Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

Caroline Walker Bynum 
Doctor of Humane Letters  1997
Status: conferred

Caroline Walker Bynum, Morris and Alma Schapiro Professor of History at Columbia University, has remapped our understanding of the Middle Ages with her groundbreaking studies. She has published four major books on such subjects as the maternal, nurturing aspects of Jesus (Jesus as Mother); the role of food in late-medieval spirituality and its impact on the spirituality of Europeans, especially women (Holy Feast and Holy Fast); Fragmentation and Redemption, a collection of essays on the human body, especially its vulnerability to decay; and most recently, The Resurrection of the Body, Christian thought and sentiment from St. Paul through Thomas Aquinas. Professor Bynum writes widely on the theory and practice of somatics, the study of the human body, both in itself and as a symbol. One of her most important contributions has been to reconcile late 20th-century theory with traditional modes of historical analysis. Her most recent book was awarded the 1996 Jacques Barzun Prize by the American Philosophical Society for the best work in cultural history. For changing our understanding of history and humanity, SMU is honored to award Caroline Bynum Walker the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.