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Date(s) - 26 Sep 2017
5:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Columbia University Faculty House

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The first meeting of the Columbia University Seminar on Medieval Studies will take place on Tuesday, September 26 at 5:30pm in the Faculty House. Dr. Jeffrey Wayno will present “The High Medieval Papacy: An Empire of Influence?” Dr. Wayno, who served as the rapporteur of this Seminar between 2010 and 2016, received his degree from the Department of History at Columbia in 2016. His dissertation is entitled “Communication and the Limits of Papal Authority in the Medieval West, 1050-1250.” At present, he is in his second year as a CLIR-DLF Postdoctoral Fellow for Data Curation in Medieval Studies at Columbia. His article, “Rethinking the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215,” is forthcoming in Speculum. Below is the abstract of Dr. Wayno’s talk:

For much of the last century, scholars of the Middle Ages have interpreted the rise of the papacy as a crucial part of the religious, political, legal, social, and even economic development of the European continent. Names like Gregory VII, Innocent III, and Boniface VIII grace the pages of countless textbooks on medieval society. Specialized studies of the papacy continue to stress the enduring legacy of its institutions and ideology, in large part due to the perceived sophistication and effectiveness of papal administrative institutions, the tools that popes used to translate their ideas into reality. But what if our reading of papal sources has overstated dramatically the effectiveness of that administrative machine and, in turn, the degree to which popes were able to make their will felt throughout Christendom? Using three case studies from the period 1050 to 1250, this paper illustrates how the dominant narrative of papal power has warped our understanding of the papacy and—in the process—overshadowed what was most creative about it as an institution. The paper concludes with a brief sketch of how we might better think about the high medieval bishops of Rome and their wider role in European society.

The talk will be followed by dinner at Faculty House at 7:00pm. All those who wish to dine with Jeffrey Wayno after the talk must make reservations by contacting the rapporteur of the seminar, Carolyn Quijano at cjq2101@columbia.edu by Tuesday, September 19. Dinner is a fixed buffet menu, which costs $30 per person. Payment is only by check made out to “Columbia University.”