Bastiaan Waagmeester


Akademischer Werdegang

Seit 04/2017
Kollegiat im DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1662 „Religiöses Wissen im vormodernen Europa (800-1800)“

an der Universität Tübingen

09/2015 - 03/2016

an der Universität Tübingen

Research master Mittelalterlichen Geschichte an der Universität Utrecht

mit der Abschlussarbeit 'Beyond the manuscript. Inquiries into a ninth century local priest and his social environment by means of his handbook (BSB Clm 14508)’

09/2013 - 04/2014
Master Mittelalterlichen Geschichte

an der Universität Utrecht (Abgekündigt nach Überweisung an den Research master)

09/2009 - 08/2013
Bachelor Geschichtswissenschaft

an der Universität Utrecht



  • ‘The compilation of manuscripts and baptismal ordines for priests in the ninth century’, in: Conference proceedings of ‘Collection and Organisation of Literary Texts in Early Medieval Manuscripts pt. 2’, Hamburg (forthcoming).
  • With Jelle Wassenaar: ‘Middeleeuws computeren’ in: B. Jaski, M. Mostert and K. van Vliet (eds.), Perkament in stukken. Teruggevonden middeleeuwse handschriftfragmenten (Hilversum, 2018), pp. 180-187.


Book reviews:

  • ‘Een alledaagse geschiedenis van de Joden’ (Review of S. Schama, The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words (1000 BCE – 1492)), in: Skript Historisch Tijdschrift 36.2 (2014), pp. 139-141.
  • ‘Koud, grijs en van het grootste belang’ (Review of M. Pye, The Edge of the World: A Cultural History of the North Sea and the Transformation of Europe), in: Skript Historisch Tijdschrift 37.2 (2015), pp. 121-122.


Workshop report:

  • Joint report on the workshop ‘The transmission of knowledge in the early middle ages: intellectual exchange and the construction of Latin literary culture in the Frankish regions’, DAAD workshop Berlin-Cambridge-Tübingen, 29/06-01/07-2017 (https://specialcollections-blog.lib.cam.ac.uk/?p=15763)

Project summary

Priests’ books. On the creation of manuscripts and texts for local priests during the ninth century

Betreuung: Prof. dr. Steffen Patzold (Universität Tübingen), Dr. Carine van Rhijn (Universiteit Utrecht), Prof. dr. Andreas Holzem (Universität Tübingen)

The main question of the project is (simply put) how to ‘deal’ with pastoral compendia made for local priests during the ninth century. Using these kinds of manuscripts in historical research, especially in their entirety, causes two major issues which I have examined and proposed solutions to. The first issue is that these manuscripts are notoriously difficult to identify and categorize because their contents always differ and have, hence, been labelled frequently as ‘Sammelbände’ or ‘miscellanies’. In order to establish that a book might have been made for a priest, I have compared and analysed the codicological, palaeographical and textual aspects of two manuscripts (Sélestat, Bibliothèque humaniste, ms. 132 and Vatican, Biblioteca apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 485) that share a total of five texts. The result of this effort was that the two codices turned out to be very different in all three selected aspects. There seems, however, to be a structural idea behind the manuscripts that is similar. Furthermore, the comparison of the five texts resulted in the establishment of three selection processes that were used in order to ‘tailor’ the material in these manuscripts to the needs of their users. For instance, texts were supplemented with relevant information for priests or were slimmed down to contain only what was most necessary.

Having established this methodological approach to priest books, the second issue can be addressed, which concerns the dynamic nature of their contents. The texts in these manuscripts are often of a similar in nature but are rarely alike. I have selected three parts of the priest’s office for which he needed specific texts, namely to administer baptism, be an expert of canon law and educate the laity. The analysis of these types of text resulted in three chapters in which the function of liturgy, canon law and catechism during the ninth century are discussed. Furthermore, each subject follows a similar methodological approach but each time with an increasing amount of manuscripts in order to test the established procedure for multiple sets of manuscripts, in this way stretching the applicability of the chosen methodology and determining its limits. The result of examining this material reinforced the conclusions drawn previously. During the ninth century the flexibility of texts was indeed high, even for material from authoritative sources such as Augustine or Ambrose, and texts could be edited to fit the needs of their users. These practices were not limited to any sort of manuscript. The visual and material characteristics of the codices do not play any role in determining the sophistication of a compilation. Texts were much more dynamic than was assumed previously, which calls for new approaches. Modern editions that are based on a supposed ‘archetype’ and where every other version of the same text qualifies as a ‘variation’ do not reflect the reality of ninth century practice. Furthermore, the last chapter on the expositions of the Lord’s Prayer demonstrated that these kinds of editorial practices extended beyond books for priest to manuscripts used by bishops and other types of clergy.

Besides primarily technical conclusions, the examination of priests’ books and their texts has its implications for the interpretation of religious education, the usage of canon law and the performance of liturgical acts as well. Religious knowledge and the understanding of its objects, such as the Lord’s Prayer or the Creed, was gradual. This means that some types of information were considered to be more essential than others. Yet, it also shows that it was very inclusive and not something that was known only by the lucky few that could either read or speak Latin. Consequently, older ideas about ‘romanization’ and ‘ritualization’ of early medieval Christianity have to be reconsidered. The creativity in the compilation of canon law and liturgy demonstrated that texts were not just simply copied without being properly understood, causing all the supposed mistakes in the orthography and grammar, but that the material was well-understood and modified accordingly. By using books for priests, the project sheds light on an overlooked source that provides a window on early medieval Christianity that affected many, if not all, aspects of life for many people that are otherwise easily forgotten.