Albrecht Diem

Position title: Solmsen Fellow (2010-2011)

History, Syracuse University

Portrait image of Albrecht Diem

The Invention of Western Monasticism

This project investigates the process of monastic institution forming in the early medieval West from the earliest monastic foundations (c. 350) to the Carolingian monastic reforms. It will especially focus on the transformation of concepts of monastic space, the integration of monasteries into political structures, the development of monastic discipline and the role of normative texts. Instead of assuming that there was an organic ‘emergence’ of monasticism, special attention will be given to conflicts about changing monastic ideals and different objectives of reform. An often neglected though for this question very fruitful source are the references to (and constructions of) a collective past as they can be found in almost any monastic text.

Albrecht Diem is Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Syracuse University. His research focuses on the history of monasticism in the Early Middle Ages and the history of gender and sexuality. He published a monograph, Das Monastische Experiment. Die Rolle der Keuschheit bei der Entstehung des westlichen Klosterwesens, Vita Regularis, vol. 24, Münster: LIT-Verlag 2005. His recent articles include ‘A Classicising Friar at Work: John of Wales’ Breviloquium de virtutibus’, in: Alasdair A. MacDonald, Zweder von Martels and Jan Veenstra (eds), Christian Humanism. Essays in Honor of Arjo Vanderjagt, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions, vol. 142, Leiden: Brill 2009, pp. 75-102; ‘Nu suln ouch wir gesellen sîn – Über Schönheit, Freundschaft und mann-männliche Liebe im Tristan Gottfrieds von Straßburg’, in: “Die sünde, der sich der tuivel schamet in der helle”. Homosexualität in der Kultur des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit, Stuttgart: Thorbecke Verlag 2009, pp. 91-121; ‘Organisierte Keuschheit – organisierte Heiligkeit. Individuum und Institutionalisierung im frühen gallo-fränkischen Klosterwesen’, in: Pavlina Rychterova, Stefan Seit and Raphalea Veit (eds), Das Charisma. Funktionen und symbolische Repräsentation, Beiträge zu den Historischen Kulturwissenschaften, vol. 2, Berlin: Akademie Verlag 2008, pp. 323-345; ‘The rule of an Iro-Egyptian Monk in Gaul. Jonas of Bobbio’s Vita Iohannis and the construction of a monastic identity’, in: Revue Mabillon 80 (2008), pp. 5-50; ‘Monks, kings and the transformation of sanctity. Jonas of Bobbio and the end of the Holy Man’, in: Speculum 82 (2007), pp. 521-559. Albrecht Diem (M.A. Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf, PhD Universiteit Utrecht) taught at the universities of Groningen and Utrecht and was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen and at the Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Austrian Academy of Science, Vienna. Since 2007 he is assistant professor at Syracuse University. He received a Mellon Fellowship of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies Toronto in 2001/2002. The last three summers he spent as a guest fellow at the Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Vienna.