Research Project: Herrschaft qua Amt oder Charisma? 'Bischofsherrschaft' zwischen Lusitania und Levante im 6. und 7. Jahrhundert
In this project, the phenomenon of episcopal rule will be investigated and compared on a supra-regional level. The term ‘Bischofsherrschaft’ can be used to subsume secular local rule by late antique bishops, which would have been established in response to the new political conditions in post-Roman Gaul. The project aims to determine whether and to what extent the office of bishop during the 'Long Late Antiquity' can be understood as an office of rule and with which modalities and legitimacy the possible rule of the bishop is associated. This will be evaluated primarily by the degree of episcopal authority within social groups and not exclusively by the institutional relationship of the episcopate to a 'central state power'. To ensure this, the project will be based on Max Weber's sociological concept of ‘Herrschaft’ [domination; rule] and will consider the perspective of the ruled. The regional focus is not limited to the Gallic region. Rather, it will be examined whether ‘Bischofsherrschaften’ can also be identified for another post-Roman region of the West, namely for the Iberian Peninsula, or even for the Eastern Roman Empire. Accordingly, four case studies from the West and the East (6th-7th century) are examined and compared in a synopsis of hagiographic, archaeological as well as other literary sources (epigraphy, council acts, letters, etc.) for an episcopal rule.
Kevin Grotherr studied History and ‘Archaeology and Cultural History of the Ancient Mediterranean’ at the University of Hamburg and the Universidad de Salamanca (Spain) from 2015 to 2021. He focused on ancient and medieval history and in particular on the history of early and late antique Christianity. He completed his master’s degree with his thesis “Heilige Bischöfe und bischöfliche Heilige – Eine ‘Bischofsherrschaft’ in Late Antique Augusta Emerita?”, in which he dealt with the representation of episcopal rule in the hagiography of the Visigothic Kingdom. Since 2022, he has been a PhD student in Ancient History at the University of Hamburg as well as a PhD scholarship holder of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. In his PhD project “Herrschaft qua Amt oder Charisma? 'Bischofsherrschaft' zwischen Lusitania und Levante im 6. und 7. Jahrhundert”, which is supervised by Prof. Dr. Sabine Panzram, he is taking a supra-regional look at the phenomenon of ‘Bischofsherrschaft’ in late antiquity. His main research interests include the history of Christianity during the ‘Long Late Antiquity’ with a focus on the history of the development of ecclesiastical offices and especially the episcopate in the western and eastern Mediterranean. Since 2021 he has been a research associate at the DFG-funded ‘RomanIslam - Center for Comparative Empire and Transcultural Studies’ in Hamburg.
Grotherr, Kevin (in press), "Between Royal Power and Legitimacy – The Bishops of Mérida (6th-7th c.)", in: S. Panzram and P. Poveda Arias, eds., Bishops under Threat: Contexts and Episcopal Strategies in Late Antique and Early Medieval West, Berlin: De Gruyter.