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Lomax Presents at Star-Studded Conference

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


John Phillip Lomax, Professor of History, delivered a paper entitled “Faithless?: Gregory IX and Frederick II , 1227-1241” at a conference in honor Professor Peter Landau of the University of Munich. The conference on the topic of “Church, Law, and Society in the Middle Ages” took place at Millersville University of Pennsylvania on January 29-30, 2010. The conference was sponsored by Millersville University and the Society of Medieval Canon Law.

Professor Landau is a leading historian of medieval law and the head of the Stephen Kuttner Institute of Medieval Canon Law in Munich. His student, Dr. Mary E. Sommar of Millersville University, organized the conference. Many of the top scholars of medieval law from all over the world came to honor Dr. Landau, including Brian Tierney of Cornell University, who is widely regarded as the dean of medieval legal and ecclesiastical historians in North America. Others included Uta-Renate Blumenthal and Kenneth Pennington of the Catholic University of America, Richard Helmholz of the University of Chicago, Anders Winroth of Yale University, and Tatsushi Genka of Tokyo University.

Dr. Lomax’s paper examined the issue of fidelity, both religious and feudal, as it played out in the thirteeth-century conflicts between the papacy and Emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen. Lomax argued that papal and imperial encyclicals and letters show that these adversaries attempted to gain political and military support with appeals based on the canonical, civil, and feudal jurisprudence that dealt with secular and spiritual infidelity. These polemics deployed shocking charges of perjury and a heresy to draw the prelates and princes of western Christendom into the political dance of death that Gregory’s excommunication of Frederick set in motion in 1239.


Dr. Lomax has been a member of the Ohio Northern University faculty since 1988. His research focuses on the church-state conflicts of the high Middle Ages. He teaches Western Civilization, ancient history, medieval history, legal history, and military history at the university. He is a member of the Medieval Academy of America, the American Historical Association, and the Society of Medieval Canon Law.