Brian Tierney (medievalist)

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Brian Tierney
Born (1922-05-01) May 1, 1922 (age 92)
Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, England
Fields Medieval church history
Alma mater Pembroke College, Cambridge
Known for Roman Catholic ecclesiology

Brian Tierney (born May 1, 1922[1] ) is a historian and a medievalist. He was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was a member of the faculty of the Catholic University of America for eight years until becoming professor of medieval history at Cornell University in 1959, becoming the Goldwin Smith Professor of Medieval History in 1969 and the first Bowmar Professor of Humanistic Studies in 1977.[2]

His speciality is medieval church history, focusing on the structure of the medieval church and the medieval state, and the influences of the interaction between these on the development of Western institutions.[2] His most recent book on this theme is Liberty and Law: The Idea of Permissive Natural Law, 1100-1800.

He gave the Wiles Lectures at the Queen's University of Belfast in 1972, which appeared in print in 1982 as Religion, law, and the growth of constitutional thought, 1150-1650.[3]

According to a festschrift published in his honour, his Foundations of the Conciliar Theory (Cambridge University Press, 1955) and Origins of Papal Infallibility (E.J. Brill, 1972) have found their way beyond the confines of academia, helping to shape the modern Roman Catholic Church debate on ecclesiology.[4]


  1. ^ Aubert, Roger (1965). Historical problems of church renewal. Paulist Press. p. 177. 
  2. ^ a b Notable Cornell Medievalists
  3. ^ Brian Tierney, Religion, law, and the growth of constitutional thought, 1150-1650 (Cambridge, Eng., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982) ISBN 0-521-23495-6; paperback edition ISBN 0-521-08808-9
  4. ^ Popes, Teachers, and Canon Law in the Middle Ages, Eds. James Ross Sweeney and Stanley Chodorow. Cornell University Press, 1989. ISBN 0-8014-2264-7 p. xi

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