PG 303 History of Christian Practice: Medieval to Modern (12 hours)

Module Level

9/10 MTh / PhD / STL seminar course

Time Allowance

12 hours. Second semester: Wednesday evenings, 8pm-9pm.


3,500 word assignment (90%) / Bibliographic assignment (10%)

Module Aims

  • This course will introduce students to the way in which theological ideas (set out in the module History of Christian Thought) were interpreted in everyday life in the past and will explore the impact those interpretations had on the experience of belief

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will have familiarised themselves with some key studies of popular belief and will have critically engaged with a number of primary source texts.
  • They will have explored the question of the relationship between theology and popular religious practice and be fluent in their discussion of the complementarity of both.


  • Anderson, Roberta and Dominic Aidan Bellenger, Medieval Religion: a Sourcebook. London: Routledge, 2007.
  • Bartlett, Robert, Why Can the Dead do such Great Things? Saints and Worshippers from the Martyrs to the Reformation. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.
  • Cameron, Euan, Enchanted Europe: Superstition, Reason and Religion, 1250-1750. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Christian, William A., Local Religion in Sixteenth-Century Spain. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981.
  • Cooper, Kate and Jeremy Gregory, Elite and Popular Religion: Studies in Church History, 42. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2006.
  • Duffy, Eamon, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.
  • Hall, David D., Worlds of Wonder: Popular Religious Belief in Early New England. Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1989.
  • Laugerud, Henning and Salvador Ryan (eds), Devotional Cultures of European Christianity, 1790-1960. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012.
  • Llywelyan, Dorian, SJ. “Devotion, theology and the Sensus Fidelium”, New Blackfriars 98:1074 (March, 2017).
  • McDannell, Colleen, Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995.
  • Parish, Helen and William G. Naphy (eds.), Religion and Superstition in Reformation Europe. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2002.
  • Ryan, Salvador, “Some reflections on theology and popular piety: a fruitful or fraught relationship?”, The Heythrop Journal 53 (2012).
  • Shinners, John (ed.), Medieval Popular Religion: a Reader. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997.
  • Stouck, Mary-Ann, Medieval Saints: a Reader. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998.
  • Swanson, R.N., Religion and Devotion in Europe, c.1215-c.1515 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)


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