Monasteries in the High Middle Ages as engines of innovation for European forms of life
The Academy project “Monasteries in the High Middle Ages” focuses on the medieval monastic world as a harbinger of modernity. In the changing social and religious context between the 11 th and the 13 th centuries, medieval monasteries achieved a hitherto unexampled degree of rationalism in the way they organised their collective lives. The models generated at this time inspired the new societal and cultural dawn that spawned specifi c confi gurations of political and social order. In modern Europe the repercussions of those configurations were still clearly discernible. Two closely connected research units have dedicated themselves to exploring this phenomenon, one at the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the other at the Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
Ruin of the monastery of Heisterbach
While the research unit in Dresden (www.saw-leipzig.de/forschung/projekte/kloester-im-hochmittelalter) investigates the ideals of ordered living operative within the monasteries themselves, the work being done in Heidelberg concentrates on texts from the 12 th and 13 th centuries that proposed blueprints for social and political order with equal relevance for society outside the monastery walls, blueprints that were based on universal interpretations of the meaning of life and the world. Initially, the research work involves exploration of the material available and subsequent identifi cation and documentation of the essential texts. These are then subjected to historical analysis and finally edited (in most cases). Ongoing edition projects: project A (12 th century): Gerhoch of Reicherberg, Opusculum de aedificio Dei; project B (13 th century): Bonum universale de apibus by the Dominican theologian Thomas of Cantimpré.
Chair of the Commission
Prof. Dr. Eike Wolgast
Heads of the Research Unit
Prof. Dr. Bernd Schneidmüller
Prof. Dr. Stefan Weinfurter
Dr. Julia Becker
Dr. Julia Burkhardt
Dr. Volker Hartmann
phone: +49 62 21 | 54 30 36 or 54 30 37