Henriette von Harnier

Doctoral Candidate

Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
Research Associate in Research Group Structures of Dependency in the Late Antique and Early Medieval Western Church2
Room: 3.022
Niebuhrstraße 5
D-53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 228 73 62577
henriette.vonharnier@uni-bonn.de

Henriette von Harnier.jpg
© Barbara Frommann

Academic Profile

The Role of Women in the Penitential System of the Late Antique and Early Medieval
Church.

My PhD project focusses on the role of women in the late antique and early medieval Church's system of penance and ecclesiastical judiciary, drawing on Irish, Frankish and Anglo-Saxon penitentials as primary sources as well as on church and secular law collections, sermons and hagiography.
The aim of this project is to understand how women fitted into the penitential system and how this dependency has changed in the different groups of penitential books over the centuries. This is based on the assumption that women were already dependent on their male relatives.
I thus understand dependency primarily as the asymmetrical relationship between women and their legal guardians or Church representatives. The asymmetrical relationships were supported by normative orders, for example the penitential rules, which were accepted by and enforced with the help of the surrounding societies. Stepping outside or acting against these norm sys- tems would have meant the social death of women which in pre-modern societies often equalled the actual physical death or at least enslavement. Consequently, the focus is on struc- tural inequality in the late antique and early medieval Church and the hypothesis that women were only in theory subject to the theological principle of equality before God and Christ whilst in practice they assumed a subordinate role within the Church.

Since 2020
PhD studies in Church History, Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, University of Bonn, Germany

2018–2020
Teaching Degree (M.A.): Protestant Theology, Spanish, Educational Sciences, University of Bonn,

2015–2018
Teaching Degree (B.A.): Protestant Theology, Spanish, Educational Sciences, University of Bonn,

2013–2015
Spanish Studies and Art History, University of Bonn

since 2020
Research Associate in Research Group Structures of Dependency in the Late Antique and Early Medieval Western Church, University of Bonn

2018–2020
Student Assistant, Department of Church History, Faculty of Protestant Theology, University of Bonn

2019
Tutor in Latin Language, Faculty of Protestant Theology, University of Bonn

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