A chief current project is a series of essays (which may eventually become a book) on indulgences in the church during the Middle Ages. The focus will be on the documents of indulgences (chiefly the letters granting indulgences), and the plan is to prepare discussions of several types of grants of indulgences. There will, of course, be some attention to the early history of indulgences, but three major areas of discussion will be collective indulgences issued by bishops at Avignon during the residence of the popes in that city during the fourteenth century, collective indulgences issued by members of the College of Cardinals from Rome during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and printed indulgences issued, often in Germany, during the campaigns to sell indulgences in the late-fifteenth and early-sixteenth centuries.

The image reproduced above is a letter of indulgence that sparked my interest in the topic: an indulgence issued by Cardinals in Rome on 14 May 1519 for the benefit of Unterlinden, a prominent Dominican nunnery at Colmar in Alsace (New York, Columbia University Libraries, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, MS. 67). It is originally from the library of Leander van Ess.