Mayke De Jong, who has been a professor of medieval history at the “Department Geschiedenis en Kunstgeschiedenis” at Universiteit Utrecht since 1987, is one of the most influential scholars and researchers in the field of political and religious-ecclesiastical history of the early Middle Ages. She has comprehensively researched monastic life, subjected Bible commentaries to a political reading, and explored the role of repentance in the context of the political and religious culture of the Carolingian period (ca. 750-900). In her latest book, The Penitential State. Authority and Atonement in the Ages of Louis the Pious (Cambridge University Press, 2009), she re-interpreted the reign of Louis the Pious (814-840), based on religious and political rituals and thus found a new perspective on the actions of his contemporaries as well as on the political theology of the early Middle ages as a whole. De Jong has been a guest at several prestigious universities and research institutions, including the University of Cambridge and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
At Freie Universität de Jong will be studying the Epitaphium Arsenii by Paschasius Radbertus, a polemic text from the 9th century. The text is a dialogue encrypted with ancient and biblical motifs, which reflects the political dissensions of the time. De Jong will also be conducting research on the concept of "public" in the early Middle Ages and on the relationship between law and religion in the Carolingian capitularies, which is currently being worked on as part of an editing project for the Monumenta Germaniae Historica and within the Collaborative Research Centre 700, "Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood" in the History of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages research division at Freie Universität.
Since 1972 the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has been awarding the Humboldt Research Award to scientists and scholars whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future. The award includes 60,000 euros. The award winners are invited to spend a period of up to one year cooperating on a long-term research project with colleagues at a research institution in Germany.