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Steven A. Schoenig, S.J., Ph.D.

Associate Professor; Associate Chair
Department of History

Courses Taught

Undergraduate: Origins of the Modern World to 1500; A Medieval Murder Mystery: The World of AD 1327; From Barbarians to Crusaders: The Early Middle Ages; Medieval Popes and Papacy; Death, the Afterlife, and the End of the World in Medieval Life and Thought; Graduate: Introduction to Medieval History; The Carolingian and Ottonian Worlds; The Long Tenth Century; Topics in Medieval Canon Law; Medieval Diplomatics; Medieval Eschatology and Apocalypticism; The Medieval Papacy; Religious Life in the Middle Ages; Reform and Revolution in the Central Middle Ages (two-semester sequence); The Papacy and the Law (two-semester sequence)


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

Practice Areas

Doctoral Students

  • Brian J. Merlo
  • Benjamin J. Wand
  • Kenan Nerad
  • Dillon R. Knackstedt
  • Abner E. Chacon
  • Mattheis Lorimor

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
  • “Diego Gelmírez, the Polycarpusand the Pallium.” In Proceedings of the Fifteenth International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, edited by Florence Demoulin-Auzary, Nicolas Laurent-Bonne, and Franck Roumy, 409–420.  Monumenta Iuris Canonici, ser. C: Subsidia, 16.  Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2022.
  • “The Pope and the Patriarchs: The Fifth Constitution of Lateran IV.” In The Fourth Lateran Council and the Development of Canon Law and the ius commune, edited by Atria A. Larson and Andrea Massironi, 89–109.  Ecclesia Militans: Histoire des Hommes et des Institutions de l’Église au Moyen Âge 7.  Turnhout: Brepols, 2018.
  • “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.
  • “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.
  • “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

  • 2020 John Nicholas Brown Prize (awarded by the Medieval Academy of America for a first book on a medieval subject)
  • 1997–1998 Joseph F. O’Callaghan Prize in Medieval Studies (awarded by Fordham University)

Professional Organizations and Associations

  • American Catholic Historical Association
  • American Historical Association
  • EPISCOPUS (Society for the Study of Episcopal Power and Culture in the Middle Ages)
  • Iuris Canonici Medii Aevi Consociatio (International Society of Medieval Canon Law)
  • Medieval Academy of America

Community Work and Service

  • Jesuit priest
  • Rector, Bellarmine House of Studies