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How to find us prof. dr. A.J. (Arjo) Vanderjagt

prof. dr. A.J. Vanderjagt

Professor emeritus of the history of ideas
prof. dr. A.J. Vanderjagt

Academic biography


An alumnus of Franklin Academy and Prattsburgh Central School in upstate New York, Arjo Vanderjagt began his studies in philosophy, history and Semitic languages at Groningen in 1971. He obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees both in philosophy and history (cum laude). In 1981 he was awarded a doctorate in history with a dissertation on the use of literary texts in the formation of Burgundian political ideology.
From 1968 to 1976 he taught English, History and the Didactics of History Teaching at a teachers' college. He worked as a lecturer in medieval philosophy (especially medieval semantics) at the Catholic University at Nijmegen (now the Radboud University Nijmegen) (1976-1979) before becoming associate professor in the history of premodern philosophy at the University of Groningen. In 1994 he was appointed to a special chair in the history of ideas. His inaugural lecture was entitled Cadmus zaaide draketanden. Ideeëngeschiedenis en de vermenigvuldiging van teksten [=Cadmus sowed dragonteeth. The history of ideas and the multiplication of texts], published in 1995.

In the Spring quarter of 2007 he was a visiting professor in the Faculty of Arts of Utrecht University, teaching a course on Medieval Thought.

Arjo Vanderjagt has also taught at the Academia Vitae, a college of Liberal Arts in the humanist tradition in the city of Deventer, the Netherlands.

Arjo Vanderjagt was the academic director of the Netherlands Research School for Medieval Studies hosted by the Faculty of Arts from 1999-2005. Among general tasks in this capacity he developed and co-directed a wide range of internationalisation programmes in medieval research.

As a sabbatical fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) at Wassenaaar (near The Hague) from 2005-2006, he worked on fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century northern humanism.

Arjo Vanderjagt chaired the Studium Generale Groningen (1985-1991) and the Algemene Nederlandse Vereniging voor Wijsbegeerte (ANVW): Dutch Society for Philosophy (1995-2001). He is founding editor of Brill's Studies in Intellectual History, associate editor of Studies in the History of Christian Thought. For many years he was the co-editor with Gerrit Reinink of Mediaevalia Groningana, a member of the editorial boards of several other series, e.g. Fifteenth-Century Studies (Rochester - Woodbridge: Camden House) and Groningen Studies in Cultural Change (Leuven: Peeters). From 2005-2008 he was a corresponding member of the editorial board of the Tijdschrift voor filosofie (Leuven). In the Spring of 2007, Arjo Vanderjagt was a member of the QANU (=Quality Assurance Netherlands Universities) committee which assessed programmes in the Liberal Arts and Sciences at Dutch universities and similarly in 2009-2010 the teaching programmes of all the Philosophy Departments of Dutch universities.

On March 30, 2009, Arjo Vanderjagt gave his Valedictory Oration in the Aula Magna of the Academia of the University of Groningen. Entitled "Een oefenplaats van de Muzen" (Exercise Grounds for the Muses) - a phrase from the founding document of the university in 1614 - it attempted to demonstrate the close connection between scholarly and scientific work and the personal friendship of its practitioners. Three main examples were adduced: the circle of fifteenth-century northern humanists of which Rodolphus Agricola was the focus, the monastic community of Anselm of Canterbury (1109), and the Order of the Golden Fleece founded by the Burgundian duke, Philip the Good, in 1430.

On this festive day, colleagues and friends presented him with a 'Festschrift':  Christian Humanism. Essays in Honour of Arjo Vanderjagt, eds. A.A. MacDonald, Z.R.W.M. von Martels, J.R. Veenstra (Leiden: Brill, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions, vol. 142, 2009).

From September 1, 2009, Arjo Vanderjagt is Professor Emeritus of the History of Ideas.  

Scholarly interests: neoplatonism, ancient Nubia, anthropology of the church fathers, Anselm of Canterbury, the crusades, fifteenth-century Burgundy, the relation between literary style and philosophy/philosophical texts, the relation between literature and philosophy, renaissance humanism, Dante, chivalric ideology, history of universities, ideas of love in the Middle Ages, medieval travel, early-modern political thought and ideology, historical taxonomy of plants

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Last modified:24 January 2018 07.33 a.m.

Contact information

Oude Boteringestraat 52
9712 GL Groningen
The Netherlands