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Provost's Imagine Fund for Arts and Humanities

Herbert Grundmann: Heresy, Inquisition, Literacy

I am requesting partial support (translation and travel fees) for a collaborative international project investigating the historiographical legacy of German scholar Herbert Grundmann, and fostering new transnational scholarship on medieval piety and religiosity. Grundmann’s classic 1935 study, Religiöse Bewegungen im Mittelalter (English translation by Steven Rowan in 1995 by University of Notre Dame Press) has defined generations of scholarship and continues to shape interpretations today. In the intervening eighty years since the book’s first publication, however, a vast corpus of research has emerged that reaffirms some aspects of Grundmann’s narrative but challenges many others.

An Imagine Grant award last year supported the earliest phase of the project, which was to facilitate discussion of Grundmann’s influence and new directions in the field at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds in July, 2015. The sessions were very successful: nearly thirty leading historians from seven countries gathered with dozens of other attendees in a 7-session strand coordinated by Professor Anne E. Lester (UC – Boulder) and myself. The response was exciting and lively, and all participants agreed that more work remains to be done.

The next phase, for which I am requesting support now, is to publish a translated collection of vital but relatively unknown essays by Grundmann. Dr. Letha Böhringer (Universität zu Köln) and I will co-edit and write an introductory essay. Steven Rowan, who translated that initial volume Religious Movements, has agreed to translate the collection, tentatively titled Herbert Grundmann: Heresy, Inquisition, Literacy. A contract is pending from York Medieval Press/Boydell & Brewer.

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