Course syllabus


SEMESTER 1, 2017

Course Information

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Course Coordinators and Lecturers


Lisa Bailey, Room 808, ph. 923-8907


Office Hour: Thursdays 10.30-11.30

Lindsay Diggelmann, Room 733, ph. 923-7099


Office Hours: Tuesdays 3.15-5.00

Kim Phillips, Room 727, ph. 923-7306


Office Hours: Wednesdays 11.00-1.00

You will find our offices in Arts 1 (building 206, 14A Symonds St), on levels 7 and 8.


Course Description        

Courseguide 2017      

‘Body and Blood’ offers an examination of Christianity, Islam and Judaism mainly in the late antique and medieval periods, and considers the conflicts which shaped the three faiths.

We will examine the roots of Christian and Muslim religious thinking, their interaction with Jewish and Pagan traditions, the Crusades, aspects of the Jewish-Christian debate, heresy, schisms within Christianity, and developments within Islam.

The course covers a wide span of history, covering aspects of the late Roman, early medieval, high and late medieval periods, and will finish with the Reformation of the sixteenth century and its immediate aftermath.

The emphasis is on relations between different religious cultures, and the ways in which both conflict and tolerance shaped their identities. Broad themes include the impact of changing economic and social forms, the role of authority and government in regulating religious interaction, and the place of gender and sexuality in both moderating and exacerbating conflict.

Although we focus largely on quite distant pasts, most of the topics we will discuss have strong relevance and resonance in the present day. World politics and both western and middle eastern cultures are still shaped by the religious movements which had their beginnings many centuries ago.

We hope that through taking the course students will come to a better understanding of modern religious cultures and conflicts.


Class Times and Academic Expectations

Lectures are on Tuesdays from 10 am to 12 pm. Lectorials will be held on Tuesday afternoons at 1 pm for stage 2 and 2 pm for stage 3. Students should attend the two-hour lecture session each week and in addition are required to attend a one-hour lectorial each week (except for the first week of semester, when there are lectures but no lectorial). Please call or email your lecturer before the lectorial to give your apologies for any non-attendance due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances. At both stages assessment is closely linked to work done in lectorials, so that students whose attendance is poor are much less likely to pass.

Although stage two and three lectures will be held concurrently, there are significant variations between the two versions of the course. Different forms of assessment are required. Separate lectorial groups will be taught for each stage. History 243 students will be expected to engage with weekly readings and to begin exploring the historiography surrounding course topics. History 356 students will be expected to show a greater level of familiarity with historiographical issues.

The University of Auckland's expectation on 15-point courses is that students spend 10 hours per week on the course, including time in class. Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly.


(Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online)


Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of History 243/356, ‘Body and Blood’, will help students to develop skills that are consistent with the Graduate Profiles of the University of Auckland and the Faculty of Arts. Anticipated benefits include the following specific learning outcomes:

  • Able to analyse and discuss a range of historical primary sources in both oral and written formats
  • Develop capabilities in critical thinking and communication through organizing and writing assignments that include coherent arguments, supporting evidence, and engagement with academic literature
  • Become familiar with a variety of viewpoints on the history of religions and religious conflicts to gain an appreciation of diversity and cultural difference.


Weekly Topics   

Week 1           7 March

Part 1: Introduction to the Course                                                              

Part 2: Jews among Pagans and Christians                                                    




Week 2           14 March

Part 1: Creating Christian Orthodoxy

Part 2: Donatism – The Church of the Martyrs?                                                  




Week 3           21 March

Part 1: The Spread of Islam

Part 2: Jews and Christians under Muslim Rule                                         




Week 4           28 March

Part 1: Making Christendom – The Carolingians

Part 2: Making Christendom – An Eleventh-Century Turning Point  




Week 5           4 April

Part 1:  Islamic Society and Culture

Part 2: Jihad and Conquest in Islam      




Week 6           11 April

Part 1: Crusading

Part 2: Muslim/Christian Clash of Cultures during the Crusades 




 [Mid-Semester Break]

Week 7           2 May

Part 1: Heretics

Part 2: Primary Sources on the Albigensian Crusade   




Week 8           9 May                                    

Part 1: Schisms – Christianity in the East and West    

Part 2: Laetentur caeli! – Let the Heavens Rejoice! 




Week 9           16 May

Part 1: Jewish-Christian Relations in the Later Middle Ages

Part 2: Images of Medieval Anti-Semitism 




Week 10         23 May

Part 1:  Religious Cultures of Medieval Spain

Part 2:  Christian Conquest and the New World




Week 11         30 May

Part 1:  Mongols, Muslims and Mughals – Islam in Asia

Part 2: 1453 and the Ottoman Empire     




Week 12         6 June

Part 1: Reformations and Religious Violence

Part 2: Course Summary   



LB, LD, KP  


Prescribed Texts / Recommended Texts

There is no prescribed textbook for the course. Reading items for the essays can be found under the Canvas 'Reading Lists' heading and on pp.8-19 of the courseguide.


Deadlines and Submission of Coursework

History 356 uses rolling essay deadlines. Essays are generally due on Thursday at 4 pm, two weeks after the topic is discussed in class. For example, an assignment on the topic for week 4 would be due on the Thursday of week 6. To be fair to those working on early topics (weeks 2 and 3) the first due date for any coursework will be Thursday 6 April (week 5). In addition, please note that the first essay must cover one of the topics from weeks 2 to 6 and must therefore be submitted no later than Thursday 27 April (during the mid-semester break).

Submit your essays and weekly exercises before 4 pm on the due date. All submission will be electronic only (no paper version required) via Canvas / Turnitin. You will still need to generate and upload essay cover sheets from Canvas to comply with University requirements. Further details will be provided closer to the essay due dates. Please note the following:

  • Work which is submitted late without a pre-arranged extension will have marks deducted (5 percentage points for the first day; 2 points per day thereafter).
  • Failure to submit all coursework (both essays and an adequate number of weekly exercises) may result in a grade of DNC (‘Did Not Complete’) on your academic record.


Course summary:

Date Details