History 4413 Fall 2014

Religion and Magic in Europe, 1400-1650

CRN: 13462; Room: 623 Shepler, TTh 2-3:15P

Instructor: Doug Catterall

Office: 634 South Shepler Tower
Office Hours:
TTh 1-2, 3:15-4:15P; W 10A-12P, 1-4P; F 9:30-10:30A

Blackboard Portal: cameron.blackboard.com

Web Syllabus: http://www.cameron.edu/~dougc/reff14.htm

work telephone: 581-2949
e-mail: dougc@cameron.edu


Course Description:

HIST 4413 – Religion & Magic-Eur, 1400-1650

From the 15th to the mid-17th centuries, religious relationships changed dramatically within European societies. One path of change led to the Reformation, producing Protestant alternatives to what we now know as Catholicism. Another path led to bureaucratized and centralized power that tied community membership to shared religious outlooks. From care for the poor, the sick, and the elderly to marriage and tolerance of diversity, peoples’ lives were transformed, while politics took on a more religious and, often, deadly turn, culminating in the Thirty Years’ War. Perhaps the most dramatic path of all concerned the reform, even repression of popular religion as European societies attempted to root out witchcraft and newly vigilant and pious elites struggled to stamp out what they saw as superstition and worse. In this course, we explore these and other manifestations of the cataclysmic change that characterized this era. Lecture 3 hours. Prerequisites: ENGL 1213, and HIST 1113, or HIST 1123, or HIST 2113, or HIST 2223, or HUM 2713, or ENGL 3063, or ENGL 3073, or ART 2613, or ART 2623. HIST 2133 strongly recommended. 
3.000 Credit hours 
3.000 Lecture hours 

Course Overview:
The purpose of this course is to introduce you to a series of events and changes bearing on the religious, social, and cultural complexion of Europe that unfolded between the 14th and 17th centuries. Collectively historians often refer to these events and the processes that led to them as the Reformation. But because the processes to which this term refers were regionally specific and unique, we will focus our consideration of the period on major social, political, and cultural developments concerning the Church (now commonly known as the Catholic Church) and its relationship to European society; the ways in which everyday people at different levels of society and in different regions of Europe lived out their religious lives; how people of different religious outlooks managed to get along; and the clash between so-called popular religion and mainstream society in the form of witch trials.  Also, rather than look at one place, we will look at these phenomena across several regions of Europe, although the geographic locus of the course is comprised of the German- and Dutch-speaking lands of Europe.

In this course you should strive to develop your own understanding of Europe's religious transformations both as contemporaries saw them and as historians and others know them now. As I place a particular emphasis both on written and oral expression, it is also my hope that you will each improve your abilities in these areas. Finally, it is my hope that each student leaves this class with an understanding of the place of this complex past in contemporary perceptions of European and North American culture.

Discipline-Specific Objectives of this Course:

This course will provide you with opportunities to improve in the following three areas of intellectual endeavor:

Historical Knowledge: Students will recall, appraise, and apply the explanatory value of factual knowledge related to:

1) U.S. History

2) European History
3) World History


Analytical Skills: Students will analyze historical texts for meaning.

Synthetic Writing:
Students will identify, organize, and assess conflicting interpretations and views of past events and issues within the historical profession.

Texts and Other Aids

Secondary Works:
Kenneth G. Appold, The Reformation: A Brief History (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011); ISBN: 9781405117500

Edward Bever, The Realities of Witchcraft and Popular Magic in Early Modern Europe (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); ISBN: 978-1-137-31187-0

Craig Harline and Edy Put, A Bishop's Tale: Mathias Hovius Among His Flock in Seventeenth-Century Flanders (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000): ISBN: 9780300094053

Benjamin Kaplan, Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007); ISBN: 9780674034730

Steven Ozment, Flesh and Spirit: Private Life and Religion in Early Modern Germany (New York: Penguin, 2001); ISBN: 9780140291988

Primary Sources:

Martin Luther, On the Freedom of a Christian with Related Texts, edited and translated by Tryntje Helfferich (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2013); ISBN: 9780872207684

Primary sources provided in class or through the CU Library Reserve as needed.

