Reformation Europe


This course explores the history of Christianity in Europe from c. 1450 to c. 1650.  At the beginning of this period, the overwhelming majority of Europeans were bound together by a commonly-held Christian culture.  In the sixteenth century, these bonds were shattered as Europeans debated what “Christianity” meant.  In order to defend their answers, children disowned their parents, princes waged wars, and martyrs faced violent deaths.  By the seventeenth century, Europeans lived in a world divided by religion.  How did these divisions take shape?  And how did they shape the lives of early modern European individuals, families, and communities?  Throughout the semester, we will explore these questions through a combination of lectures and discussions. Most importantly, we will read primary sources from the sixteenth century.  Central themes include the formation of divergent Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist, and Catholic communities; persecution and toleration; the effects of religious reform on art and culture; and the interplay between Reformations in Europe and the exploration of the wider world. For 2017, recognize as the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we will also explore its legacy in the modern world.

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts