Scott Bruce image
Medieval Europe

(Ph.D., Princeton University; Professor)

Professor Bruce is an historian of religion and culture in the early and central Middle Ages (ca. 400-1200 CE). He is a specialist on the history of the abbey of Cluny.  His first book, Silence and Sign Language in Medieval Monasticism: The Cluniac Tradition (c. 900-1200) was published in 2007 by Cambridge University Press (UK). This book explores the rationales for religious silence in early medieval abbeys and the use of nonverbal forms of communication among monks when rules of silence forbade them from speaking. His second monograph, Cluny and the Muslims of La Garde-Freinet: Hagiography and the Problem of Islam in Medieval Europe, was published by Cornell University Press in 2015. This book is a study of the representation of the Muslims of La Garde-Freinet in Cluniac hagiography in the eleventh century and the influence of these depictions on polemical works written against Islam by Abbot Peter the Venerable of Cluny in the twelfth century. Professor Bruce has recently translated a collection of medieval Latin ghost stories for Penguin Classics: The Penguin Book of the Undead: Fifteen Hundred Years of Supernatural Encounters from the Romans to the Renaissance. His new book, The Relatio metrica de duobus ducibus: A Twelfth-Century Cluniac Poem on Prayer for the Dead (co-authored with Christopher A. Jones) was published in 2016 by Brepols. Scott G. Bruce is currently working on several book projects, including an anthology of texts about the history of the punitive afterlife from ancient Gehenna to modern America tentatively called The Penguin Book of Hell: Three Thousand Years of Torment, to be published by Penguin Classics in the autumn of 2018.  For more information on his books and research, please visit