Caroline Walker Bynum

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Caroline Walker Bynum, FBA (born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1941)[1] is an American Medieval scholar. She is a University Professor emerita at Columbia University and Professor emerita of Western Medieval History at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. She was the first woman to be appointed University Professor at Columbia. She is a former Dean of Columbia's School of General Studies,[1] and served as President of the American Historical Association in 1996, and President of the Medieval Academy of America in 1997-98.[2]

Education and career[edit]

Bynum attended Radcliffe College before completing a bachelor's degree with high honours in history at the University of Michigan in 1962,[3] and master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University in 1969.[1] Her honors include the Jefferson Lecture, a MacArthur Fellowship, and fourteen honorary degrees[1] including degrees from the University of Chicago in 1992,[4] Harvard University in 2005,[5] the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania in 2007.[6] She taught at Harvard University from 1969-1976, the University of Washington from 1976-1988, Columbia University from 1988-2003, and the Institute for Advanced Study from 2003-2011.[7] In 2015, she was the Robert Janson-La Palma Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University.[8]

Bynum's work has focused on the way medieval people, especially women, understood the nature of the human body and its physicality in the context of larger theological questions and spiritual pursuits. Bynum's work centers around late-medieval Europe.[9] Her focus on female piety has brought increased attention to the role of women in medieval Europe.[10]


  • Christian Materiality An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (2011)[11]
  • Wonderful Blood: Theology and Practice in Late Medieval Northern Germany and Beyond (Philadelphia, 2006), winner of the American Academy of Religion's 2007 Award for Excellence, the 2009 Gründler Prize, and the Haskins Medal of the Medieval Academy of America in 2011.[8]
  • Metamorphosis and Identity (2005)[12]
  • The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity: 200-1336 (1995) which received the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize from Phi Beta Kappa and the Jacques Barzun Prize of the American Philosophical Society.[13][14]
  • Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion (1991), winner of the Trilling Prize for the Best Book by a Columbia Faculty Member and the Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in the Analytical-Descriptive Category from the American Academy of Religion.[15]
  • Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women (1988), winner of the Governor's Writer's Day Award of the State of Washington and the Philip Schaff prize of the American Society of Church History.
  • Jesus as Mother: Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages (1984)
  • Docere verbo et exemplo: an aspect of twelfth-century spirituality (1979)

Awards and Prizes[edit]

  • Distinguished Teacher Award from the University of Washington (1981)
  • Berkshire Prize (1985)
  • MacArthur Fellowship (1986–9)[16]
  • Governor's Writers Day Award (1988)[17]
  • Philip Schaff Prize (1989)
  • Trilling Prize (1992)
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize (1995)
  • Barzun Prize (1996)
  • Columbia University, Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching (1997)
  • Jefferson Lecturer (1999)
  • Harvard University, Centennial Medal of the Harvard Graduate School (2001)
  • Mark van Doren Teaching Award of Columbia College (2002)
  • American Society of Church History, Distinguished Career Award (2005)
  • Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion (2007 and 1992)
  • Gründler Prize (2009)
  • Haskins Medal (2011)
  • Federal Republic of Germany, Order of Merit (2012)
  • Federal Republic of Germany, Grand Merit Cross with Star (2013) [1]
  • Hebrew University, Doctor Honoris Causa (2015)[18]

In 2016 Bynum was elected a Fellow of the Ecclesiastical History Society.[19] In July 2017, Bynum was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and social sciences.[20]


  1. ^ a b c d e Caroline Walker Bynum short CV at Institute for Advanced Study website (retrieved June 29, 2009).
  2. ^ "Caroline Walker Bynum | School of Historical Studies". Retrieved 2018-03-28. 
  3. ^ "Interview with Caroline Walker Bynum". The Historian. 59 (1): 1–17. 1996-09-01. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6563.1996.tb00981.x. ISSN 1540-6563. 
  4. ^ "Honorary Degrees 1990-1999 | Convocation | The University of Chicago". Retrieved 2018-03-28. 
  5. ^ "Honorary Degrees | Harvard University". Harvard University. Retrieved 2018-03-28. 
  6. ^ "Penn: Office of the University Secretary: Alphabetical Listing of Honorary Degrees". Retrieved 2018-03-28. 
  7. ^ "Caroline Walker Bynum". Institute for Advanced Study. Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  8. ^ a b "Caroline Walker Bynum | School of Historical Studies". Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  9. ^ "Caroline Walker Bynum". MacArthur Foundation. 
  10. ^ "Caroline Walker Bynum". The Center for the Humanities. CUNY. 
  11. ^ "Christian Materiality". MIT Press. Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  12. ^ "Metamorphosis and Identity". MIT Press. Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  13. ^ "The Jefferson Lecture" at 1999 National Endowment for the Humanities Annual Report.
  14. ^ Bynum, Caroline Walker (1996-05-01). Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231515627. 
  15. ^ "Fragmentation and Redemption". MIT Press. Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  16. ^ "MacArthur Fellows August 1986" Archived July 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "Governor's Writers Day Awards at the Washington State Library, 1966 - 2000 - WA Secretary of State". Retrieved 2018-03-28. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Election of New Fellows | Ecclesiastical History Society". Retrieved 2018-03-28. 
  20. ^ "Elections to the British Academy celebrate the diversity of UK research". British Academy. 2 July 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2017. 
  • Women Medievalists and the Academy, Edited by Jane Chance, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2005, pp. 995–1006.

External links[edit]