Gerda Heydemann

Gerda Heydemann


Associate Project Investigator • CVcontact

Institute for Medieval Research • Austrian Academy of Sciences

Gerda Heydemann's research concentrates on how the Bible, in particular the Old Testament, contributed to the formation and legitimation of a new political order in the post-Roman kingdoms in the Latin West. Within VISCOM, she focuses on "Scripts for Community – Ethnic and Political Models in Early Medieval Biblical Exegesis", studying biblical exegesis in order to see how early medieval readers used the Bible as a tool to develop visions of community and to make sense of their own present. Her PhD thesis on Ethnicity and Religion in the Early Middle Ages: Exegesis of Identity in Cassiodorus’ Psalm Commentary was completed in June 2013 (advisor: Walter Pohl), and she is currently revising it for publication. A special area of interest lies in the language of community used in exegetical texts (esp. terminology related to peoples and political entities, such as populus, gens, natio, civitas, etc.), and in the connection between religious, ethnic and political discourses about community. This is especially fruitful to study from a comparative angle, in particular in collaboration with VISCOM scholars working on the Islamic tradition.

She has studied History and Political Science at the Universities of Vienna (MA in 2005) and Utrecht (Erasmus Scholarship in 2003/04). She has held a PhD scholarship at the Institute for Medieval Research (Austrian Academy of Sciences) between 2008 and 2011, and has been a junior researcher in the FWF-Wittgenstein-project Ethnic Identities in Early Medieval Europe (2005-2011). In 2010-2011, she was a Visiting Student Research Collaborator at Princeton University.


  • Biblical Israel and the Christian gentes: Social metaphors and concepts of community in Cassiodorus’ Expositio psalmorum, in: Strategies of Identification: Ethnicity and Religion in Early Medieval Europe, Cultural Encounters in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages 13, Turnhout, Brepols: 2013) 98-141.

  • (ed. with Walter Pohl): Post-Roman Transitions: Christian and Barbarian Identities in the Early Medieval West, Cultural Encounters in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages 14 (Turnhout, Brepols: 2013).

  • (ed. mit Walter Pohl): Strategies of Identification: Ethnicity and Religion in Early Medieval Europe, Cultural Encounters in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages 13, (Turnhout, Brepols: 2013)

  • Text und Translation. Strategien zur Mobilisierung spiritueller Ressourcen im Frankenreich Ludwigs des Frommen, in: Zwischen Niederschrift und Wiederschrift. Frühmittelalterliche Hagiographie und Historiographie im Spannungsfeld von Konpendienüberlieferung und Editionstechnik, ed. Richard Corradini/Maximilian Diesenberger (Forschungen zur Geschichte des Mittelalters 15, Vienna 2010) 301-334.

  • Relics and texts: hagiography and authority in ninth-century Francia, in: An Age of Saints? Power, Conflict and Dissent in Early Medieval Christianity, AD 300–900, ed. Peter Sarris/Matthew dal Santo/Phil Boot (Brill’s Series on the Early Middle Ages 20, Leiden/Boston 2011) 187-204.

  • Zur Gestaltung der Rolle Brunhildes in merowingischer Historiographie, in: Texts and Identities in the Early Middle Ages, ed. Richard Corradini/Rob Meens/Christina Pössel/ Philip Shaw (Forschungen zur Geschichte des Mittelalters 12, Vienna 2006) 73–85.

  • Heiligen aan de wandel. Martelaren uit de Romeinse catacombe Inter duas lauros in het Frankenrijk, in: Millenium. Tijdschrift voor Middeleeuwse Studies 18 (2004) 3–28.

Last Update: 17.07.19