James A. Brundage

James A. Brundage
Distinguished Medieval Historian

Born Lincoln, Nebraska, 5 February 1929, died Lawrence, Kansas, 5 November 2021, age 92.

B.A. (1950) and M.A. (1951) from the University of Nebraska; Ph.D. (1955) Fordham University.
Instructor, Fordham University, 1955-57; Assistant Professor to full Professor and Chairman of History Department, University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, 1955-1989; Ahmanson-Murphy Distinguished Professor of Medieval History and Courtesy Professor of Law, University of Kansas, 1989-2000; Distinguished Professor Emeritus, 2000 until death.

John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Cambridge University, 1963-64; Senior Fulbright Lecturer, Universidad Complutense in Madrid, 1967-68; NEH Fellow, Newberry Library in Chicago, 1985-86; Visiting Fellow, Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, 1977-78, and subsequently Life Member of Clare Hall; Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America (Cambridge, Massachusetts); Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (London); Board of Directors, Stephan Kuttner Institute of Medieval Canon Law, University of Munich.

Author of 12 books, including Medieval Canon Law and the Crusader (1969); Law, Sex, and Christian Society (1987); Medieval Origins of the Legal Profession (2008). More than 400 articles, notes, and reviews in other professional books and in journals.

Professional library now in the Library of the Pontifical College Josephinum, Ohio.

Predeceased by Marie McDonald Brundage, the mother of his children and former wife, and sons David Brundage and Rev. Thomas Brundage.

Survived by Victoria Conlin Brundage, spouse; sons James A. Brundage, Jr. and Gregory C. Brundage; daughters Brigette Brundage and Ann Kristin Frailey; many grandchildren and great grandchildren; and his family of friends, especially Karen Nordheden.

A Funeral Latin Mass is pending and will take place at St Lawrence Catholic Center, University of Kansas; interment will take place at Pioneer Cemetery, University of Kansas.

Condolences to warrenmcelwain.com.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Professor Brundage’s name to Medieval Academy of America (medievalacademy.org); the Royal Historical Society (royalhistsoc.org); Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (newyork.msf.org).

Professor Brundage is remembered as a brilliant scholar and teacher. He was witty and engaging in conversation. He was a faithful mentor for students, now colleagues, from Finland to Australia. He was a lover of beauty and a superb cook. (For the simplest dinner there would be candles and flowers on the table.) He was a lover of classical music and, of course, a lover of books. He was devoted to pets.

He was a generous man of great integrity, fidus in all his relationships. On his tombstone is written (from Horace) Non omnis moriar.

15 Condolences

  1. Dick Helmholz on November 9, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    A good friend for many years. I am glad to have known him.

  2. Benjamin Kedar on November 9, 2021 at 1:44 pm

    A fine, innovative scholar. His contribution to the study of the crusades is unique.
    Requiescat in pace.

  3. Ed Peters on November 10, 2021 at 7:16 am

    Jim was one of the great forces that socialized the Kalamazoo Conference and guided an entire genereation of young scholars into the profession of history.

  4. Ken Pennington on November 10, 2021 at 8:28 pm

    Jim was my undergraduate and graduate school teacher, tutor, mentor, and friend. I would not have had a teaching career without his support. I owe him much that I could never repay in full.

  5. Mike Hoeflich on November 10, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    Jim was one of the greatest scholars I have ever known. I shall miss him always. May you test in the peace and grace of the Lord

  6. Robert C. Figueira on November 10, 2021 at 10:02 pm

    A positive and enduring influence on my professional life, a very productive scholar of medieval canon law from whom I learned so much, a supportive mentor, and a down-to-earth sweet man with a sharp sense of humor. An original! May the angels lead him to paradise…..

  7. Jessalynn Bird on November 11, 2021 at 8:32 am

    James Brundage revolutionized the field of canon law and was always tremendously gracious to dwarves like me standing on the shoulders of giants in the field. He will be sorely missed. May he rest in well-deserved peace.

  8. Chris Kleinhenz on November 12, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    Jim was more than a brilliant and innovative scholar; he was a good friend, a delightful colleague in the general field of medieval studies, and a wonderful presence at the annual Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo. He will be greatly missed.

  9. Eve Levin on November 14, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    I first became acquainted with Jim Brundage when I was just beginning work on my first book, a study of sexuality in the medieval Slavic Orthodox world. A graduate student of his urged me to seek his advice, so I sent him a letter. He responded graciously and encouragingly. When I submitted my book to a press for publication, Jim turned out to be one of the reviewers who advised the press to publish it. While I was completing the final revisions on the book manuscript, his pathbreaking book on medieval Catholic sexuality came out, and I seized upon it gratefully. Shortly afterwards, Jim and I became personally acquainted at a conference. By the time I came to KU in 2003, Jim was already retired. But he welcomed me as a colleague and fellow medievalist. I treasure his memory and continue to benefit from his scholarship.

  10. Michelle McKinley on November 15, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    Jim was a generous scholar and dear friend, with whom I could always share a delightful archival anecdote or conundrum, a cigarette (when I used to smoke) (and he always had a film canister handy for an ashtray), a really good glass of single malt, and excellent food (all in that order). I depended on him to give me feedback on my drafts with razor like precision, humor and grace, and he never tired of explaining the different Lateran councils to me. Jim, I hope you are surrounded by really good spirits, books, food, and cats. Miss you, friend.

  11. Mark Munzinger on November 22, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Jim’s kindness and patience were equal to his erudition and wit. He was a scholar’s scholar and a teacher’s teacher. The world is a lesser place without him in it.

  12. Erhard (Erik) Peter Opsahl on December 1, 2021 at 2:21 am

    Jim was my mentor and teacher at UWM; he guided my master’s thesis, finished in 1972. He was a true friend. I will never forget his unique walk, likened to a priest or monk wearing a robe. I was blessed by knowing him and will never forget his wise advice and erudition.

  13. Daniel F Ring on December 4, 2021 at 1:04 pm

    one of my great teachers such passion

  14. Hans Scott Pawlisch on December 4, 2021 at 1:31 pm

    Jim was a patient mentor and supervisor for my MA at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He inspired my burgeoning interest in legal history particularly as it applied to late medieval and early modern Ireland. His advice was always thoughtful and erudite not only in academic matters but also in public policy issues as they impacted a government career culminating in my assignment to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was delighted with the Chairman’s Mess during his several visits to the Pentagon and was always supportive of my efforts in the official history arena. But I shall always remember him as a formidable scholar, quick wit, and boon drinking companion. Rest i peace Jim.

  15. w. jay reedy on September 18, 2022 at 1:32 pm

    A great scholar who was also a human being whose life, no less than his career role, was full, kind, and sociable. He taught me as a freshman “Western Civ” student at UWM way back in the Cenozoic era. But I remember his erudition and wit still. RIP

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