No editions others than those listed above by ISBN # will allow you to succeed optimally in the course and, needless to say, purchasing none or only some of these books will almost guarantee that you cannot do well.

On-line Reference Aids:

The Catholic Encyclopedia Online: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/

Table for Major Historical Trends in Europe:  Click Here


Course work consists of four elements: attendance and participation in discussion and other classroom activities, papers, essay-based quizzes, and an essay-based, comprehensive final examination.

Participation (120 Points):

1. Attendance and Regular Discussion (120 Points): As this is an upper division course I want to stress that attendance and participation in discussion will count heavily in your grade and that active participation often improves performance in the pressure situations. There are 30 days in the term where you can earn participation points for your in-class contributions and you can earn up to 4.5 points on each of those days for a total of 135 points.

2. Credit for Participation: The maximum allowable participation points that you can earn is 120, so you need at least 108 points for an A in participation, 96 for a B, 84 for a C, and 72 for a D.  Less than 75 participation points will earn you a failing mark in participation.  Note Well: Since you can earn up to 135 points, but the maximum allowable amount of participation points is 120, you have a cushion of 15 points for those days on which you may need to be absent.

Papers (300 Points) :
In keeping with CU History Program's current guidelines for advanced-level coursework, you will have to write 1 primary source-based paper of  6-8 pages worth 125 points (including a mandatory paper topic) focused on theological ideas that drove the Reformation and 1 secondary source-based paper of 8-10 pages worth 175 points (including a mandatory paper topic and rough draft).  Due dates for the papers are listed below and unless otherwise specified all papers are to be typed, double-spaced, and in 12-pt. Times Roman font.  They must also be properly footnoted.  General guidelines are available by clicking on the words in hypertext in this sentence.  Specific guidelines for the papers will be provided in a timely fashion and may be found in the Paper Central folder in the Assignments section of the class Blackboard  module.

Paper 1: Understanding Reformation Theology in Context

Paper 1 Bibliography

Paper 2: Historiographic Essay on a Reformation Topic

Unit Question Papers (100 points): After each of the three pan-European units in the course (units 1, 2, and 4) we will discuss a "big question" that the unit has dealt with in an effort not only to sum up what we have covered but actually give you practical experience in using the ideas of that unit.  You will then write a 45-minute in-class essay answering that question.  Each essay is worth 50 points, for a total of 150 possible points.  I will drop the lowest of your three scores.

Final Examination (180 points): There will also be a final examination worth 180 points.  Format and additional details on this examination will be provided in a timely fashion. 

Grading Breakdown:

Course Component

Component Point Value



Paper 1


Paper 2


Unit Question Papers


Final Examination


Total of All Categories


Calculation of your mark: In this course 700 points is a perfect score.  Thus an A requires a minimum of 630 points, a B at least 560 points, a C at least 490 points, a D at least 420 points.  Anyone earning less than 420 points fails the course and earns a mark of F.

General Policies:

Classroom Environment: Talking to your classmates or others outside the context of classroom activities is rude and will not be tolerated.  Reading outside materials, listening to music, taking telephone calls or engaging with social media on your cell-phone, tablet or computer, and similar non-class related activities are equally unacceptable.  Tablets and computers may, however, be used as an aid to your learning in class, and you may make audio recordings of my lectures so long as these are not for sale to a third party.  NO VIDEO RECORDINGS of classroom activities of any sort are permitted as this is an invasion of privacy and severe consequences will result for those violating this quite reasonable rule up to and possibly including expulsion from the course.  I expect all students to be respectful of one another's right to speak and express opinions.  Disagreements and different viewpoints are welcome, but debates should not involve insults.  Finally, food and drink are permitted in class as long as courtesy is observed; e.g. if you haven't quite finished your cup of coffee, do bring it along to class, but turning the classroom into a cafeteria is not permissible.  

