The Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt is a world leader in researching the history of law in Europe and beyond. Its two research departments with more than 60 scholars, the unrivalled collections of its specialised library and its numerous national and international partnerships make it the central research hub for a global scientific community investigating the past, present and future of legal regimes.

The Institute belongs to the Max Planck Society, Germany’s most successful research organisation. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its researchers, putting it on a par with the most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The mission of the Max Planck Society is to conduct fundamental (i.e., non-applied) research in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences and the humanities at the highest possible level. Its 84 Institutes and facilities are spread across Germany and beyond, and they focus on research fields that are particularly innovative and require unusually extensive resources.

We are now looking to recruit as soon as possible (but no later than 1 April 2019)

two Doctoral Students in the context of the Max Planck Research Group III

“Governance of the Universal Church after the Council of Trent:
Papal Administrative Concepts and Practices as exemplified by the Congregations of the Council between the Early Modern Period and the Present”

under the direction of Dr Benedetta Albani

The Research Group
The Max Planck Research Group III, comprising the director, three PhD candidates and several associated scholars, investigates the emergence and development of the system of post-Tridentine global governance of the Catholic Church in depth from an interdisciplinary perspective over an extended period of time. It will do so by analysing the activity of the Congregations of the Council, the dicastery founded in 1564, which was responsible for appropriately implementing the Council decisions in the entire Catholic world and to which the papal authority of authentic interpretation of the disciplinary decrees was delegated.

The research focuses on specific topics, including the role of the Congregation of the Council in the complex translation processes of the Tridentine normative order in the Catholic world; the internal decision processes and operational procedures of the Congregation and the authority and validity of its decisions in the local churches; the valence of the Roman Curia as the interpretative and judicial authority at the global level; the coexistence of post-Tridentine canon law with preceding and different normative orders in Europe and beyond; the development of the concept of interpretation authentica from the Council of Trent until today.

Existing cooperation with the Vatican Secret Archives devoted to the reorganisation of the archive of the Council Congregation forms a solid foundation for the research activities to be performed by the research group and will permit the PhD students to work with valuable unpublished sources.

Your tasks
You will develop, coordinate and conduct a doctoral project in the frame of the research group’s scientific interests. Your doctoral thesis will preferably focus on the history of the Congregation of the Council in the early modern period (XVI-XVIII century).

You will publish your findings and actively participate in the research activities of the research group and of the Institute under the guidance of Dr Albani.

Your profile
You hold a first-class or high-upper, second-class degree in History, Legal History, Canon Law, Economic History or History of Art. You work independently, are fully proficient in English and are willing to learn German. In selecting the candidates, language proficiency (Italian, Spanish, French as well as Latin) and both interest and competence in archival research will be regarded as especially important.

Our offer
We offer an attractive and international work environment with unparalleled research infrastructure and a good working atmosphere. The candidate will have the opportunity to take part in an interdisciplinary international research group, benefit from continuous scientific exchange, a comprehensive library and the possibility of research stays in Germany and abroad. Payment and social benefits are based on the German Civil Service Collective Agreement (TVöD, EG 13 level 1, 65%). The job is a full-time position (currently 39 hours per week). The position is a fixed-term appointment for three years, with the possibility of extension in exceptional circumstances.

We are located on one of the most beautiful university campuses in Europe, right in the heart of the thriving and cosmopolitan city of Frankfurt.

The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number disabled persons in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals.

Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

Application procedure
Your application can be written in German, English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or French and should contain the following documents:

Personal Statement:


Other Documents:

Please provide your referees with all your application documents and ask them to send their references direct to no later than 31 January 2019. References may only be submitted by email. They do not have to be signed as long as they are emailed from the official mail address of the referee.

Strong candidates will be invited for an interview.

Address informal enquiries as to the substance of the research group directly to Dr Benedetta Albani (

Questions as to the terms and conditions of employment may be directed to Ms Anna Heym (

Your application must be submitted online via the link on our homepage ( by the closing date of 31 January 2019.

Online application

You may print the job advert using this link.

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