History | Christians and Pagans Renaissance
E104 | 0158 | Field


TR 3:35P-4:25P EP220

Students must enroll in a discussion section.

This lecture course, which includes discussion sections, will explore the
often uneasy relationship between pagan or classical culture and
Christianity in the Renaissance.  While focusing on the Renaissance, we
will begin with early Christian society and the Middle Ages.  From the few
explicit references of Paul of Tarsus to pagan philosophy in his own day,
we will move to the early Christian theologians or Church Fathers, who
very often pointed to the dangers of classical learning.  After a survey
of Medieval teachings, we will explore in depth Francis Petrarch's
efforts, in the fourteenth century, to balance classical and Christian
ideals.  Humanist thinking of the fifteenth century will be examined
around several themes: (1) the critique of monastic culture, (2) attitudes
toward papal and sacramental claims of the Catholic Church, (3) Biblical
scholarship, and (4) theories of education.  Sources will range from
rather serious treatises to Renaissance joke books.  Finally we will turn
to the so-called Paganism of the Neoplatonic culture, the "Christian
humanism" of Erasmus and Thomas More, and the implications of the work of
Machiavelli for traditional Christian morality.  Finally we will examine
the Protestant Reformers and their attitudes toward classical antiquity.
The course will require weekly readings in primary sources, a few quizzes,
a midterm and final, and a research paper exploring in depth a subject of
the student's choosing.