Spring 2010

Inquisition, Heresy, and Popular Culture

Listed in: Religion, as RELI-46


Scott C. Sessions (Section 01)


This seminar explores the history and legacy of institutions and practices developed by the Roman Catholic Church to address heresy from the twelfth to nineteenth century. Using a combination of primary and secondary materials, we will examine the legal and theological foundations of heresy inquisition, the methods and procedures employed, the movements and offenses pursued, and the experiences and testimonies of men and women involved in such proceedings. Focusing on cases from various European polities and colonial dominions, we will address issues such as religious conformity and social control, the changing nature of orthodoxy and heterodoxy, the efficacy of evangelization and the sincerity of conversion, race, gender, class, and cultural dynamics, and the use of inquisition records as a window into popular beliefs and practices. Attention also will be given to pertinent scholarly interpretations and debates, related church pronouncements, and critically examining the image of “The Inquisition” in literature, the arts, and popular discourse.

Spring semester.  Professor Sessions.

RELI 46 - L/D

Section 01
Tu 02:00 PM - 04:30 PM CHAP 210


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010