HL90CN: Poverty, Wealth, and Religion in the Middle Ages





Instructor: Brian FitzGerald
Meeting time: Tuesday, 2-4

This seminar considers the ethical, political, and spiritual questions arising from the existence of wealth and poverty, the rich and the poor, in medieval European culture.  What was the relationship between Christian charity and economic activity in the Middle Ages?  How did the religious values of a simple, austere life inform and conflict with changes in both Church and society?  Drawing on saints’ lives, theological treatises, art and architecture, and the work of poets such as Dante, Chaucer, and Shakespeare, the course will examine how the interaction of spiritual ideals and material realities shaped cultural developments and affected beliefs and practices from late antiquity to the Protestant Reformation.