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My name is Matthew Mills. I am an historian and theologian, specialising in the intellectual, devotional and material culture of medieval religious life.

New book for 2024
Blessed Mary and the Monks of England:
Benedictines and Cistercians, 1000-1215

Catholic University of America Press

In the study of historical Mariology, the monastic communities of England in the eleventh and twelfth centuries—the period so dramatically interrupted and reshaped by the Norman conquest of 1066—receive too little attention. This "monastic age" was a time of great flourishing for both religious life and Mariology, marked by new currents of prayer and thought. In this volume, Matthew Mills uncovers and draws together vibrant contributions to Marian doctrine and devotion by some of those then living in England under the sixth-century Rule of St. Benedict: the Benedictines and their successors, the Cistercians. In a thematic unfolding of Mary’s life and identity, from conception to assumption and intercession, a picture emerges of a Mariology shaped by the constant of monastic liturgy, anchored in the biblical and patristic wisdom cherished and transmitted by the Venerable Bede, and animated by love. Towering figures, such as Anselm of Canterbury and Ælred of Rievaulx, are also placed within a wider landscape alongside lesser known but still significant others, including the Cistercian abbot, John of Forde, royal confessor and pioneer of Marian exegesis of the Song of Songs. England’s monastic Mariology was colored by Greek as well as Latin influences and touched by key experiences of the contemporary church at large: apocalyptic disappointment, reform, sacramentalism, and intense yearning for salvation. In particular, Mills brings to light the significance of Mary for monks’ understanding of their own profession: their mother and their lady, Mary was also their icon and exemplar of life in St Benedict’s "school for the Lord’s service" (Rule, Prol. 45).

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"Blessed Mary and the Monks of England is extremely helpful in several respects. Firstly, it contributes to the construction of an overview of the development of Marian doctrine and devotion in the West in general. It constitutes a very useful step between the very particular and the more general. Secondly, it contributes to what, in England, is a growing interest in English, or British, theology. And thirdly, it illustrates important aspects of Marian devotion that have sometimes been overlooked: for example, the use of Mary as an exemplar for male devotees." 

Sarah Jane Boss, Director of the Centre for Marian Studies, University of Roehampton

Other recent publications
Ed. Keeper of the Word: The Virgin Mary in Anglican, Baptist and Catholic Dialogues
Regent's Park College, Oxford, 2023

As well as editing this volume, together with Ross Maidment, I contributed the preface and two chapters, including a reflection upon understandings of Mary's faith inspired by the medieval abbot and theologian, Aelred of Rievaulx (d. 1167).

Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 4th edn, edited by Andrew Louth
Oxford University Press, 2022

For this landmark publication, an internationally respected work of reference, I contributed or revised and updated 285 entries on medieval subjects.

Forgiveness and Restorative Justice: Perspectives from Christian Theology
Palgrave Macmillan, 2021

This volume explores the roots and theological dynamics of restorative justice. In addition to a co-authored introduction and conclusion, I contributed chapters on three themes: (1) victimhood, drawing upon the 'Dialogue' of Catherine of Siena (d. 1380); (2) satisfaction, using the sixth-century 'Rule of St Benedict' and the theology of Anselm of Canterbury (d. 1109); (3) eternal life, engaging with modern sources.
From my blog
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