Darren Barber


I studied Bible and theology at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California (Master of Divinity, 2004), then languages, both independently and under formal instruction, earning associate degrees in both French and German (2008). I then earned an MA from the Institute for Medieval Studies at Leeds (2010), where I wrote my dissertation on Gregory of Tours’ Libri historiarum, after which my interests shifted to the Carolingian renewal. I joined the IMS once again in 2016.


MEDV1080 Religion and Culture in the Medieval West (tutor)

HIST1045 Empire and Aftermath: The Mediterranean World from the Second to the Eighth Centuries (tutor)

Conference paper

'Alcuin and the Student Life Cycle', Leeds International Medieval Congress (July 2017) and The Thirteenth Oxford Medieval Graduate Conference, Merton College (March/April, 2017)

Research interests

Scholars have tended to view early medieval education and the organizational structure of the early medieval Church as independent topics. My thesis aims to provide a synthesized view of ninth-century education and clerical advancement. It re-examines the legacy of Alcuin of York in terms of a dynamic and yet coherent link between learning and ecclesiastical promotion. Alcuin's writings, along with royal capitularies and conciliar decrees, provide the basis for a new look at the terminology associated with learning and teaching. This perspective sheds additional light on key figures from the ninth century who came under Alcuin's direct or indirect influence, such as Hraban Maur and Lupus of Ferrières. Viewing these sources and churchmen as products of an increasing integration of schooling and advancement, of the schola and the cursus honorum, can tell us more about how they may be related as ‘heirs’ to a tradition going back to Alcuin.


  • MA Medieval Studies
  • Master of Divinity