The Religious Thread In The Medieval And Modern World – Online

The course will explore the literature, art, and material culture of the Ancient World, with reference to six key literary texts: The Quran; Julian of Norwichs Revelations of Divine Love; The Book of Margery Kempe; Thomas à Kempiss The Imitation of Christ; Jacobo de Voragines The Golden Legend; and John Bunyans The Pilgrims Progress. It will focus on the influence that each of these texts had on those that followed; and on the complex and changing inter-relationships between literature, the visual and performing arts, and material culture in European culture and society.

Who is this course for

No prior knowledge is necessary, but a good understanding of English is essential.

What does this course cover

We will begin by looking at the concept of 'religious' literature in global perspective; and at key issues of literary influence, and inter-relationships between different forms of cultural and creative expression. We will then examine each of the key texts on its own terms; in the context of the times and places in which they were produced; and in terms of their broader influence in the definition and transformation of regional and national cultures. We will explore the invention, endurance, appropriation, and modification of tradition in response to changing social, political, and religious ideas; and the way in which such traditions continue to develop and influence the Modern World.

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

' Explain the concept of 'religious' literature, with reference to key texts in the Medieval and Early Modern traditions of the Old World.
' Identify a range of influences of one text on another; and of specific literary works on other forms of cultural expression (painting, sculpture, material culture, music, drama).
' Contribute to a discussion on the philosophical and theological ideas that underpin key literary works.
' Define key ideas in theology, philosophy, literary criticism and art history.
' Use the knowledge gained on the course to identify aspects of Medieval and Early Modern thought that continue to influence the cultural life of the our own times.

What will it be like

Each week there will be an informative talk using PowerPoint; readings from the key texts and related works; and group discussion of issues arising from those texts. You will be encouraged to share your thoughts and ideas in a relaxed and friendly environment. Occasionally homework reading will be provided. Although this is not an accredited course leading to a formal qualification, you will be encouraged to complete a self-assessment form in which you can monitor your progress

What else do you need to buy or do

We will be discussing the following books, which you may wish to buy and read in your own time:

M.A.S. Abdel Haleem (trans) The Qur'an, Oxford World Classics.
A.C. Spearing (ed) & Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, Penguin Classics.
P.A. Windeatt (ed) The Book of Margery Kempe, Penguin Classics.
R. Hamer (ed) & Jacobo de Voragine, The Golden Legend, Penguin Classics.
M.von Habsburg & Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Penguin Classics.
R Pooley (ed) & John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress, Penguin Classics.

The course will be run on Zoom, please make sure you have installed it in advance of your first class on your computer or mobile device. You can sign up for free here:

You will need a microphone (it's fine to use whatever is built into your device) and camera, so we can see you via video. You may also want to use headphones during the session.

You can participate in class sessions through the use of a computer, laptop, tablet or other similar internet enabled device. Please note that if you only have access to a smartphone, you will be able to attend the class sessions and participate in them but you will find it more difficult to benefit from the full range of materials and activities involved in the course if this is your only means of connection.

Make sure you have a small space to work in during the session and that as far as possible that you can keep this space quite and clear of interruption so that you can concentrate on what is happening in the class.

By signing up to the course you are consenting to being on camera. The content of the lesson may occasionally be recorded by the tutor for internal education and training purposes but any such recordings will not be made available to anyone outside of the Mary Ward Centre organisation without us asking you again for further permission to do so.

What this course could lead to

You might consider enrolling on other history/history of art/literature/philosophy courses run by the Centre.

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I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why choose Mary Ward?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’