Spring 2024 - HIST 320 D100

European Reformation (4)

Class Number: 4710

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Tue, 11:30 a.m.–2:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history. Strongly recommended: HIST 220 or 223.



An advanced examination of the complex history and patterns of the Religious Reformation in sixteenth century Europe. Emphasis will be placed on the religious thought of the period, and on its social and political context.


The European Reformation brought about profound religious changes in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. What effect did these changes have on European culture and society? To answer this question we shall begin with a close analysis of Diarmaid MacCulloch’s magisterial synthesis of Reformation history.  In our study of this history in the first part of the course, we shall consider two large questions:

(1) Does it make sense to think of several Reformations, or should historians view the Reformation as a coherent movement with a common agenda? (2) Is the term “Counter-Reformation” an appropriate way of labeling Catholicism in the Reformation era?  In the second part of the course, we shall consider the various ways in which historians have responded to a central question in Reformation scholarship over the past thirty years: (3) Was the Reformation a success or a failure?


The lectures, tutorials, and course requirements of History 320 will help you achieve the educational goals of undergraduate courses in the Department of History.  In particular, by the end of the course you will be able

  • to identify and explain the principal historical developments of the European Reformation
  • to address large historical questions about the Reformation
  • to assess arguments about the success and failure of the European Reformation through an analysis of relevant secondary sources


  • Participation 15%
  • Three Tests (3 x 10%) 30%
  • First Essay (1200-1500 words) 25%
  • Second Essay (1500-2000 words) 30%



  • Diarmaid MacCulloch, Reformation: Europe’s House Divided, 1490-1700 for purchase from ca in hardcopy or as a Kindle Edition or from other vendors. This book is also sold under the title The Reformation: A History (2005). Make sure you have a copy of the book for the beginning of the course on 9 January 2024. The SFU Bookstore cannot provide any copies.
  • Andrew Pettegree, Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion (2005) available for free download from the SFU library
  • Scholarly journal articles available for free electronic download.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.