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Wolfgang P. Mueller

Wolfgang Mueller

Professor of History
Office: Dealy Hall 622
Phone: 718-817-3943


Dr. phil. habil. in Medieval History: University of Augsburg, Germany, 1998

PhD in Medieval/Early Modern History: Syracuse University, 1991

MA in Medieval/Early Modern History: University of Munich, Germany, 1986

Research Interests

In Early Medieval Western Europe (ca. 550-1100), law did not exist.  To come into existence, legal experts and professional law schools were needed which did not appear until the 12th century.  My research interests revolve around these developments.  Which forces in society made law (as opposed to norms) obsolete first and then so indispensable?

I study in particular medieval church law which played a pioneering and leading role in defining law as a distinct category of norms, aimed at uniformity and internal coherence.  In my monograph on Huguccio, The Life, Works, and Thought of a Twelfth-Century Jurist (1994), I have investigated one of the earliest and foremost synthesizers of ecclesiastical jurisprudence.  Subsequently, questions of enforcement came into my view.  I explored them on the criminal side in a book on The Criminalization of Abortion: Its Origins in Medieval Law (2012), and from the perspective of civil jurisdictions, in Marriage Litigation in the Western Church, 1215-1517 (2021).

My scholarship is driven by a fascination with original documentation from the Middle Ages.  This is expressed in my editorial activities concerning, for example, the Repertorium Poenitentiariae Germanicum, which catalogues petitions for papal pardon by fifteenth-century Germans.  I co-produced volumes 3 (2001), 5 (2002), and 7 (2008).  More recently, I have teamed up with one of my fellow-historians at Fordham, Dr Nicholas Paul, to edit and translate (from the Latin) an account on the twelfth-century transfer of a holy relic from the Latin East to Western Europe, How the Holy Cross Came from Antioch to Brogne. It is scheduled to appear shortly with Boydell Press.

Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses

HIST 3203 The Medieval Family

HIST 3204 Sex & Celibacy in the Middle Ages

HIST 3205 Medieval Medicine

HIST 3207 Late Medieval Religion & Society

HIST 3211 Sin, Sinners & Outcasts

Graduate Courses:

HIST 6130 Medieval Religious Movements

HIST 6132 Medieval Law & the Family

HIST 6135 Early Medieval Conflict & Peace-Making

HIST 6136 Disease in the Middle Ages

HIST 7110 / HIST 8110 Church Law & Medieval Society

Curriculum Vitae