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Steven Schoenig, SJ

Associate Professor

Courses Taught

Undergraduate: The Investiture Contest; Early History and Constitutions of the Society of Jesus; Senior Seminar: Death, the Afterlife, and the End of the World in Medieval Life and Thought; Origins of the Modern World to 1500; The Middle Ages to 1100; Senior Seminar: Medieval Popes and Papacy; Graduate: Topics in Medieval Canon Law; German Readings in Medieval History; Readings in the Medieval Papacy; The Papacy and the Law; Graduate Seminar: The Papacy and the Law; Graduate Seminar: Religious Life in the Middle Ages; Graduate Seminar: The Medieval Papacy; The Carolingian and Ottonian Worlds; Reform and Revolution in the Central Middle Ages; ​Graduate ​Seminar: Reform and Revolution in the Central Middle Ages; History Teaching Practicum


Ph.D., Columbia University, 2009

M.Phil., Columbia University, 2004

M.Div., Weston Jesuit School of Theology, 2001

M.A., Fordham University, 1999

B.A., Creighton University, 1991

Research Interests

I am interested in the religious history of the Middle Ages from a cultural perspective: how ideas, values, and relationships were incarnated in symbols, customs, behaviors, and structures. In this vein, my research centers on the history of ecclesiastical institutions, such as the papacy, church councils and synods, and canon law, and on the history of religious expressions, such as the liturgy, monastic life, and the cult of the saints. So far the chief topic of my research has been the pallium, a woolen band used as a liturgical vestment and a papal badge, which the medieval popes laid upon the tomb of St. Peter and then conferred on other bishops as a mark of honor. By gradually manipulating the use of and supporting a certain understanding of this customary gift, the popes exercised control over key bishops and subordinated them more effectively to the Roman church. In addition to these areas, I enjoy studying the medieval Latin language and the manuscripts that transmit it. Currently I am working on a critical edition of the Collectio Britannica, an important collection of canon law from the turn of the twelfth century. Geographically and chronologically, my interests tend to focus on the Empire in the central Middle Ages (c. 800-c. 1200).


Publications and Media Placements


  • Bonds of Wool: The Pallium and Papal Power in the Middle Ages. Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Canon Law 15. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2016.

Essays in Edited Volumes

  • "The Livery of Loyalty: Innocent II and the Pallium." In Pope Innocent II (1130-43): The World vs. the City, edited by John Doran and Damian J. Smith, 311-325. Church, Faith and Culture in the Medieval West. London: Routledge, 2016.
  • "The Palliated Suffragan." In ​​Proceedings of the ​Fourteenth International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, edited by Joseph Goering, Stephan Dusil, and Andreas Thier, 837-848. Monumenta Iuris Canonici, ser. C: Subsidia, 15. Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2016.
  • “Withholding the Pallium as a Tool of the Reform.” In Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, edited by Peter Erdö and Sz. Anzelm Szuromi, 577-588. Monumenta Iuris Canonici, ser. C: Subsidia, 14. Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2010.  

Honors and Awards

  • Mellon Faculty Development Award, 2016
  • Mellon Faculty Development Award, 2015
  • Alpha Sigma Nu (honor society of Jesuit colleges and universities)
  • Eta Sigma Phi (honorary society for classical studies)
  • Brebner Travel Award, Columbia University, 2008
  • Richard Hofstadter Fellowship, Columbia University, 2002-2005
  • Joseph F. O'Callaghan Prize in Medieval Studies, Fordham University, 1997-1998
  • Outstanding Student of New Testament Greek, American Bible Society, 1991