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Partners and Research Opportunities

The Center for Religious and Legal History (CRLH) draws upon the outstanding research resources of Saint Louis University and the St. Louis area and can offer excellent opportunities for study and research in diverse traditions within the history of religion and law.

The CRLH cooperates and co-sponsors events with other schools, centers, and departments at Saint Louis University, including the School of Law, the Center for International and Comparative Law, the Center for the Study of Global Catholicism, the Catholic Studies Program, the Department of History, the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, the Department of Philosophy, and the Department of Theological Studies.

Our primary partners, which enable research and training in the history of law and religion, are the following:

The Vatican Film Library

The Vatican Film Library in the Saint Louis University Library Department of Special Collections is a research collection for the study of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, holding more than 37,000 microfilmed manuscripts from the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, as well as an additional 3,000 microfilmed manuscripts from numerous other libraries. Language groups represented include Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Coptic, Ethiopic, and the European vernaculars. The VFL’s Manuscript Studies Reference Collection consists of more than 7,500 volumes and is rich in manuscript catalogues, works on paleography, codicology, illumination, text editing, library history, and other topics that support the study of manuscripts and the texts they contain. The VFL also holds more than 12,000 microfilmed Jesuit historical manuscripts from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries relating to activities of the Society of Jesus in the Western Hemisphere, from collections such as the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu. Complementing these manuscript and archival resources, the Rare Books Division of Special Collections holds 30,000 volumes, with strengths in theology, philosophy, Church history, English recusant history, and works written by or about members of the Society of Jesus.

The history of religion and law stands out among the many subject areas that can be studied within these diverse materials. Central to the mission of the CRLH, the VFL also houses and provides access to the Center’s growing collection of reproductions of medieval canon law manuscripts. Short-Term Fellowships are available for research in all these collections. 

Pius XII Memorial Library and Vincent C. Immell Law Library

Saint Louis University’s Pius XII Memorial Library possesses strong holdings in medieval history, the history of the Catholic Church, theology, law, and canon law. Pertinent to research in the field of medieval canon law are, among many individual volumes and additional journals and reference works of relevance, all Proceedings of the International Congresses of Medieval Canon Law, the Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, the Dictionnaire de droit canonique, Studia Gratiana, and all issues of the Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, Kanonistische Abteilung.

Moreover, the University’s Vincent C. Immell Law Library has holdings in medieval English common law and ample resources in the area of comparative law and international law. 

Jesuit Archives and Research Center
The Jesuit Archives and Research Center (JARC) aims to be a destination for researchers from around the world into Jesuit history. Located just west of Saint Louis University’s North Campus in a modern facility completed in 2017, it is a mere five-minute walk from Pius XII Memorial Library. Its holdings span 14 provinces of the Society of Jesus within the United States, with materials dating back to the early 19th century. Documents from these provinces include personal manuscripts of Jesuits; administrative records of the order in the province, Jesuit houses, schools, and seminaries; and documents pertaining to missions. Many documents speak to curricular and educational requirements as well as qualifications for members of the order. It also houses the records of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, which is the governing body of the Society of Jesus in these two countries. As such, JARC possesses documents pertinent to ecclesiastical governance within a large and active religious order of the Catholic Church, which necessarily fell under the dictates of the canon law of the Church.
Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Annual Symposium

The Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS) has developed a reputation as being among the best such centers in North America and even the world. It hosts multiple events each academic year, including lectures by university professors and visiting scholars and the Crusades Studies Forum, and it organizes an annual symposium, the Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies, each June, during which other regular conferences, such as the Manuscript Studies Conference, take place. The CMRS supports research in any discipline for the investigation of the medieval and early modern world and provides a community of medievalists and early modernists that benefits faculty, graduate students, and visiting scholars.

CMRS offers NEH Fellowships for 5, 10, or 15 weeks; awardees may extend their stay for up to two weeks through supplemental funding of the Center for Religious and Legal History. See Short-Term Fellowships for more information.

The Center for Religious and Legal History regularly organizes sessions or workshops at the Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies, promoting scholarship in the area of pre-modern religious law, especially medieval canon law, and training medievalists in the tools and methods of research in this field. It does so by making use of materials in the Vatican Film Library.