Attendance: As noted above, regular attendance is crucial to your success in this class.  If you miss class regularly, your grade will suffer.  I would also like to note that frequent lateness in coming to class and frequent early departures will also be penalized as these habits are rude to your fellow classmates and to me as the instructor.  I will take attendance daily in this class and an absence is an absence and will be counted as such.  


Preparation: All assignments for a given day, whether reading or writing, are to be completed before the class meets on that day.  I also recommend that you take notes as you read and during lectures and discussions as this will make studying for the quizzes and writing the papers for the class less of a challenge.

I communicate a lot via e-mail, but I use Blackboard to do so.   You will be automatically enrolled in the course Blackboard module, and all e-mail messages from me will then go to your CU e-mail account.

For those not aware of the basics of accessing student e-mail please read the following: "Students may easily access their CU email through AggieAccess by clicking on the email icon in the upper right corner after login. Please refer to http://www.cameron.edu/aitc/user_name.html for information about email addresses, usernames and passwords."

Paper Submission Procedure: All papers receiving academic grades (i.e. the 2 major out-of-class papers) for this course will be submitted as Safe Assignments via the course Blackboard portal.  Instructions for how to do this will be forthcoming in good time for the submission of the first paper.

Missed Participation Opportunities: If you miss class, you miss that day's participation regardless of your reasons for having to do so.  Remember, though, that you have the potential to earn more points than you are responsible for, so you should be fine if you miss only a few classes.  Although I will obviously keep track of what you do by way of participation, I would advise you to remain aware of where you stand for yourself so that you know whether or not you are achieving the necessary minimum level of participation.

Late Papers: The following policy applies to all late papers written for this course outside of class that will receive a letter grade. All such out-of-class papers submitted at any time on the day that the paper is due will be considered on time. Papers submitted after that date, no matter what the reason may be, will automatically be marked down one grade. You will then have seven days from the original due date to turn in the paper. If in that time you are unable to complete the work, the paper will receive a zero.

Missed Unit Question Papers & Examinations: Since I drop the lowest of your three scores for the unit question papers, no make-ups are permitted for these assignments.  A make-up final examination may be granted to the student at the instructor's discretion and only with a legitimate (e.g. a medical emergency) and documented reason.

Extra Credit: No extra credit will be offered in this course.

Administrative Withdrawal: This instructor abides by the Cameron University Administrative Withdrawal Policy, which states that "if, during the course of the semester, a student's class average falls below a passing grade due to inadequate attendance" OR "if a student has not attended class for a sufficient period such that thirty percent of the evaluative material for the course has been missed and the drop/add period has expired," the instructor may request that you be administratively withdrawn from the course.

Academic Dishonesty: The following statement encapsulates university policy on academic misconduct: "Each student is expected to engage in all academic pursuits in a manner that is above reproach.  Students are expected to maintain complete honesty and integrity in the academic experiences both in and out of the classroom. Any student found guilty of academic dishonesty¦ will be subject to disciplinary action."  Additional information is provided in the Cameron University Code of Student Conduct at: http://www.cameron.edu/student_development/student_conduct

Among the most serious offenses a student can commit is plagiarism, which is the representation of the work of another as your own. In all of the writing you do for this course you must make clear to me which ideas in a paper are your own and which come from someone else. This is especially important for any formal essays (i.e. out-of-class papers) you write. In such essays you must cite all primary and secondary sources you use in accordance with the proper conventions.  Instructions on the basics of citation may be found under the general guidelines for papers and can and should be consulted before any formal essays come due.  If for some reason you do not choose to examine this page, know that you will not be exempt from following its guidelines.  In cases of plagiarism, the Department of History and Government at CU follows the policy for academic dishonesty in the CU Code of Student Conduct.  Penalties for plagiarism as defined by the Student Code of Conduct include:

a. The student may be required to perform additional academic work/project not required
of other students in the course;
b. The student may be required to withdraw from the course with a grade of “W” or “F”;
c. The student’s grade in the course or on the examination or other academic work affectedby the dishonesty may be reduced to any extent, including a reduction to failure.

Please heed this warning as I am quite serious about it.

