Caroline Walker Bynum
European Medieval History
Caroline Bynum’s work has been instrumental in introducing the concept of gender into the study of medieval Christianity. Her path-breaking books, Holy Feast and Holy Fast (1987) and The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christendom (1995), created the paradigm for the study of women’s piety that dominates the field today and helped propel the history of the body into a major area of premodern European Studies. Her essays “Why All the Fuss About the Body?” (1995), “Wonder” (1997), “Avoiding the Tyranny of Morphology” (2014), and “Interrogating ‘Likeness’” (2020) are widely cited in discussions of historical method. Her recent work, in Christian Materiality (2011) and Dissimilar Similitudes (2020), is a radical reinterpretation of the nature of Christianity on the eve of the reformations of the sixteenth century and an exploration of theoretical problems concerning questions of historical comparison. She is currently continuing to work on Christian devotional objects in comparative perspective.