Contest and Controversy; Rome, Ireland, Early Christianity in the British Isles

Course Title: Contest and Controversy; Rome, Ireland, Early Christianity in the British Isles


Date: Jan 31, Feb 7, 14, 21, 2018

Time: 10:00 am to noon

Location: Mercer Library/Community Center

Fee: $30 with $5 discount if registration is received by Jan 17th.

Objectives: This course explores a fascinating moment in both the early history of the British Isles and early Christianity. Between ca. 400 and 700, a struggle ensued between the forces of “orthodoxy,” with its evolving church hierarchy centered in Rome, and the flourishing Celtic Christian tradition that emerged among the Irish and the Britons, which was to prove remarkably influential in the Christianization of Europe. Though Roman orthodoxy ultimately prevailed, the contest between the two Christian traditions was not finally laid to rest until the twelfth century. Or was it? The course will conclude with a look at how and why that Celtic tradition—or at least an idealized version of it—has survived through the centuries, culminating in a global ecumenical Christian practice that we know today as Celtic Christianity.

Requirements: The only requirement for this course is an interest in the topic.

Instructor:   Mary Magray has an MA in European history and a PhD in British and Irish history, with a focus on women and religion. She has been teaching a wide variety of European history courses to students of all ages for more than thirty years, including the history of early Irish and British Christianity at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is the author of The Transforming Power of the Nuns: Women, Religion, and Cultural Change in Ireland, 1750-1900, published by Oxford University Press in 1998, and is currently an instructor in the Division of Continuing Studies at UWMadison.