Original Research

Middeleeuse Studies, Mediëvalistiek en Mediëvalisme: Kritiese onderskeide en samehange

Johann Beukes
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 1 | a2236 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i1.2236 | © 2021 Johann Beukes | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 March 2021 | Published: 28 June 2021

About the author(s)

Johann Beukes, Department of Philosophy and Classics, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


Medieval Studies, Medievalist Studies and Medievalism: Critical distinctions and intersections. The aim of this article is to clarify Medievalism (Mediëvalisme) as a research challenge in Medieval Studies, thereby contributing to the discipline’s methodological and contemporary-discursive development. In conjunction with the author’s recent analyses of three subject-internal problems in Medieval philosophy ([1]the calibration of periodisation; [2] latent Orientalism and the subsequent problem of ‘two registers’ [‘East’ and ‘West’]; as well as [3] the problem of the ‘canon’), Medievalism is presented as the idea-historical postulation of a Medieval ‘Other’ with the subtle intent to alleviate the notion of some contemporaneous ‘Self’; in other words, Medievalism points toward the apparent spontaneous acceptance of a disparity between a superior post-Medieval Self and an inferior Medieval Other. This includes the essentialising of a single aspect, or contingent aspects, of the Medieval Other, which results in conjectures of deeply caricaturised and quasi-comprehensive views of the Middle Ages. Medievalist Studies (translated for the sake of clarity, as Mediëvalistiek in Afrikaans to circumvent the curious and confusing overlapping of the terms ‘Medievalist Studies’ and ‘Medievalism’ in English), the discipline that studies the post-Medieval reception of the Middle Ages (in whatever form or genre), is presented as a legitimate supplementary tool for exposing Medievalism, particularly in non-specialised contexts. The article henceforth argues for the systematic employment of Mediëvalistiek in its countering of Mediëvalisme as an effective supplementary resource in Medieval Studies – especially within the context of the contemporary Neoconservative reception of the Middle Ages.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: Dealing with a millennium-long variety of discourses, Medieval Studies functions in a Venn-diagrammatical relationship with Medieval philosophy, Medieval history, church history, patristics, philosophy of religion and sociology of religion. Whenever these proximate disciplines are impacted by specialist Medieval research, it may well have noteworthy implications. Such is the case in this critical distinction between and clarification of the intersections between Medieval Studies, Mediëvalisme (Medievalism) and Mediëvalistiek (Medievalist Studies).


Methodology in Medieval scholarship; Medieval Studies; Medievalism, Medievalist Studies; Mediëvalisme; Mediëvalistiek; Neoconservatism; Neomedievalism


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