Monastic leadership in the post-charismatic age. Constructing a new paradigm for the study of reforms before the emergence of the great Orders (Western Europe, tenth-early twelfth centuries)

Monastiek leiderschap in het post-charismatische tijdperk. Naar een nieuw paradigma voor de studie van hervormingen voor de opkomst van de grote kloosterorden (West-Europa, tiende-twaalfde eeuw)
Start - End 
2011 - 2016 (ongoing)
Department of History
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This project focuses on the leadership of ‘second-generation reformers’ in monasteries from the central Middle Ages (10th-early 12th centuries) to investigate the phenomenon of monastic reform as a long-term process. So far, historical scholarship has implicitly or explicitly subscribed to the idea that the development of monastic institutions corresponds to a process marked by long periods of stasis, alternating with bursts of rapid development known as ‘reforms’. The concrete implementation of reforms is considered to have derived directly from the goals set by a first, ‘charismatic’ generation of monastic leaders whose principal level of operation exceeded that of individual institutions. By means of a database-driven analysis of the leadership of a ‘second generation’ of abbots from more than sixty monasteries, the researchers will propose a new paradigm for the study of reform by testing two hypotheses. The first is that reforms for the period up to the mid-12th century can only be studied adequately as a confrontation of the objectives of the reformers with the concrete contexts in which each individual monastery found itself. The second is that the moulding of this confrontation into a durable new situation was a long-term process, and that reformist policies were essentially cumulative in nature.




Phd Student(s)


Brigitte Meijns