Treasure in Heaven

medieval network

Treasure in heaven, treasures on Earth: the secular world and material consumption in Western European monasticism c.1050 - c. 1250

21-23rd September 2016, Hatfield College, Durham University

Abstracts are invited for a conference entitled ‘Treasure in heaven, treasures on Earth: the secular world and material consumption in Western European monasticism c.1050 - c. 1250’ to be held 21-23rd September 2016 at the University of Durham. All are encouraged to submit, from graduate students to established staff, and from all disciplines.

This conference will explore ideas of monastic practice and rhetoric towards the social and material world, both within and outside the cloister. Both individual monks and their communities engaged with the secular world, whether driven by necessity or by their own impetus, despite the perceived dangers of interactions with lay society and their values. This period saw the unprecedented amassing of material wealth by monastic communities, closer interaction with lay society alongside increasing divisions in the interpretation of St. Benedict’s Rule, especially in the sphere of wealth and its appropriate use. How monks endeavoured to maintain their adherence to monastic expectations in this new atmosphere is the chief concern of this conference. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

· Monastic dealings with money, offering, usury and communal wealth.
· Monks as landlords and secular lords.
· The rule of St. Benedict and the practicalities of life in the medieval monastery.
· Monks as builders and patrons of construction.
· Monks and their relationships with women and the secular social hierarchy.
· Monks and earthly goods.
· Monastic theological approaches to the relationship between the monk and the world.

Transcending disciplinary boundaries, this conference aims to bring together scholars working on all aspects of monastic life and thought in order to examine the various ways that monks in Western Europe from the mid-eleventh to the mid-thirteenth century approached and interacted with the world around them. Papers are encouraged which deal with all areas of medieval western Europe, including Scandinavia.

Prospective speakers are invited to submit abstracts of 200-300 words for 20 minute papers. Submissions should include name, affiliation, and contact details. The deadline for submissions is: 1st June 2016.

Subsidies will be available for postgraduate delegates. For more information about the conference, to join the conference mailing list or to submit an abstract, please email the committee at:

Organizing committee: Stephanie Britton and Rosalind Green.


Oxford Medieval Studies