Eric Knibbs

Eric Knibbs

Fall 2018 Class Hours

Tue/Fri – 1:10 pm to 2:25 pm

Fall 2018 Office Hours



Eric Knibbs is a historian of the Middle Ages, with particular interest in early medieval canon law and the phenomenon of medieval forgery. He received his Ph.D. from Yale in 2009, and has done postdoctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. He is the author of Ansgar, Rimbert and the Forged Foundations of Hamburg-Bremen (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), which argues that most of the early documentation for the archdiocese of Hamburg-Bremen, a fixture of German historical scholarship that has long been viewed as fundamental for the history of Christianity in Scandinavia, is either forged or falsified. In fact the archdiocese emerged much later than scholarship has assumed, and our understanding of Frankish expansion and missionary history during the reign of Louis the Pious (814–840) has been accordingly distorted.

His current research focuses on the extensive and notoriously difficult legal forgeries associated with Pseudo-Isidore. Concocted in the ninth century, the fake laws of Pseudo-Isidore remained undetected until the early modern period, and exercised incalculable influence on the legal tradition of Roman Christianity. By studying the sources of the forgeries, their early manuscript tradition and the broader political and religious context in which they emerged, he hopes to shed new light on the identity of the forgers, the context of their work, and their enormous significance for early medieval history.

Selected Publications


Amalar: Liber Officialis/On the Liturgy, English translation, facing-page Latin edition, with notes, introduction and index. Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 35 and 36 (Harvard University Press, 2014), 2 vols, 1231pp.

Alcuini Eboracensis: De fide sanctae Trinitatis et de incarnatione Christi libri tres. Latin edition with introduction and critical apparatus; together with Prof. E. Ann Matter of the University of Pennsylvania. (Turnhout: Brepols, 2012). 250pp.

Ansgar, Rimbert and the Forged Foundations of Hamburg-Bremen (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011). 270pp.

El cartulario del monasterio aragonés de San Andrés de Fanlo: Siglos X-XIII.  Latin edition with introduction and notes; together with Prof. Carlos Laliena Corbera of the University of Zaragoza (Zaragoza: Universidad de Zaragoza, 2007). 255 pp.


“Pseudo-Isidore in the A1 Recension,” in Karl Ubl and Daniel Ziemann, eds. Fälschung als Mittel der Politik? Pseudoisidor im Licht der neuen Forschung (Hannover, 2015), 81–95.

“The Interpolated Hispana and the Origins of Pseudo-Isidore,” Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte: Kanonistische Abteilung 99 (2013), 1–71.

“Pseudo-Isidore at the Field of Lies: Divinis praeceptis (JE †2579) as an Authentic Decretal,” Bulletin of Medieval Canon Law n.s. 29 (2011/2012), 1–34.

“The Manuscript Evidence for the De octo quaestionibus Ascribed to Bede,” Traditio 63 (2008), 129–83.

Theses Advised

Laura E. Berman, ’15Henry VI and the Fall of the Lancastrians

AJ Solovy, ’15In Search of the Extraordinary: Defendant Psychology at the 1947-1948 Einsatzgruppen Trial

Philip von Hahn, ’15Charlemagne and the Politics of Biography in the Ninth Century

Hannah Kaemmer, ’13Hall Overhaul:  The English Gentry and Their Great Halls at the Turn of the Sixteenth Century