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Emilia Jamroziak, Prof. Dr.


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on request

+49 (0) 351 4793 4183

Recent projects

bis 08/2016
Alexander von Humboldt-Stipendiatin an der Forschungsstelle für Vergleichende Ordensgeschichte mit dem Projekt The Cult of the "Founding Fathers" in Late Medieval Monastic and Mendicant Orders.

The project focuses on the development of the idea and subsequent cult of 'founding fathers' within Cistercian, Carmelite, and Dominican orders in the later middle ages through texts and images. These figures were not only an embodiment of the identity of these monastic and mendicant organisations, but also provided historical legitimisation. Bernard of Clairvaux and Dominic were historical figures, while the biblical prophet Elijah was a mythical founder of Carmelites, yet all of them underwent a complex process of transformation in the course of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in order to embody the origins, identity and continuity of the order. Although there is a substantial scholarship on various aspects of Bernard’s and Dominic’s actual lives, their role as ‘icons’ of their respective orders has received much less attention, and there has been no attempt to examine this phenomenon comparatively. These three figures have been selected because they represent different strand of the monastic tradition, namely coenobitic, eremitic and mendicant, allowing for the widest possible comparison. Moreover, in the cases of Cistercians and Dominicans the myths of origins were initially embodied in texts as the sources of charisma rather than in any of the figures associated with the origins of the movements.

'The founding father' is a very powerful concept that links individual human life with the group and its history and links different genealogies – human and institutional. As a concept of control it is particularly useful; the ‘legacy’ of the founding fathers can be re-cast many times to provide legitimacy and continuity. Fundamentally, the project addresses some of the key questions about the role of religious orders as pan-European structures in the late medieval society, their resilience and adaptability in the context of rapid change.


Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Gert Melville

Academic Manager and Research Coordinator:
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Cristina Andenna

Technische Universität
D - 01062 Dresden
Email: fovog-dresden(at)

Tel: +49 (0) 351 4793 4180
Fax: +49 (0) 351 4793 4189

The FOVOG is a centrally incorporated institute of the Technical University of Dresden
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