MacArthur Fellows Program

Caroline Walker Bynum

Medieval Historian | Class of 1986

Medieval Historian
Seattle, Washington
45 at time of award

Caroline Bynum studies the theology and religious practices of late-medieval Europe.

Following her study of male religious orders, Bynum shifted her focus to religious women of western Europe from the twelfth to sixteenth centuries.  She uncovered the characteristics of women’s religious responses by placing their ideas and life stories in a historical context, and by comparing male and female writings.  Ideas of death and redemption in late antiquity and the high-middle ages constitute the focus of her book, The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christendom, 200-1336 (1995)She has authored many books, including Docere Verbo et Exemplo (1979), Jesus as Mother (1982), Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women (1987), Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body (1991), and Metamorphosis and Identity (2001). 

Since 2003, Bynum has been the Professor of Western European Middle Ages at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.  She previously held the Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Chair in History at Columbia University (1990-1998) and was the first woman at Columbia to hold the title of University Professor (1999-2003).

Bynum received a B.A. (1962) from the University of Michigan, and an M.A. (1963) and a Ph.D. (1969) from Harvard University.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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