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Dr Philip Booth

Former Research Student

Philip Booth

Thesis Title

Thietmar: Person, Place and Text in thirteenth-century Holy Land Pilgrimage

Research overview

My principal research interests lie in the areas of travel and religions cultures in the High Middle Ages (1000-1300). This combined interest manifests itself primarily in a fascination with pilgrimage, specifically Christian Holy Land pilgrimage, but also more generally the expansion of European travel in the thirteenth century to places such as the Middle East, Inner Asia and China. I am also interested in the developing spirituality of the period, particularly the way in which thinking about Christian Orthodoxy revolved around ideas of the Body. 


My PhD thesis, focused on a single pilgrimage account of the thirteenth-century, namely Magister Thietmar's who travelled to the Holy Land between 1217 and 1218. It investigated the way in which ideas about Person, Place and Text (a conceptual framework derived from the Anthropology of Christian pilgrimage) interacted. It looked at how pilgrimage texts were constructed, how stories were transmitted from East to West (or vice versa), at interactions between Latin Christians and both Orthodox Christians and Muslims, and at the extent to which the experience of pilgrimage was pre-determined by cultural expectations relating to the places visited by the pilgrim.

This research was funded by the AHRC and supervised by Prof. Andrew Jotischky.

Having completed my PhD, I am currently working on a new edition of the text of Thietmar and in the initial stages of two new projects. One looks to analyse a corpus of medieval miracles from the monastic shrine of Saydnaya in conjunction with two miracles from 2004 and 2011 repsectively looking at the didatic continuties between these miracles. The other seeks to explore similarities between a number of travel accounts, written between 1250 and 1350, from numerous geographical contexts from the Travels of Marco Polo, to the Rihla of Ibn Battuta and the writings of Rabban Bar Suama. The aim of this research would be to see how travellers from different cultures reacted to meeting each other and how they expressed these reactions in their writings.  

Career Details

I am currently working as an Associate Lecturer in the History Department responsible for the teaching the Part II Crusades module as well as working on other MA and UG courses.

I also teach at the Universtiy of Birmingham on their first year medieval survery courses.

I completed my MA in history at Lancaster University in 2011 and my PhD in 2016.

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