Rachel Fulton

Department of History

The University of Chicago


Autumn 2006






What does theology have to do with religion?  What shape should it take?  Where should it lead?  What is the practical (liturgical, spiritual, contemplative) purpose of thinking about God?  These were questions taken up with particular urgency in the monasteries and schools of the High Middle Ages as European Christians struggled to reconcile the application of intellectual structure to the experiences and practices of worship and faith.  Using Peter Lombard’s Sentences as a guide, this course seeks to situate the twelfth- and early-thirteenth-century theological discussions about God, creation, incarnation, the sacraments, and last things within the devotional and liturgical developments of their day.




The Prayers and Meditations of Saint Anselm with the Proslogion, trans. Benedicta Ward (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973).  ISBN 0-14-044278-2

Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, trans. Mother Columba Hart and Jane Bishop (New York: Paulist Press, 1990).  ISBN 0-8091-3130-7

Alan of Lille, Anticlaudianus or the Good and Perfect Man, trans. James J. Sheridan (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1973).  ISBN 0-8884-4263-7

Richard of St. Victor, The Twelve Patriarchs, The Mystical Ark, Book Three of the Trinity, trans. Grover A. Zinn (New York: Paulist Press, 1979).  ISBN 0-8091-2122-0


Philipp W. Rosemann, Peter Lombard, Great Medieval Thinkers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).  ISBN 0-19-515545-9

M.-D. Chenu, Nature, Man, and Society in the Twelfth Century.  Essays on New Theological Perspectives in the Latin West, ed. and trans. Jerome Taylor and Lester K. Little (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968).  ISBN 0-226-10256-4

Aidan Nichols, The Shape of Catholic Theology (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1991).  ISBN 0-8146-1909-6

Alan W. Watts, Myth and Ritual in Christianity  (Boston: Beacon Press, 1968).  ISBN 0-8070-1375-7



This is a research and discussion colloquium, intended to help students explore some of the fundamental theoretical and practical problems in the historical study of theology and religious belief in European Christianity of the High Middle Ages.  The principal requirement is reading and participation in class.  For the purposes of assessment, there will be a number of in-class presentations and a final paper, the topic and format of which will be discussed in the first week.  Class participation and presentations will constitute 50% of the grade; the final paper will constitute the remaining 50%.




September 26  Introduction: The Structure of Faith


September 28 The Shape of the Question

Chenu, “The Masters of the Theological ‘Science’,” in Nature, pp. 270-309

Rosemann, Peter Lombard, pp. 3-33

Nichols, Shape of Catholic Theology, pp. 7-38

Watts, Myth and Ritual, pp. 1-26


October 3 Options

Chenu, “Monks, Canons, and Laymen in Search of the Apostolic Life,” and “Tradition and Progress,” in Nature, pp. 202-38, 310-30

Rosemann, Peter Lombard, pp. 34-70

Nichols, Shape, pp. 263-348


October 5  “That than which nothing greater”

Anselm, Prayer to God and Proslogion, in Prayers and Meditations, pp. 91-92, 238-67

Watts, Myth and Ritual, pp. 57-84

Nichols, Shape, pp. 41-65


October 10 Three in One

Richard, On the Trinity, bk. 3, pp. 373-97

Rosemann, Peter Lombard, pp. 71-92

Chenu, “Nature and Man—The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century,” in Nature, pp. 1-48


October 12  A Vision of God

Hildegard, Scivias, pp. 59-61

Nichols, Shape, pp. 74-95, 165-99, 235-47

Chenu, “The Symbolist Mentality,” in Nature, pp. 99-145


October 17  Creator and Creature

Hildegard, Scivias, bk. 1, pp. 65-143

Rosemann, Peter Lombard, pp. 93-117

Watts, Myth and Ritual, pp. 27-56


October 19 Redeemer and Redemption

Hildegard, Scivias, bk. 2, pp. 147-303

Rosemann, Peter Lombard, pp. 118-43

Nichols, Shape, pp. 66-73


October 24  The History of Salvation

Hildegard, Scivias, bk. 3, pp. 307-536

Rosemann, Peter Lombard, pp. 144-93

Chenu, “Theology and the New Awareness of History,” in Nature, pp. 162-201


October 26  NO CLASS [Conference at the University of Notre Dame: “European Transformations, 950-1200”]


October 31  The Shape of the Soul I

Richard, Twelve Patriarchs, pp. 53-147

Chenu, “The Old Testament in Twelfth-Century Theology,” in Nature, pp. 146-161

Nichols, Shape, pp. 99-162


November 2  The Shape of the Soul II

Richard, Mystical Ark, bks. 1-3, pp. 151-258

Chenu, “The Evangelical Awakening,” in Nature, pp. 239-69


November 7  The Shape of the Soul III

Richard, Mystical Ark, bks. 4-5, and Appendix, pp. 259-370


November 9 Mythhistory I

Alan, Anticlaudianus, bks. 1-6, pp. 39-172

Chenu, “The Platonisms of the Twelfth Century,” in Nature, pp. 49-98


November 14  Mythhistory II

Alan, Anticlaudianus, bks. 7-9, pp. 173-217

Watts, Myth and Ritual, pp. 85-236


November 16 Theology and Prayer

Anselm, Prayers and Meditations, pp. 89-235


November 21 Decisions

Rosemann, Peter Lombard, pp. 194-211

Nichols, Shape, pp. 200-31, 248-60, 349-55




November 28  Options: Reports


November 30  Options: Reports


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