Disability Statement: As per the Office of Student Development, "It is the policy of Cameron University to accommodate students with disabilities, pursuant to federal and state law.  Students with disabilities who need classroom accommodations must make their requests by contacting the Office of Student Development at (580) 581-2209, North Shepler Room 314."

Website for this office:


Schedule of Readings, Topics, Assignments and Activities


List of Topics

Readings, Assignments, and Activities


Introduction & Get Acquainted

Discussion: Does the Reformation Matter Now?


Everyday Folk in Medieval Europe and the Church

Read: The Reformation, 1-28.


Was the Medieval Church a Failed Institution?

Read: The Reformation, 28-42.


Martin Luther and the 95 Theses

Read: The Reformation, 43-57; On the Freedom, vii-xx.


The Reforms and Theology of Martin Luther

Read: The Reformation, 57-80; On the Freedom, 1-16.


 Reform Spreads to Switzerland

Read: The Reformation, 81-103; On the Freedom, 17-42.


The Radical Reformation

Read: The Reformation, 103-134; On the Freedom, 95-115.


Princely and Royal Reformation

Read: The Reformation, 135-162; On the Freedom, 116-122.


Calvin's Geneva and Catholic Reformation

Read: The Reformation, 162-185; On the Freedom, 43-48 and EITHER 49-67 OR 68-94.

Turn In: Paper 1 Proposal


Unit Question 1: Which of the following types of forces chiefly drove the Reformation in your view: politics, theological ideas, the desires of common folk, or the need to change church life?

Read: The Reformation, 186-192.
Write: Unit Question Paper 1


Why did religion become a source of disagreement in 16th-century Europe?

Read: Divided by Faith, 1-47.


How did people define who was in the Christian community?

Read: Divided by Faith, 48-98.
Turn In: Paper 1


Could states impose religious conformity and did it work?

Read: Divided by Faith, 99-143.


Adapting Religious Spaces

Read:  Divided by Faith, 144-197.


Sharing Churches and Sharing Society

Read: Divided by Faith, 198-267.

Turn In: Paper 2 Proposal


Mixed Marriages and Mixed Confessions.

Read: Divided by Faith, 268-330.


"Exceeding Civility"?

Read: Divided by Faith, 333-358.


Unit Question 2: What divided people of different faiths the most: different ideas or the inability to find strategies or tactics of accommodation?

Read: Flesh and Spirit, 3-52.

Write: Unit Question Paper 2





Marriage and Childhood in Early Modern Germany

Read: Flesh and Spirit, 53-106, 114-125. 
Turn In: Rough Draft of Paper 2 (May be Turned in as Late as 10.22.14)


Childhood and Growing Up in Early Modern Germany

Read: Flesh and Spirit, 135-179 and either 179-216 or 217-.259.


Introducing Mathias Hovius and the Spanish Netherlands

Read: A Bishop's Tale, 2-91.


The Personal Politics of the Counter Reformation

Read: A Bishop's Tale, 110-132.

Perform: In-Class Peer Critique of Paper 2

Pick Up: Commented Rough Draft of Paper 2


Popular Piety in the Spanish Netherlands

Read: A Bishop's Tale, 93-108, 134-161, and either 178-194 or 196-212.


Ministering  to the Faithful During the Counter Reformation

Read: A Bishop's Tale, 163-176, either 214-230 or 232-247, 249-281.


The Witch’s Sabbath: Reality or Hoax?

Read: Bever , 93-150.


Wicked Magicians or Spirit Guides?

Read: Bever , 151-213.


Good Magic, Part 1

Read: Bever , 215-270.


Good Magic, Part 2

Read: Bever , 271-335.


The State vs. the Practitioners 1

Read: Bever , 337-385.





The State vs. the Practitioners 2

Unit Question 3: What role did magic play in the everyday lives of Europeans c. 1550-1700?

Read: Bever, 385-440.

Write: Unit Question Paper 3



Turn In: Paper 2


Final Examination (12:30-2:30P)


Note Well: The Web Syllabus is the Syllabus of Record and is Subject to Change if I Deem this Warranted.

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