Religious Life between Jerusalem, the Desert, and the World

Selected Essays by Kaspar Elm


Few medievalists of the last generation have contributed more to our understanding of late medieval religious life than Kaspar Elm. Over the last half century his reflections, now a monumental corpus of books, essays and other publications, have explored how the life of the cloister, canonry and convent intersected with the world of the laity, church and society beyond, and how that story reflected the broader sweep of European history. Until now relatively few Anglophone scholars and students have had direct access to Elm’s work. The present translation of several of his most important essays offers itself as a modest remedy to that circumstance.
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Biographical Note

James D. Mixson is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Alabama. He is the author of Poverty’s Proprietors (Brill, 2009) and the editor (with Bert Roest) of A Companion to Observant Reform in the Late Middle Ages and Beyond (Brill, 2015).

Table of contents


1. Francis and Dominic. The Impact and Impetus of Two Founders of Religious Orders

2. Fratres et Sorores Sanctissimi Sepulcri. Reflections on Fraternitas, Familia and Women’s Religious Life in the Circle of the Chapter of the Holy Sepulcher

3. Mendicants and Humanists in Florence in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries. The Problem of Justifying Humanistic Studies in the Mendicant Orders

4. Decline and Renewal of the Religious Orders in the Late Middle Ages. Current Research and Research Agendas

5. Canons and Knights of the Holy Sepulcher: A Contribution to the Origins and Early History of the Military Orders of Palestine

6. The Status of Women in Religious Life, Semi-Religious Life and Heresy in the Era of St. Elizabeth

7. John of Capistrano’s Preaching Tour North of the Alps (1451-1456)

8. Vita regularis sine regula. The Meaning, Legal Status and Self-Understanding of Late-Medieval and Early-Modern Semi-Religious Life

9. The “Devotio Moderna” and the New Piety between the Later Middle Ages and the Early Modern Era



All interested in the history of medieval religion and religious movements, and especially those interested in the place of religious life and religious orders in the context of late medieval history generally.


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