nl en

Christianity in Europe: religious diversity in context


Admission requirements

No restrictions.


This BA-course offers an introduction to the religious history in Europe and aims at familiarising students with main currents within Christianity in the early modern and modern era. The course specifically addresses 1) the great diversity of the manifestations of Christianity; and 2) the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion within various denominations and religious groups.
It will highlight the significance of major long-term developments in order to show the religious, cultural and intellectual roots of today’s situation of Christianity in Europe.

Chronological boundaries
Focus of the course will be on the religious history in the era between the Peace of Westphalia (1648) and today. The starting-point will be the situation in today’s Europe.

The approach to the subject will be twofold:
1) thematic / chronological;
2) comparative; that is, themes will be considered from various denominational angles. Likewise countries/regions will be dealt with from a comparative perspective

Contents lectures

  1. European Christianity today: between traditionalism, evangelicalism, liberalism, secularism.

  2. Millenarians and mystics: awaiting Christ’s second reign on earth

  3. ‘Men before Adam’: the emergence of religious and cultural relativism

  4. Toleration: Christianity in the mirror of foreign cultures

  5. How to be a pious believer: jansenism, pietism and the social and missionary enterprise

  6. Enlightened views on world religions: the popularity of China, Confucius,

  7. Longings for the old-time religion and counter-offensives to the challenges of modernity: revivalism and religious emotions

  8. Realising the ‘Social Gospel’ – or how to deal with modern society (industrialization, urbanisation, slavery, alcoholism)

  9. ‘Are we still Christians?’ The impact of Darwinism on religion

  10. Did Jesus really live? Debates about the founder of Christianity

  11. The rise of neo-orthodoxy, fundamentalism, and evangelicalism since 1920

  12. Secularisation? Desecularization? Secular fundamentalism? Religious diversity in Europe in the early 21st century

Course objectives

  • students shall be familiar with the main themes of the early modern and modern history of Christianity – students shall be able to analyse relevant religious phenomena in relation to concepts of diversity, exclusion-inclusion, orthodoxy, modernization – students shall be able to grasp and specify various theories concerning these and other major concepts – students shall be able to critically analyse and evaluate primary sources and put these in wider contexts (historical, theological, ecclesiastical, cultural, social, political).


See Time table

Mode of instruction

The course is based on a combination of lectures by the supervisor, short presentations by the participants, close reading of primary sources, and class room discussion (seminar style).

Assessment method

Assessment will be based on:

  • participation in class, including weekly readings and assignments (25 %) – a short presentation on a key text (25 %) – an essay that explores the key text (50 %)



Reading list

Will follow


uSis en blackboard

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte via:
Registration Contractonderwijs via:


Participants are kindly requested to sign up with the supervisor by email before 1 February 2012: