Heresy and magic in Early Modern Europe

This course explores some of the most prevalent, radical and dangerous ideas in early modern Europe: heretical and occult beliefs. Among the topics we study are demonic and angelic magic, astrology, mysticism, pornography, and the Inquisition. The course uses historical, literary, sociological and psychological approaches to discuss a variety of texts and images. 

Indicative class topics  

  • Introduction to mentalities and early modern society - the Bible and scriptural scholarship; prophecy and millenarian beliefs 
  • Hermeticism and the ancient wisdom - the belief in a tradition of esoteric and occult knowledge
  • Demons and the Devil - demonic possession,  witchcraft and black magic
  • Angels - angelology and angel magic
  • Astrology and alchemy
  • Mysticism - Jewish Cabbala, numerology and mathematics
  • Sex and pornography 
  • Inquisitions - the Spanish and Roman inquisitions
  • Sects and heresies in early modern England
  • Conclusion. 

15 credits at level 4

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students. You may have to fulfil specific prerequisites for some intermediate-level or advanced-level courses, but these will be specified where relevant.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You enrol directly onto the classes you would like to take, using the Enrol Now link below. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis – so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then enrol onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.

First class: Wed 25-Apr-18 11am-1pm

Class location Central London
Class code SSHC441H4AAA