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Making and Breaking the Rules

Discussion, Implementation and Consequences of Dominican Legislation


6–8 March 2014

Convener: Cornelia Linde (GHIL)
Venue: German Historical Institute London


Recent scholarship has started to address underexplored questions concerning the regulative and organisational structures of religious orders in the Middle Ages. Volumes have been dedicated, for instance, to the orders’ economic thought and organisation as well as questions of obedience. While a great amount of research has been dedicated to the Franciscans, the Cistercians and the Cluniacs, the Order of Preachers has been sidelined, despite the wealth of material that is available.

This conference will focus exclusively on the Order of Preachers and seeks to examine attempts to introduce order in any area of Dominican life by means of rules and regulations. Among the questions this conference aims to explore are: What circumstances led to the introduction of new legislation and how was it enforced? Which (possibly unexpected) results, in turn, did new legislation bring about? What intellectual discussions preceded or followed from these processes? Papers might also examine definitions of obedience, individual cases of disobedience and consequences of breaking the rules.

This conference is interdisciplinary and open to scholars working in any field of medieval studies. Possible sources include legislative texts issued by the Order of Preachers, to intellectual debates within and outside the Order as well as regulations introduced by other institutions or secular and ecclesiastical rulers aimed specifically at the Dominicans.


Call for papers (PDF file)

Conference programme (PDF file)

Conference report (PDF file), published in: GHIL Bulletin 36 (2014), Vol 2