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Prof. Dr. Andreas Thier
Universität Zürich
Rämistrasse 74/11
CH-8001 Zürich

E-Mail: fhi@rwi.uzh.ch

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PhD position: Re-Inventing Canon Law: Teaching the Decretals After Trent

17. Dezember 2019

Full-time PhD position at KU Leuven, Division for Roman Law and Legal History

Apply before: Saturday, February 15, 2020

This PhD position is part of the interdisciplinary research project “Innovation through Education: Pioneering Change in Law and Theology in Louvain’s Golden Age”. The project is led by an interdisciplinary team of KU Leuven researchers consisting of LECTIO members Prof Wim Decock (Roman Law and Legal History, spokesperson), Prof Wouter Druwé (Roman Law and Legal History), Prof Randall Lesaffer (Roman Law and Legal History), Dr An Smets (KU Leuven Libraries) and Prof Violet Soen (Early Modern History), with the support of Prof Mark Depauw (Ancient History/Digital Humanities), Prof Wim François (History of Church and Theology) and Prof Jan Papy (Latin Literature). The successful candidate will be affiliated to the Department of Roman Law and Legal History at KU Leuven's Faculty of Law (https://www.law.kuleuven.be/romrecht/engels). For more information about LECTIO, please visit http://lectio.ghum.kuleuven.be/. 

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As of the sixteenth century, the Reformation led to the breakdown of the unified medieval Christian world and the beginning of prolonged religious wars. This religious strife also transformed the discipline of law. Protestants fundamentally questioned the jurisdictional authority of the Pope and that of the clergy. The Catholic Church tried to find answers to these challenges at the Council of Trent (1545-1563). The Tridentinum brought about a fundamental reform of canon law, a reform that met important opposition, not least by some canon lawyers who emphasized the importance of local customary practices. The reforms of the Council of Trent also led to changes in canonical science and in the educational program in canon law. This Ph.D. project focusses on the impact of the Tridentine decrees regarding the reform of the clergy, the institutional Church and ecclesiastical jurisdiction on the canonical thought of two major canon law scholars from the Low Countries in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, namely Petrus Peckius and Andreas Vallensis. Both of them were part of a wide European network of scholars; their works have been read and reprinted many times. The research will be based on an analysis of both printed works and hitherto unexamined manuscript student notes of Peckius’ and Vallensis’ lectures. Important emphasis will be placed on the role of those two authors within the wider international debates on the development of the post-Tridentine canon law scholarship.

This vacancy is part of the large-scale project "Innovation through Education. Pioneering Change in Law and Theology during Leuven's Golden Age”, which will be conducted by 5 PhD students and their supervisors in the Faculties of Arts, Law and Theology. It investigates how Louvain professors in law and theology during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries adapted the content and methods of their teaching to the changing needs of society, in order to prepare the future elites for tackling the religious, political and economic challenges of their time. The source material consists of student notes that will be compared with printed material such as treatises and textbooks of the professors involved.


• You have a master's degree in canon law, (civil) law, history, Latin language and literature or equivalent, with very good or excellent results. Students who will obtain their master’s degree in 2020 are also warmly invited to apply.

• You have an interest in the history of canon law and in the history of Church-State relationships.

• You have good Latin skills or are willing to brush them up within a short period of time (as almost all primary sources will be in Latin).

• You have good paleographic skills or are willing to acquire them. Courses, support and coaching to further develop those skills will be offered.

• You are fluent in English (both orally and in writing). Passive reading skills in Italian and French are highly recommended. Knowledge of German and Spanish is an asset.

• You are prepared to carry out library and archive research in Belgium and abroad.

• You are good at dealing with deadlines.

• You are communicative, creative, cooperative and open to interdisciplinary research, given the team-based character of the project.

• You will be present at your office in Leuven several days a week.


The net amount of the scholarship will be approx. 2000 euro/month, depending on age, professional experience and family status; in addition, the fellowship provides for social and health benefits, office space and a benchfee for research expenses.

Subject to positive evaluation after the first year and the second year, the scholarship has a total duration of 48 months (1+1+2).

The start date of the doctoral position is negotiable, but should not be later than 1 September 2020.

KU Leuven offers a wide variety of courses for PhD candidates, a minimum of which must be followed as part of the compulsory doctoral training program, the specific content of which may vary from one faculty to another.

The PhD candidates will benefit from a unique experience in an interdisciplinary environment with junior and senior experts in the fields of book history, digital humanities, history of law, history of church and theology, early modern history, religious history, and philology.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Wouter Druwé, tel.: +32 16 32 98 13, mail: wouter.druwe@kuleuven.be or Prof. dr. Wim Decock, tel.: +32 16 32 52 39, mail: wim.decock@kuleuven.be.

You can apply for this job no later than February 15, 2020 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

Link to job offer on KU Leuven Jobsite

(ref. BAP-2019-781)