi") and the Basilica of St. Peter itself; 2) 1st century Domus, 2nd-3rd century Mithraeum, and 4th century basilica all beneath the 11th-12th century church of Saint Clement; and the nearby 13th century chapel of Saint Sylvester at Santi Quattro Coronati; the 2nd-3rd cent. Domus of Saints John and Paul "in Coelio"; 3) 2nd-3rd century catacombs, 4th century Constantinian basilica, 4th century mausoleum of Princess Constance, and 7th century church of St. Agnes in Via Nomentana; 4) 12th-13th century church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, the 14th century palace of the Porcari family, the nearby 2nd century Pantheon, and the 4th century Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill; 5) the Vatican Museums including "early entry" into the Sistine Chapel. One absence will result automatically in a grade of 75% "C" for this assessment method/assignment. Two absences (including "emergency situations") will result in a grade of 69% "D" for this assessment method/assignment. Three absences (including "emergency situations") will result in a grade of 59% "F" for this assessment method/assignment. Compliance with these guidelines gets you that "guaranteed C" if not that "EASY A" for this assignment.
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

PART ONE: Ancient Roman Foundations, Falls, and Transformations (Lessons 1-3)

 

Lesson One:  Ancient Roman Foundations

Introduction: course prospectus, syllabus, and expectations

Paradigms and Systematics: how does any human society/community form? 1) needs vs. wants; 2) economy, politics, religion

Hermeneutics and Methodologies: 1) philological; 2) epistemological; 3) metaphysical; 4) historical; 5) cultural

Questions: 1) What is the “medieval period” and why is it important (“Timeline One”)?; 2) What is “Religion” and why is it important?; 3) What is the “Catholic Church” and why is it important?; 4) What is “water” and why is it important?; 5) What is the “sun” and why is it important?; 6) What is “food” and why is it important?; 7) What is “Roman Antiquity” and why is it important?

Roman Antiquity’s 3 great contributions to human civilization (“Timeline Two”): 1) Architecture and Engineering; 2) Justice and Law; 3) Constitutional Republic (S.P.Q.R.)

Key Concepts to understanding Rome’s Fall and Transformation: 1) why Rome is “eternal”: sacra, aeterna, caput mundi; 2) why the republican SPQR was imperfect: ratio vs. religio: fides, unitas, pietas, cultus ; patricians/patrons vs. plebeians/clients; pater familias and dominus; social order and citizenship: origo, civis, libertus, servus; 3) why the republican SPQR fell and the imperial SPQR began: religion-politics-economy dynamic; imperium, dux vs. dictator, imperator.

READINGS: (all readings required through the mid-term) distribution of selected readings: 1) Christian New Testament: 1 Cor 15; Jn 19-21; Mt 16 and 19; 2) Neil Christie Chapter 6; 3) Eamon Duffy Chapters 1,2, and 4; 4) Augustine of Hippo Regius; 6) Benedict of Nursia; 7) Donation of Constantine

 

Lesson Two:  Ancient Roman Falls and Transformations

Pontifex Maximus: how Rome’s most important office was the lynchpin of society and guarantor of the transformation from a republican to an imperial SPQR.

Competing Cults: Bacchus/Dionysos; Christus; Mithras/Sol Invictus

Birth and Rise of the Christian Cult I: Jewish and Roman roots and parallels in the first century CE: Mosaic Law (Sanhedrin, Pharisees, Saducees, Scribes, Essenes); Ius civile romanum (Collegium Pontificium, Rhetor/Orator, Magister, Vicarius)

Review of Reading: 1 Corinthians 15 and Matthew 16: creating a hierarchical ecclesia

Birth and Rise of the Christian Cult II: early non-christian sources: Tacitus, Pliny the Younger; Nero’s “Great Fire” of Rome and the “cult” of Peter and Paul; Vespasian’s and Titus’ destruction of Jerusalem; Domitian and the illegalization of the christian cult, Trajan’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, Simon bar Jonah/Cephas, Petros, Petrus; ecclesia

Review of Reading: John 21: creating the “Christ”: eros, philia, agape

Birth and Rise of the Christian Cult III: Diocletian’s “dioceses” and “if you can’t join ‘em, beat ‘em” policy; Constantine’s religious “toleration” and “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” policy; Constantine’s strategic move that he lived to regret (literally and metaphorically); Nicaea I, Arianism, and a transformative college of pontiffs; domus, basilica, and cathedra

Review of Reading: John 20,31 and 21,25: which “kind” of Christ?

