Dr Anke Holdenried

B.A.(Lond.), M.Phil. (Cantab.), Ph.D. (Lond.)

  • BS8 1TB

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Personal profile

Research interests

Contact details: office: 2.40, 13 Woodland Rd; email: a.holdenried@bristol.ac.uk. Consultation Hours (2022/23) in TB1: please email me for an appointment. 

My work explores medieval Europe's rich and diverse cultural and intellectual history, especially in relation to two broad areas: (1) the study - within cultural frameworks - of approaches to the future and (2) study of the migration and transmission of ideas across different cultures. 

The following are particular research interests of mine:

  • manuscript studies; ideas about time, apocalypticism, and prophecy; intellectual, literary, religious cultures to c.1300; history of scholarship (medieval to early modern)

I focused on apocalypticism and medieval ideas about the End of the World in my book, The Sibyl and Her Scribes: Manuscripts and Interpretation of the Latin Sibylla Tiburtina c.1050-1500 (formerly Ashgate 2006 - Routledge 2017 [Hardback and e-book]). There I examined the relationship between apocalyptic prophecy and medieval political propaganda through the detailed examination of more than 100 surviving manuscripts of a specific text - a Last Emperor prophecy known as the Sibylla Tiburtina, which enjoyed great popularity in medieval Europe. This was just one of the many anonymous prophetic texts which had widespread influence in medieval culture. I continue to research in this field, analysing how such prophetic texts function in their historical context.

Current Projects:

My current work involves transcultural perspectives. It is grounded in the recognition that prophecy did not merely involve “foretelling the future”. It also concerned an individual’s direct communication with God, who was of course regarded as the highest authority. Naturally this then made the medieval belief in prophecy intellectually, politically and socially significant. My work investigates how the authority of prophecy was harnessed by different medieval communities, whether in the context of prophetic revelation, monastic contemplation, mystical experience or other circumstances, especially c.1000-1200. The writings of Peter the Chanter - which are often unedited - are an important pillar of my investigation.

This research feeds through into the conceptual history of prophecy, para-religious practices of prognistication, the supernatural and society, questions about how humans can come to know, as well as into related issues of gender and identity.

Manuscript-based approaches continue to play a central role in my research.

Research supervision

I would welcome supervising students who wish to work on any aspect of the cultural, intellectual and religious history of the central and later Middle Ages and/or on medieval manuscript culture.

I would be particularly interested to hear from prospective research students with an interest in any other of the areas listed above. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss your research plans.


I contribute to a broad range of team-taught courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, including historiographical survey courses.

My research interests are also reflected, for example, in my Final Year Reflective History Unit on Propaganda, and my course on Apocalypse and Society to c.1300 which is open to MA students across the School of Humanities (MA in History, History of Art, Theology, Classics etc.).


Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Centre for Medieval Studies


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