Jacques Le Goff


  • François Menant


For the last sixty years Jacques Le Goff has been one of the top medievalists,
probably the most well-known in the world of specialists
and non-specialists historians. He has put his own touch on the way
we consider the Middle Ages today, and has been (and still is today),
a scholar of wide intellectual influence and of extensive writing. Particularly
influent has been the seminar ‘Anthropologie historique de
l’Occident médiéval’ hold at the école des hautes études en sciences
sociales (which he had founded in 1975). He has published 28 books
(most of them translated in several foreign languages and many times
republished), 17 further books in co-edition and about 300 papers. The
main themes of his work concern many aspects of Medieval societies:
the religious beliefs and the collective imagination, medieval cities,
the influence of friars on 13th century society, intellectuals and universities,
economy and use of money, the power of the kings of France
and its rituals.
In the present essay, François Menant tries to outline the scientific
career, the methods and the scientific production of Jacques Le Goff,
highlighting his importance in the deep transformations that the study
of the Middle Ages has undergone during the last half century.