Honors | Honors Proseminar in Religion
R201 | 3958 | C. Furey


In this course we will ask questions about the relationship between
practice and beliefs by looking at how these questions became crucial
in one specific historical context:  The Protestant and Catholic
Reformations. There are three reasons why this sixteenth-century
context offers a particularly fertile plot for cultivating these
questions: the bitter division between Catholics and Protestants
highlighted ritual differences (Lutherans, for example, removed all
pictures of saints from the walls of their churches, and Anabaptists
stopped baptizing their babies); people at this time explicitly linked
beliefs and practices as they expressed their different theological
ideas by changing their practices; and throughout this era the very
phenomenon of religious rituals was under attack by both Catholic and
Protestant reformers who critiqued rituals as superstitious and
focused instead on ideas about morality and theology. We will analyze
these phenomena through our reading of primary and secondary sources -
including debates and decrees about particular ideas and practices,
and studies which describe how various groups altered and preserved
their rituals throughout this time of religious upheaval.