Christianities before Modernity

  • Challenging the perception of Christianity as a unified and European religion before the sixteenth century, this series interrogates the traditional chronological, geographical, social and institutional boundaries of premodern Christianity. Books in this series seek to rebuild the lived experiences and religious worlds of understudied people as well as landmark disputes and iconic figures by recovering underappreciated vernacular sources, situating localized problems and mundane practices within broader social contexts and addressing questions framed by contemporary theoretical and methodological conversations.

  • A late seventeenth century manuscript illustration of the Adoration of the Magi in tones of blue, teal, gold, and red. Mary leans over an infant Jesus in the cradle wihle the Magi offer gifts.

    Image credit: "Adoration of the Magi," Gondarine sensul, Ethiopian, late seventeenth century. Baltimore, The Walters Gallery, Walters Manuscript 36.10, fol. 2r. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0.

Christianities before Modernity embraces an interdisciplinary and comparative approach, publishing on history, literature, music, theater, classics, folklore, art history, archaeology, religious studies, philosophy, gender studies, anthropology, sociology and other areas. Grounded in original sources and informed by ongoing disciplinary disputes, this series demonstrates how premodern Christians comprised diverse and conflicted communities embedded in a religiously diverse world.

Keywords: Christianity, history of religions, longue durée, theory and method of medieval studies, global Middle Ages, inter‐connectivity, late antiquity, medieval and early modern studies.

Geographical Scope: Afro‐Eurasia and the Atlantic World

Chronological Scope: Medieval and Early Modern

  • Editorial Board
    • Rabia Gregory, University of Missouri, Columbia, USA, Series Editor
    • Kathleen E. Kennedy, University of Bristol, England, Series Editor
    • Charlene Villaseñor, UCLA, USA, Series Editor
    • Adnan A. Husain, Queen's University, Canada
    • István Perczel, Central European University, Hungary
    • Eyal Poleg, Queen Mary University of London, England
    • Carl S. Watkins, Magdalene College, Cambridge, England
  • Submissions

    To submit a proposal or completed manuscript to be considered for publication by Medieval Institute Publications or to learn more about the series, contact Tyler Cloherty or Emily Winkler, the acquisitions editors for the series.

All Books in this Series

  • Trauma and Recovery in Early North African Christianity

    Trauma and Recovery in Early North African Christianity

    Scott David Harrower

    Embedded within the texts of (1) The Scilitan martyrs, (2) The account of Montanus, Lucius, and their Companions, (3) The martyrdom of Marian and James, (4) and The martyrdom of Cyprian of Carthage there is a powerful guide for living in the aftermath of trauma. This book vividly demonstrates that such hagiographies played a vital role for helping trauma survivors recover and live in the aftermath of disaster.

    ISBN: 9781501518904  (hardcover), 9781501511264 (eBook) © 2024

    Buy Trauma and Recovery at De Gruyter.


  • The Language of Heresy in Late Medieval English Literature

    The Language of Heresy in Late Medieval English Literature

    By Erin K. Wagner

    Vernacular writers of late medieval England were engaged in global conversations about orthodoxy and heresy. Entering these conversations with a developing vernacular required lexical innovation. The Language of Heresy in Late Medieval English Literature examines the way in which these writers complemented seemingly straightforward terms, like heretic, with a range of synonyms that complicated the definitions of both those words and orthodoxy itself. This text proposes four specific terms that become collated with heretic in the parlance of medieval English writers of the 14th and 15th centuries: jangler, Jew, Saracen, and witch. These four labels are especially important insofar as they represent the way in which medieval Christianity appropriated and subverted marginalized or vulnerable identities to promote a false image of unassailable authority.

    ISBN: 9781501519239 (hardcover), 9781501512094 (eBook) © 2024

    Buy The Language of Heresy at De Gruyter.

  • Forthcoming Titles

    Women, Ethnicity, and Identity in the Early Syriac Church

    Catherine Burris

    This is the first full-length study of women in the early Syriac church.  It offers an analysis of the place of Syriac women in the church, and in doing so identifies the ways that one minority tradition struggled to identify itself.  Relying mostly on narrative accounts of female saints and martyrs, it distinguishes between ecclesiastical and devotional interests, and argues that the representation of women in Syriac texts offers a view of Christians on the social and ecclesiastical periphery.

    The Reception and Use of Monastic Literature: Text Creation and Community Formation

    Zachary B. Smith

    This volume explores how Greek and Latin authors across the Mediterranean and Europe deployed related texts to form monastic communities in different veins. Using the Apophthegmata Patrum as an exemplar, Zachary B. Smith argues that late antique, early medieval, and Byzantine authors selectively utilized monastic sayings texts to form their particular monastic worlds.

    Imagining Christian Japan: European Views from 1550 to 1900

    By Jennifer Lynn Welsh

    Using a range of European texts as well as Japanese texts in translation, this monograph argues that European constructions of Japan as a potentially Christian country shaped Western views from the early modern contact period through Japan’s Tokugawa-era isolation until the late nineteenth century.