Oct. 10, 2004



Church Historian to Receive Medal and Give Lecture on Medieval Monasticism

Cornell University’s Brian Tierney is 2003 Recipient of CUA’s Quasten Medal


Brian Tierney, professor emeritus of Cornell University, has been selected as the 2003 recipient of Catholic University’s Johannes Quasten Medal for Excellence in Scholarship and Leadership in Religious Studies.


Tierney will accept his award on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at 5 p.m. in the Herzfeld Auditorium at Catholic University, located at 620 Michigan Ave., N.E., Washington, D.C.


“We’re honored that Dr. Tierney will receive this year’s Quasten Medal, the CUA School of Theology and Religious Studies’ highest honor to bestow,” said John Grabowski, associate dean of the School. “We believe that the award not only honors his past contributions to The Catholic University of America, but also his continued scholarship in the field of medieval and Church history.”


After accepting his award, Tierney will present the lecture “Monks in a Changing Medieval World, 1100-1150.” The award ceremony and lecture are free and open to the public. A reception is to follow. For more information, call 202-319-5683.


Established in 1985 as the only academic award given by CUA’s School of Theology and Religious Studies, the Quasten Medal is named after the Rev. Johannes Quasten, a professor of religious studies who taught at CUA for more than 30 years until his retirement in 1979. Quasten published more than 100 books and articles and is mostly known for his four-volume “Patrology,” a standard reference in the field of ancient church history and historical theology.


Brian Tierney served in the Royal Air Force on heavy bombers during World War II. After the war was over he studied medieval history at the University of Cambridge, where he received his doctoral degree in 1951. 


His first teaching job was at The Catholic University of America. In 1959 he moved to Cornell University, where he held the Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professorship of Humanistic Studies.


Tierney is a past president of the Catholic Historical Association. Among his many publications are “The Crisis of Church and State, 1050-1300,” “Foundations of the Conciliar Theory: The Contribution of the Medieval Canonists from Gratian to the Great Schism,” “The Idea of Natural Rights: Studies on Natural Rights, Natural Law and Church Law 1150-1625,” “Medieval Poor Law: A Sketch of Canonical Theory and Its Application in England,” and “Rights, Laws and Infallibility in Medieval Thought.”


MEDIA: Those interested in covering the event must contact Chris Harrison or Victor Nakas at