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Professor (High Medieval History) in the Department of History+44 (0) 191 33 46570
Deputy Executive Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities 
Member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies+44 (0) 191 33 46570


Giles Gasper is Professor in High Medieval History at Durham University. He specializes in the intellectual history of the high middle ages (11th-13th centuries), particularly in the development of theology. He also has interests in Patristic and early medieval thought, and in the history of science. He is principal investigator on the inter-disciplinary Ordered Universe project to edit, translate and contextualise the scientific works of Robert Grosseteste (c.1170-1253), working with an international team of scientists, educationalists and medievalists. The Dimensions of Colour: Robert Grosseteste's De colore (2013) emerged from the pilot project for Ordered Universe. Subsequent volumes will be published by Oxford University Press in a seven volume series The Scientific Works of Robert Grosseteste. The Ordered Universe has active collaborations with a variety of creative artists, namely Cate Watkinson, Colin Rennie and other glass artists at the UK National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland, Sculptor Alexandra Carr, Filmmaker Alan Fentiman and Projection Artists Ross Ashton and Karen Monid. Carr and Gasper directed a Leverhulme Trust funded Artist in Residence placement Sculpting with Light, with principal activities in Durham in 2017. Gasper is a regular participant in the UK National Festival of Humanities, represented the Arts and Humanities Research Council at the Cheltenham Science Festival in 2015 (with Hannah Smithson and Tom McLeish), and featured on BBC Radios 4’s In Our Time. Gasper, together with Smithson and McLeish, was awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Research Engagement at the University of Oxford (2016). A second strand of research focuses on notions of ‘economy’ and order in the High Middle Ages. This has focal points on medieval monastic thought, the theology of Creation and hexaemeronic commentary, Salvation theology and medieval food culture. Recent work in this area includes a study of twelfth century culinary recipes for the English Historical Review co-authored with Faith Wallis (McGill), and forthcoming edited volumes on Biblical Exegesis in the Middle Ages, and Spiritual and Material Economies in Northern Europe. Gasper was an international partner in a major inter-disciplinary research project, funded by the Norwegian Research Council, running from the Cultural Historical Museum, University of Oslo, on 'Economies of Salvation in the Middle Ages', 2013-2016 working particularly with numismatists, liturgists and archaeologists. Money and the Church in Medieval Europe, 1000-1200 (co-ed. with S. Gullbekk, 2015) was produced from this project. Gasper has written extensively on Anselm of Canterbury, including St Anselm of Canterbury and His Legacy (2012) and his earlier Anselm of Canterbury and His Theological Inheritance (2004) and papers on various aspects of Anselm’s thought, career and posthumous reputation.

Giles Gasper welcomes inquiries from postgraduates in any aspect of intellectual or cultural history of the 11th-13th centuries, especially the development of theology, monastic life, spiritual and material culture, and the history of science.

Giles has sponsored a number of Visiting Fellows to Durham:

2017 Department of History: Professor Nader El-Bizri, American University of Beirut

2017 Institute of Advanced Study Fellowship: Professor Hannah Smithson, Department of Experimental Psychology and Pembroke College, University of Oxford

2015 Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Slater Fellowship: Professor Faith Wallis, Departments of History and Social Studies of Medicine, McGill Univesity, Montreal, Canada

2012 Institute of Advanaced Study, Senior Research Fellowship: Professor Greti Dinkova-Bruun, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, Canada.

Research interests

  • History of Theology
  • Medieval intellectual history
  • Monastic Life
  • Spiritual and Material Culture of the High Middle Ages
  • Medieval Science

Esteem Indicators

  • 2018: University Impact and Engagement Award: Arts and Humanites Faculty:
  • 2017: Doctor of the University, Honoris causa, Bishop Grosseteste University: For services to medieval history and leadership of the Ordered Universe project
  • 2016: Associate Fellow, Pembroke College, University of Oxford (until 2019):
  • 2016: University of Oxford Vice-Chancellor's Award for Engagement with Research:
  • 2014: Times Higher Education Awards: Research Project of the Year (Shortlisted): The Ordered Universe
  • 2013: University Award for Excellence in Doctoral Supervision:
  • 2012: University Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching:
  • 2009: University Award for Enhancing the Student Learning Experience:


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Supervision students