Caroline Bynum

  • Institute for Advanced Study
  • School of Historical Studies
  • Professor of Medieval European History emerita

Caroline Walker Bynum is professor emerita at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and University Professor emerita at Columbia University.  Her book Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women (1987) was instrumental in inaugurating a surge of study of medieval women’s bodies and lives. Her most recent book is Christian Materiality: An Essay on Late Medieval Religion (2011).  Recent articles include “Interrogating ‘Likeness’: Fake Friends, Similia Similibus, and Heavenly Crowns,” Historische Anthropologie 28.1 (2020), which compares objects in Hindu and Christian devotion; and “Are Things Indifferent?  How Objects Change Our Understanding of Religious History,” German History 34 (2016), which explores the implications of the recent “material turn” for understanding the transition between the Middle Ages and the Protestant Reformation. Her 1995 book The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336, which won prizes from the American Philosophical Society and Phi Beta Kappa, was reissued in 2018 by Columbia University Press with a new introduction.  In the fall of 2020, Zone Books will publish her essay collection titled Dissimilar Similitudes: Devotional Objects in Late Medieval Europe, which complements her research on materiality by, first, a detailed study of several art objects in local New York museums and, second, a theoretical discussion of the nature of comparative analysis.