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Abigail Firey

Research Interests:
Early Medieval Europe
legal history
Digital Humanities
Manuscript Studies

Ph.D., Toronto, 1995


The Carolingian Canon Law Project   (

Scriptorium, a digital environment for collaborative manuscript research

Museum of Lost Laws

Areas of Specialization:  Early Medieval Europe (especially legal history); Carolingian empire; early medieval and late antique religious, intellectual and cultural history; canon law; early medieval biblical exegesis; textual transmission and manuscript studies.

Current Graduate Students:

  • Wei-Ting Chen
  • Melissa Kapitan
  • Kerry Warren
Selected Publications:
  • "The Paper Chase: The Pursuit of Carolingian Legal Innovations" in Carolingian Experiments, ed. Matthew Gillis (Turnhout: Brepols, 2022) pp. 71-121.

  • "Early Medieval Canon Law" in The Cambridge History of Medieval Canon Law, edd. Anders Winroth and John C. Wei (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022) pp. 32-45.

  • "Veiled Threats: Constraining Religious Women in the Carolingian Empire" in The Symbolism of Marriage in Early Christianity and the Latin Middle Ages: Images, Impact, Cognition, ed. Line Cecile Engh (Amsterdam University Press, 2019) pp. 155-178.

  • “‘Death, Where is Thy Sting?’: Locating Capital Punishment in Early Medieval Debates” in Texts and Contexts in Legal History: Essays in Honor of Charles Donahue, edd. John Witte, Sara McDougall, Anna di Robilant (Berkeley: Robbins Collection Press, 2016)  pp. 61-81.

  • “Learning Canon Law in the Carolingian Empire” in Proceedings of the XIVth International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, edd. Joseph Goering, Stephan Dusil, and Andreas Thier. (Monumenta Iuris Canonici, Series C: Subsidia, 15; Città del Vaticano, Biblioteca Vaticana, 2016) pp. 355-368.

  • “Blushing Before the Judge: Moral Arbitration in the Carolingian Empire” in A New History of Penance (see above) pp. 173-200.
  • “Codices and Contexts: the many destinies of the Capitula Angilramni and the challenges of editing small canon law collections”  Zeitschrift für Rechtsgeschichte, Kanonistische Abteilung 94 [125] (2008) pp. 88-312.