Michael Monheit retired from the University of South Alabama on June 1, 2014
B.A., University of California at Berkeley
M.A., Princeton University
Ph.D. Princeton UniversitySee More
Michael L. Monheit, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.C., a stone’s throw from the Brooklyn Dodgers home, Ebbets Field. He was raised there and in Queens, N.Y.C. He was very active in the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as in the Nuclear Freeze movement of the 1980s. He taught in the History Department at South for 23 years, from 1991 to 2014, where he taught courses on religious reform in the Reformation era, and major European intellectual leaders at the undergraduate and graduate levels, Renaissance Europe at the graduate level, Witchcraft and Magic in Medieval and Early Modern Europe and Western Civilization I at the undergraduate level. Before coming to the University, he taught writing courses, focusing on aspects of American history, at Michigan State University. He received his B.A. in History from the University of California, Berkeley (1976), his M.A. (1981) and Ph.D.(1988) in History from Princeton University.
His research interests include the formative years of the Protestant Reformer Jean Calvin, Eucharistic conflicts in the early Reformation, scriptural and legal interpretation in the Renaissance and early Reformation, the emotional dimension in history. He remains an active researcher. His current focus is on the attitudes of religious reformers to participation in Catholic rituals. Focusing on participation in the Catholic Mass, he has presented papers in the last three years on three religious leaders who expressed different attitudes on this issue:
Gérard Roussel, a reformer who remained within the Catholic Church, became a bishop and abbot, and was ultimately murdered in the pulpit.
Jean Calvin, the most important leader in Reformed Protestantism, who not only broke with the Church, but denounced those who attended Mass and or continued to hold ecclesiastical positions in it.
Martin Bucer, who wrote a long treatise advocating such participation as a means to winning followers within the Church.
In this research, he delves into their different understandings of the relationship between religious belief and ritual practice. While the subject is quite technical, his research addresses a major flashpoint in the French Wars of Religion (later sixteenth century) and many other violent religious conflicts: the meaning and proper performance of the Lord’s Supper. He plans to publish this research in one or more comparative articles.
He continues to work on his book, Calvin, the Formation of a Religious Sensibility,which will incorporate this and other research on various issues related to Calvin, presented in nineteen conference papers to date.
“Jean Calvin, Martin Bucer and Gérard Roussel on Participation in Catholic Rites [tentative title],” article in
preparation for publication building upon three recent conference papers.
“Word Against Image: A Reconsideration of Calvin's View on the Role of Art in Worship,” in Calvin, Beza and
Later Calvinism: Papers Presented at the 15th Colloquium of the Calvin Studies Society, April 7-9, 2005, ed.
David Foxgrover, 83-108, Grand Rapids, Michigan (Calvin Studies Society) 2006.
Article “Calvin,” (2,000 words) in Europe 1450-1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World, 6 vols., (New
York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004)
Two Articles, “Guillaume Budé” and “Legal Humanism,” in The Encyclopedia of the Renaissance, Paul F.
Grendler, ed., 6 vols., (New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1999)
"Young Calvin, Textual Interpretation and Roman Law," Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance, T. LIX, No. 2,
1997, 263-282, Geneva.
"The Origins of the edictalis-decretalis bonorum possessio Distinction in a Renaissance Defense of Scholastic
Hermeneutics," Quaderni Fiorentini per la Storia del Pensiero Giuridico Moderno (Florentine Studies in the
History of Modern Legal Thought), vol. XXVE 1996, 469-83, Florence.
"Guillaume Budé, Andrea Alciato, Pierre de l'Estoile: Renaissance Interpreters of Roman Law," The Journal of the
History of Ideas, Vol. LVIII, No. 1, Jan. 1997, 21-40, winner of the Selma V. Forkosch Prize for Best Article,
Journal of the History of Ideas, 1997.
"'The Ambition for an Illustrious Name': Humanism, Patronage, and Calvin's Doctrine of the Calling," The
Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. XXIII, No. 2, Summer 1992, pp. 267-87; read at the Sixteenth Century Studies
Conference October 28, 1989, Minneapolis, Minn.
Calvin: The Formation of a Religious Sensibility, 1528-1539 (manuscript in process)