John H. Van Engen
Andrew V. Tackes Professor of History
A preeminent historian of the medieval church, and of medieval culture and society generally, John Van Engen’s teaching and scholarship have dealt with monasticism, women’s writing, schools and universities, inquisition, canon law, notions of reform, and medieval religious culture.
His most recent book, Sisters and Brothers of the Common Life: The Devotio Moderna and the World of the Later Middle Ages, claimed three top book prizes in 2010: the John Gilmary Shea Prize from the American Catholic Historical Association, the Philip Schaff Prize from the American Society of Church History, and the Otto Gruendler Prize at the International Congress of Medieval Studies. The Devotia Moderna, or modern devout, refers to a religious movement that began springing up in the Netherlands in the 1380s; taking up lives of private devotion, members lived together on communes and pursued lives of spiritual perfection.In 2013 Van Engen was awarded the Charles Homer Haskins Medal by the Medieval Academy of America. This represents the highest distinction a student of the Middle Ages can receive in North America.
For 12 years, Van Engen served as director of the University’s renowned Medieval Institute. He has graduated more than 20 PhD students and placed a number of graduate students in the nation’s top research universities.
The Tackes Professorships were established by Andrew V. Tackes, a native of Austria-Hungary. Working as an electrician in his adopted hometown of St. Louis, Miss., Tackes amassed a sizeable estate. At the time of his death in 1968, at age 82, he left benefactions to Notre Dame and a number of other Catholic charities and institutions.