The purpose of this course is to provide a general introduction to the history and polity of the Unitarians and Universalists in Europe, and later, North America. Comprehensive coverage of such a diverse landscape is not our goal. Rather, we will focus on individuals and events that highlight different ways Unitarians, Universalists, Unitarians Universalists spoke of belief and practiced their religion in a variety of contexts and organized themselves.
Starting from emergence of the early church and Arianism—we will move quickly to the so-called “Radical” Reformation in Spain, Poland, and Transylvania to the English antecedents of Unitarians and Universalists. Then we go on to investigate evidence about the movements of Unitarians and Universalists as they appear in the burgeoning United States and Canada how they expressed their beliefs in North American contexts.
As we move into the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, we look at issues that proved controversial among the various Unitarian and Universalist groups—including views of polity, belief, institution building, diversity, expansion, changing beliefs, and other moments of change and controversy.