HST2011: The Medieval Inquisition

20 credits (semester 1)

Module Leader: Professor Martial Staub



Pass in at least two of the Level One modules offered by the Department of History.


Module Summary

The Inquisition – an extraordinary court instituted by bishops from the 13th century to judge heretics and encourage their return to the Roman Church – marks an important development in medieval history and has played an essential role in modern perceptions of the Middle Ages. By focusing on some of the best known sources of the Inquisition, which have been important in recent historiography as well as contemporary fiction (The Name of the Rose), this document option will help students reflect on how a better understanding of the Middle Ages and a critical questioning of modern prejudices can benefit from each other.


Module Aims

This module aims to:

  • Provide students with an in-depth understanding of the late medieval Inquisition and its impact on European society in the short and long terms.
  • Introduce students to the critical analysis of Inquisition and, more generally, medieval legal records.
  • Introduce students to a variety of historiographical approaches to the Inquisition and a critical understanding of the relationship between knowledge and power, which includes a reflection on the assumptions of their own discipline.
  • Promote students' ability to write informed and cogent essays in clear, structured and grammatical prose.
  • Encourage students to develop their confidence and competence in presenting their ideas orally.


Teaching and Assessment

The module will be taught through a series of weekly lecture workshops and seminars. The lecture workshops will introduce students to the basic historical and historiographical context and prime students on pertinent issues and sources. They are an efficient way of providing information, encouraging ideas and guiding students´ private study. Seminars will provide opportunities for students to present their ideas and interpretations to the wider group. They will be based on systematic study of primary sources prepared in advance and will involve student-led discussions and presentations in order to enhance team-working, presentational and interpretative skills, while involving students in intensive engagement with practices of source criticism.

Further guidance is provided in the module course booklet, available through MOLE.

Information on assessment can be found at: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/history/current_students/undergraduate/assessment/level2


Selected Reading

To follow.


Intended Learning Outcomes
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