Professor James Brundage

Contact Details



When and where did you initially develop an interest in the history of the crusades and/or the Latin East?

While I was in graduate school finishing a dissertation on something entirely different

Who or what sparked your enthusiasm for the subject?

Reading the first volume of Runciman’s History of the Crusades.


Please provide details of your Higher Education, including dates, institution(s) and the name(s) of your research supervisors.

  • BA, University of Nebraska 1950
  • MA, University of Nebraska 1951 (Edgar N Johnson supervised my thesis on Henry of Livonia)
  • PhD, Fordham University 1955 (Jeremiah F O’Sullivan supervised my dissertation on the account books of Whalley Abbey)

Career History

Please provide details of your academic career history, including confirmation of your current institutional affiliation and contact details.

  • Instructor, Fordham University, 1953-1957
  • Assistant Professor to Professor and chairman of Department, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1957-1989
  • Ahmanson-Murphy Distinguished Professor of History and Law, University of Kansas, 1989-2000; emeritus professor since 2000

Influences and Methodologies

What ideas and/or methodologies have informed your approach to your research?

I confess to being an unrepentant empiricist, old-fashioned as that may be. I choose research topics simply because they raise what strike me as interesting questions to which I cannot find satisfactory answers in the available literature. As often as not the questions change and new ones emerge as my research goes along. Sometimes the new questions lead me to a whole new line of research. Thus, for example, reading crusade narratives for my Documentary History led me to wonder how it was possible to keep crusading armies in being, once the initial participants’ initial enthusiasm began to wane as they encountered the hazards and difficulties of the journey. That led to a series of articles and ultimately a book on medieval canon law and crusading. That research in turn made me curious about the ways in which canonists dealt with the marital problems and sexual peccadilloes that accompanied crusading. That led to another series of articles and eventually a book about canon law on sex and marriage. Reading all those canonists made me curious about the people who wrote those books and glosses and how they came to think the way they did. The result has been another series of articles and the current book.

Research Outlook

What do you consider to be the most important avenues for future research in the field of crusader studies?

A tough question, especially since my own research over the past thirty years has turned in other directions. The short and not very helpful answer is that it depends on the researcher’s skills, interests, and curiosity. Especially curiosity. Research is really fun if it’s about something the puzzles you; habit-forming, too, come to that. Still here are a half-dozen ideas that come to mind:

More could be done I’m reasonably sure with the marital and family consequences (short term and long term) of taking the cross. Marital separations and annulments might be a good place to start.

Jonathan Riley-Smith and others have made a splendid beginning at unravelling the ways in which the process of crusade recruiting worked, but a lot more, I suspect, remains to be done in that area.

The theological basis for crusading seems to me still an under-researched area. Themes such as the idea of crusaders as martyrs, the moral consequences of the bloodshed  (both guilt and pollution) that accompanied crusading, and similar issues could use further investigation.

Likewise the liturgy of crusading, I suspect, could use further investigation. A little has been done on this recently, but it’s only a beginning.

It would be interesting to know more about schools in the Latin East and also about people from the Latin States who went back to the West for further education. William of Tyre obviously did, but surely there may have been others. What can be found out about them? What did they do when they returned to the East (assuming of course that they did). Similarly, would it be possible to discover what libraries existed in the Latin East, what kinds of books they contained, and where they were written? I don’t know, but I would be fascinated to learn something more about this, at least if the information can be teased out of the sources.

What can we find out about the ecclesiastical courts in the Latin Kingdom? None of their internal records (act books, court registers, and the like) is known to survive, but would it be possible to discover something about them from documents that deal with appeals from their judgments? An interesting question to which I don’t know the answer.

Research Output

Please provide details of your research output, including publications and other media as appropriate.

Selected publications related to crusader studies


  • “Voluntary Martyrs and Canon Law: The Case of the First Crusaders.” Cristianesimo nella storia 27 (2006) 143-160.
  • “Latin Christianity, the Crusades, and the Islamic Response.” In Religious Foundations of Western Civilization: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, ed Jacob Neusner. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006. pp 267-304.


  • “Crusades, Clerics and Violence: Reflections on a Canonical Theme.” In The Experience of Crusading, vol 1: Western Approaches. Ed Marcus Bull and Norman Housley. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. pp 147-156.


  • “Crusaders and Jurists:  The Legal Consequences of Crusader Status.”  In Le concile de Clermont de 1095 et l’appel à la croisade.  Collection de l’École française de Rome, vol 236.  Rome:  École française de Rome, 1997.  pp 141-154.
  • “Immortalizing the Crusades:  Law and Institutions.”  In Montjoie:  Studies in Crusade History in Honour of Hans Eberhard Mayer.  Ed Benjamin Z Kedar, Jonathan Riley-Smith, and Rudolf Hiestand.   Aldershot:  Variorum, 1997.  pp 251-260


  • “The Lawyers of the Military Orders.”  In The Military Orders:  Fighting for the Faith and Caring for the Sick.  Ed Malcom Barber (London:  Variorum, 1994), pp 346-357


