Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Jay C. Rubenstein

Committee Members

Robert J. Bast, Thomas E. Burman, Maura K. Lafferty


Thirteenth-century papal reforms tied together crusading endeavors, clerical reform, the eradication of heresy, proper ecclesiastical governance, and the management of Christian-Jewish relations into a vision of a global Christendom. But it was men like Jacques de Vitry, a prominent preacher and Bishop of Acre, who strived to make these ideals a reality. He was involved in the key events and intellectual trends of the later twelfth and early thirteenth century. Trained at the University of Paris, Jacques worked among the female religious communities in the Southern Low Countries, preached against heresy and for crusade, and travelled to the Holy Land where he served as the bishop of Acre and participated in the Fifth Crusade. This dissertation examines his multifaceted work as a valuable lens into the various arenas he participated in. Based upon a programmatic examination of Jacques’ sermon collections in their manuscript context, this project reveals development in their form, and the expansion of their content to suit later readers’ needs. Second, it reconstructs in detail several aspects of Jacques’ thought, which in turn influenced the broader academic discussions in the Middle Ages. It argues that Jacques’ message, just as his life, depended on an affirmation of collaboration between the sexes, whether between clerics and holy women or husbands and wives. This work, therefore, evaluates the relationship between clerics and holy women and notions of clerical masculinity. Through situating these relationships within the context of reported violence against holy women at the Siege of Liège, this investigation examines the possible impact of violence and trauma on Jacques’ investment in these communities and his understanding of gender. This dependence on women to assist his message by embodying and transmitting it can be seen, as well, in his involvement in the Fifth Crusade. Therefore, it traces connections between gendered pastoral care and crusade propaganda in the twelfth and thirteenth century to reveal the interest of both men and women in policing and defining gendered boundaries within the context of war. This dissertation, therefore, uncovers the vital relationship between crusade initiatives and a specifically gendered pastoral care in the early thirteenth century.

Available for download on Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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