Jörg Sonntag

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Jörg Sonntag
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Born1977 (age 46–47)
Erlabrunn, Saxony
OccupationGerman Historian

Joerg (Jörg) Sonntag (born 1977 in Erlabrunn, Saxony)[1] is a German historian of medieval history.


Sonntag studied Medieval History, Saxon Regional History and Protestant Theology at the TU Dresden and Eastern Church History at the University of Marburg from 1997 to 2002.[2]

After receiving a doctoral scholarship from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, he completed his doctorate in medieval history at Dresden in 2007 with a dissertation on the monastic ritual world of the high Middle Ages, for which he was awarded the Faculty Prize. From 2009 to 2012, he worked at the Research Center for the Comparative History of Religious Orders (FOVOG), first at the Catholic University of Eichstätt, then at Dresden.[2] In 2012, he was a George William Cottrell-Member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (New Jersey, USA).[3] Since 2013, he has been a research associate and, since 2021, a working group leader in the project “Monasteries in the High Middle Ages: Innovation Laboratories of European Life Designs and Models of Order” of the Saxon Academy and the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences.[4][5][6] From 2014 to 2021 he was head researcher and spokesperson of the international DFG Scientific Network: "Imitation. Mechanisms of a Cultural Principle in the Middle Ages".[2]

Sonntag completed his habilitation in 2021 with a cultural-historical thesis on “Playing God in the Middle Ages.” In the same year, he was appointed a private lecturer (Privatdozent) in Medieval History at the TU Dresden and was elected as a member of the Young Forum of the Saxon Academy of Sciences.[7]

In the summer semester of 2022, he was a professor of Medieval History at the University of Regensburg.[8]


Sonntag focuses on medieval cultural studies. He has studied the comparative history of religious orders, including models, rituals and forms of symbolization as well as the cultural functions of games, of imitations, and of hair in medieval times.

Symbols and Monasteries

In his book Klosterleben im Spiegel des Zeichenhaften (Monastic Life in the Mirror of the Symbolic), Sonntag applied the case-study of the traditional Benedictine communities and the Cistercians to investigate the following aspects of monastic life: monastic vows, hierarchical structures, meal communion, foot washing, care of the sick and the dying, guest services, and travel.[9][10]

Games in Medieval Times

In Religiosus ludens, Sonntag was one of the first scholars to study the roles of games in medieval monasteries.[11][12]

The Rule Commentary of Pontigny

Sonntag critically edited a little known commentary on the Rule of Saint Benedict, which originates from Pontigny. Nicole Bériou wrote the preface to the edition. This work is acutally an extensive collection of sermons.[13]

The Williamite and Caulite Orders

Sonntag led the publication of the scientific editions of the statutes of the Williamite Order (1251-1349) and the legal texts of the Caulite Order (1220-1300, the latter with a preface by Phillip Adamo, the grand seigneur of Caulite research). Both scientific editions are provided with a translation.[14]

Hair in History

Sonntag has studied the cultural meaning of human hair in the Middle Ages. He applied a new approach that analyzes the interrelations between the social, political, ethical and religious functions of hair, and reveals the overarching structures of its usage.[15]


  1. "Index entry: Sonntag, Jörg". Deutsche Biographie. Retrieved May 2, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Staff profile". TU Dresden. Retrieved 2023-01-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "Scholar profile". Institute for Advanced Study. Princeton University. 2019-12-09. Retrieved 2022-10-31.
  4. "Monasteries in the High Middle Ages. Laboratories of Innovation for European Designs of Life and Models of Order". TU Dresden. Retrieved 2022-10-31.
  5. "Klöster im Hochmittelalter: Innovationslabore europäischer Lebensentwürfe und Ordnungsmodelle — Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften". www.saw-leipzig.de. Retrieved 2022-10-31.
  6. "Notes and comments". The Catholic Historical Review. 107 (3): 439. 2021.
  7. "Staff profile". Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Retrieved 2022-10-31.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. "Lecture series (full schedule and descriptions)". University of Regensburg. Retrieved 2023-01-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. Judic, Bruno (2010-09-30). "Book review". Mittelalter – Moyen ge (500–1500).
  10. Rüffer, Jens (2010). "Book review". sehepunkte.de. Retrieved 2022-10-31.
  11. Mixson, James D. (2014). "Book review". sehepunkte.de. Retrieved 2023-04-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. Lutterbach, Hubertus (2013). "Book review". Analecta Cisterciensia. 63: 575–577.
  13. Schachenmayr, Alkuin (2017). "Book review". Analecta Cisterciensia. 67: 367–368.
  14. Eberl, Immo (2021). "Book review". Rottenburger Jahrbuch für Kirchengeschichte. 40: 242–243.
  15. Sonntag, Jörg (2021). "Von langen Bärten und geschorenen Köpfen: das kulturelle Potenzial des menschlichen Haares im Frühmittelalter". Mittelalter: Interdisziplinäre Forschung und Rezeptionsgeschichte. 4: 77–102.

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