  • “Latin Jurists in the Levant:  The Legal Elite of the Crusader States.”  In Crusaders and Muslims in Twelfth-Century Syria.  Ed Maya Shatzmiller.  Leiden:  EJ Brill, 1993, pp 18-42


  • “Saint Bernard and the Jurists.”  In The Second Crusade and the Cistercians.  Ed Michael Gervers.  New York:  St Martin’s Press, 1992, pp 25-33
  • “Humbert of Romans and the Legitimacy of Crusader Conquests.”  In The Horns of Hattin.  Ed BZ Kedar.  Jerusalem:  Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Institute; London:  Variorum, 1992, pp 302-313


  • The Crusades, Holy War and Canon Law.  London:  Variorum, 1991.  xi, 300 pp


  • “Pennsylvania’s Crusades:  A Review Article.”  Medievalia et Humanistica, ns, 16 (1988) 195-199


  • “The Limits of the War-Making Power:  The Contribution of the Medieval Canonists.”  In Peace in a Nuclear Age:  The Bishops’ Pastoral Letter in Perspective.  Ed Charles J Reid, Jr   Washington, DC:  Catholic University of America Press, 1986, pp 69-85


  • “Prostitution, Miscegenation, and Sexual Purity in the First Crusade.”  In Crusade and Settlement.  Ed Peter W Edbury.  Cardiff:  University College Cardiff Press, 1985, pp 57-65


  • “Anselm, Ivo of Chartres, and the Ideology of the First Crusade.”  In Les mutations socio-culturelles au tournant des XIe-XIIe siècles:  Études Anselmiennes.  Ed Raymonde Foreville.  Paris:  Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1984, pp 175-187, 197-200


  • “Marriage Law in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem.”  In Outremer—Studies in the History of the Crusading Kingdom of Jerusalem Presented to Joshua Prawer.  Ed Benjamin Z Kedar, Hans Eberhard Mayer, and RC Smail.  Jerusalem:  Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Institute, 1982, pp 258-271


  • “Prostitution in Medieval Canon Law.”  Signs 1 (1976) 825-845
  • “Holy War and the Medieval Lawyers.”  In The Holy War.  Ed Thomas Patrick Murphy.  Columbus:  Ohio State University Press, 1976, pp 99-140
  • “Richard the Lion-Heart and Byzantium.”  Studies in Medieval Culture 6/7 (1976) 63-70


  • Richard Lion-Heart:  A Biography.  New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974.  278 pp


  • “The Thirteenth Century Livonian Crusade:  Henricus de Lettis and the First Legatine Mission of Bishop William of Modena.”  Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, ns 20 (1972) 1-9


  • “The Army of the First Crusade and the Crusade Vow.”  Mediæval Studies 33 (1971) 334-343
  • “The Creative Canonist:  His Role in Church Reform.”  The Jurist 31 (1971) 301-318
  • “Some Canonistic Quæstiones in Barcelona.”  Manuscripta 15 (1971) 67-76
  • “The Transformed Angel (X 3.31.18):  The Problem of the Crusading Monk.”  In Studies in Medieval Cistercian History Presented to Jeremiah F O’Sullivan.  Spencer, MA:  Cistercian Publications, 1971, pp 55-62


  • Medieval Canon Law and the Crusader.  Madison:  University of Wisconsin Press, 1969.  244 pp


  • “The Votive Obligations of Crusaders:  The Development of a Canonistic Doctrine.”  Traditio 24 (1968) 77-118


  • “The Crusader’s Wife:  A Canonistic Quandary.”  Studia Gratiana 12 (1967) 425-442
  • “The Crusader’s Wife Revisited.”  Studia Gratiana 14 (1967) 241-252


  • “A Note on the Attestation of Crusaders’ Vows.”  Catholic Historical Review 52 (1966) 234-239
  • “‘Cruce signari’:  The Rite for Taking the Cross in England.”  Traditio 22 (1966) 289-310


  • The Crusades:  Motives and Achievements.  Problems in European Civilization.  Boston:  DC Heath, 1964.  xiv, 89 pp


  • “Recent Crusade Historiography:  Some Observations and Suggestions.”  Catholic Historical Review 49 (1964) 393-507


  • “The Crusade of Richard I:  Two Canonical Quæstiones.”  Speculum 38 (1963) 443-452


  • The Crusades:  A Documentary Survey.  Milwaukee:  Marquette University Press, 1962.  318 pp


  • “A Twelfth-Century Oxford Disputation Concerning the Privileges of the Knights Hospitallers.”  Mediæval Studies 24 (1962) 153-160


  • The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia.  Madison:  University of Wisconsin Press, 1961.  262 pp


  • “An Errant Crusader:  Stephen of Blois.”  Traditio 16 (1960) 380-395
  • “Widukind of Corvey and the ‘Non-Roman’ Imperial Idea.”  Mediæval Studies 22(1960) 15-26


  • “Adhémar of Puy:  The Bishop and His Critics.”  Speculum 34 (1959) 201-212