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School of History

Dr Eyal Poleg


Reader in Material History

Telephone: 020 7882 8366
Room Number: ArtsTwo 3.33
Office Hours: (Summer Term):


I am a historian of objects and faith. My work has explored the ways material culture can inform us on the history of medieval and early modern religion. This combination first arose from a BA in history and photography and an MA in Comparative Religion (Jerusalem), followed by a doctorate in history (London) and a subsequent British Academy postdoctoral fellowship in Edinburgh. I often liaise with scientists, curators and conservators in the analysis of historical objects.
A Material History of the Bible, England 1200-1553 was recently published by Oxford University Press for the British Academy.




Research Interests:

My early work has explored the Crusading mythology of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Since then, I have unearthed the ways in which Bibles were made, used, and recalled in late medieval and early modern England and Scotland. This has uncovered the hesitant course of reform in England, and the gradual impact of print on English religion.
My research has followed these key themes:
  • Material Culture and religious history
  • The Bible in the Middle Ages and early modernity
  • Book history and manuscript studies
  • The scientific analysis of historical objects
  • Re-assessing technological innovation and scientific teleologies
I have developed several innovative projects, in which MA and PhD students have developed digital technologies for the analysis of medieval books and objects. Supported by the European Research Council, Digital Editing of Medieval Manuscripts brought together students from across Europe to train and study medieval manuscripts. Currently, Hands:on is a unique collaboration between QMUL and Cambridge University Library in which advanced students develop innovative prototypes for consulting objects and manuscripts online.
In 2021/2 I will be a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center, exploring the limits of innovation: the uncertain reception of technological changes in the later Middle Ages.


Select publications


A Material History of the Bible, England 1200-1553 (link is external) (OUP for the British Academy, 2020)

Approaching the Bible in Medieval England (link is external) (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013)

(ed. with Laura Light) Form and Function in the Late Medieval Bible (link is external), Library of the Written Word: The Manuscript World, Leiden: Brill, 2013


“On the Books of Maccabees: An Unpublished Poem by Geoffrey, Prior of the Templum Domini”, Crusades (link is external) 9 (2010), pp. 13-56

“‘A ladder set up on the earth’: The Bible in Medieval Sermons”, The Practice of the Bible in the Middle Ages: Production, Reception, and Performance in Western Christianity (link is external), ed. Susan Boynton and Diane Reilly, New York: Columbia University Press, 2011, pp. 205-227

Farkas Gábor Kiss, Eyal Poleg, Lucie Doležalová, Rafał Wójcik, “Old Light on New Media: Medieval Practices in a Digital Ages”, Digital Philology: A Journal of Medieval Cultures (link is external)  2.1 (Spring 2013), 16–34

“Wycliffite Bibles as Orthodoxy”, Instructing the Soul, Feeding the Spirit and Awakening the Passion. Cultures of Religious Reading in the Late Middle Ages (link is external) (Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy), ed. Sabrina Corbellini, Turnhout:Brepols, 2013, pp. 71-91

“The Mother and Seven Brothers in Two Very Different Crusading Narratives”, Jewish-non-Jewish Relations: An Online Teaching Resource (link is external) ed. Maria Diemling and Hannah Holtschneider

Paola Ricciardi, Eyal Poleg, 'How Thomas Cromwell used cut and paste to insert himself into Henry VIII’s Great Bible', The Conversation 



Jeremy Cohen, “Sanctifying the Name of God: Jewish Martyrs and Jewish Memories of the First Crusade”, Jewish Culture and History (link is external) 10:1 (Summer 2008), 115-17


I welcome applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research in the following areas:
  • Religion and Material Culture
  • English Religious History (1100-1600)
  • The Medieval or Early Modern Bible 
  • Digital Medievalism
I currently lead a LAHP Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Museum of London on The Shrine and the Marketplace: religious materiality in London during the long fifteenth century (1370-1530). I am always happy to consider applicants for collaborative or cross institutional projects.

Public Engagement

My work has featured prominently in The Times, BBC Radio 4, Church Times, The Telegraph, and CBS.

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