Identification of Church and State: Theodosius and Gratian; Barbarians at the Gates and the “Fall” and “Transformation” of the Western Roman Empire; Leo the Great and a new Pontifex Maximus

Review of Reading: Matthew 27 and John 19-20: preference for Peter and why he “believed”

 

Lesson Three:  – SITE VISIT ONE

Sant’Agnese fuori le mura: second and third century catacombs; fourth century Constantinian basilica; fourth century mausoleum of Princess Constance; seventh century church of Saint Agnes (Rome’s FIRST medieval church)

 

PART TWO: “Late Antiquity” and the “Dark Ages” (Lessons 4-6)

Lesson Four:  – Late Antiquity/Dark Ages I

Competing Philosophies: the jettison of Stoicism and Epicureanism in favor of Platonism

Readings: Augustine’s Confessions

The Missionary Position: the doctrine of “original sin”; purgatory; infant baptism; “confession”; Gregory the Great’s “mission” to the barbarians

What the West and the East Never Saw Coming: the advent of Islam and how it spread

“Christian” Barbarians…Finally!!!: Charles Martel, Pepin the Short, Carloman, and Charlemagne

 

Lesson Five:  Late Antiquity/Dark Ages II

Sinners and Indulgences: hell is a nasty place and purgatory is not much better: sin and purgatory revisited; an economically viable and lucrative solution to temporal and spiritual woes

Saints and their Cults (some things never change): ancient Roman imperial cults and their patrons; the early christian cult of martyrs; “sexual” healing: “little green men” or “devils” are in them fields (medieval extra-terrestrials or Satan?); medieval crop circles?!?

Reason vs. Rules: final blow to reason and the rise of a new “order”, i.e. monasticism

READINGS: Benedict’s Rule

 

Lesson Six:  SITE VISIT TWO

San Clemente: first century domus; second-third century mithraeum; fourth century Constantinian basilica; eleventh-twelfth century church of Saint Clement; ninth century church and monastery of Santi Quattro Coronati: Chapel of Saint Sylvester; Domus Romanae in Coelio and the eleventh-twelfth century church of Saints John and Paul.

 

Lesson Seven:  MID-TERM EXAM

 

PART THREE: Early Medieval (Lessons 8-10)

 

Lesson Eight:  SITE VISIT THREE

"Scavi" and Basilica of Saint Peter in Vaticano



Lesson Nine: 
Low Middle Ages I

Papal Pornocracy: How low can you go?

Rebooting Civilization and Restricting Reason: Monasteries, Cathedral Schools, and the Universitas; trivium and quadrivium; faculties, magister, doctor; from the Codex iuris civilis to the Codex iuris canonicis; the Holy Office of the Inquisition.

Crusades and the Shroud of Turin: how and why they were called and what was gained/lost

Paradigms in medieval practice: De iure pontificio vs. De iure divino; lay investiture; the buying and selling of indulgentiae

READINGS: (all readings required through the final) distribution of selected readings: 1) Anselm of Canterbury; 2) Thomas Aquinas; 3) Southern; 4) Lawrence.

 

Lesson Ten:  Low Middle Ages II

Medieval music, meditation, and mind manipulation: selected recordings from Gregorian Chant and Hildegard von Bingen

Faith vs. Reason: from the ancient cosmological argument to the medieval ontological argument to Aquinas' "Quinquae Viae"

Review of Reading: "Gaunilo: In Behalf of the Fool, and Anselm's Reply"


Lesson Eleven:  High Middle Ages I: SITE VISIT FOUR

Santa Sabina, Santa Maria sopra Minerva, and Palazzo Porcari

 

PART FOUR: Late Medieval and Proto-Rinascimento (Lessons 11-14)

 

Lesson Twelve:  High Middle Ages II

The Birth of the “modern” nation-state: the 2nd Council of Lyons and the 4th Lateran Council

No New Orders!: Cistercians, Franciscans, Dominicans, and Albigensians

Review of Reading: Aquinas’ via negativa and the Five “Proofs” for God’s existence

 

 Lesson Thirteen:  PROJECT PRESENTATIONS

 

Lesson Fourteen:  High Middle Ages III/Proto-Rinasciemnto: SITE VISIT FIVE

Vatican Museums