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Unit 3: The Rise and Fall of the Catholic Church

As the Roman Empire declined, the papacy became the dominant social and political institution in Europe. After analyzing such a rise, the unit concludes with a look at the internal and external challenges that led to the weakening of the Catholic Church.

Art History: Using art for instruction in or challenges against Christian doctrine (St. Foy, Chartres, The Last Supper, Sistine Ceiling, School of Athens, Calling of St. Matthew, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa).

Literature: Everyman, “The Miller’s Tale” from The Canterbury Tales, The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus & Paradise Lost

Philosophy: Christian Doctrine and the Gospels, Christian Philosophy (Augustine, Aquinas), the Islamic Golden Age and the roots of the Renaissance, Early criticisms of the Church (Dante’s Inferno), Radical Renaissance men (Galileo, Bacon)

Social Institutions: The adoption of Christianity by Emperor Constantine; the rise of the papacy during the Middle Ages and its crisis during the Renaissance (Reformation)